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Ricky’s picks for the ATP 500 in Rotterdam: Rune revels is favorable draw

The February swing heats up in a big way this week with perhaps the best 500-point tournament of the entire season. Jannik Sinner was ranked No. 17 in the world at the time of seeding (he is now 14th in Monday’s rankings) and he is not even seeded in Rotterdam. Eight of the ATP’s top 16 players are in the field, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, and Daniil Medvedev.

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Surface: Indoor hard 
Points: 500 
Prize money: 2,074,505 Euros 

Top seed: Stefanos Tsitsipas 
Defending champion: Felix Auger-Aliassime 

The entire draw is loaded, but the bottom half is especially ridiculous. It is home to Rublev, Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Hubert Hurkacz, Roberto Bautsita Agut, Grigor Dimitrov, Alex de Minaur, Borna Coric, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Botic van de Zandschulp, and Montpellier runner-up Maxime Cressy. There are no easy matches—not even in the first round. Case in point: some of the openers are Rublev vs. De Minaur, Medvedev vs. Davidovich Fokina, Hurkacz vs. Bautista Agut, and Auger-Aliassime vs. Lorenzo Sonego.  
Out of all 32 players, the only one who can say he has a legitimately “good” draw is Holger Rune. A struggling Alexander Zverev is Rune’s nearest seed and the unseeded group in that quarter of the bracket is unspectacular. The 19-year-old Dane should roll into the semifinals, at which point he could meet Tsitsipas or Sinner. A Tsitsipas-Sinner second-round showdown is likely, and it would come just four days after the Italian triumphed in Montpellier. 

Quarterfinal picks: Stefanos Tsitsipas over Pablo Carreno Busta, Holger Rune over Soonwoo Kwon, Daniil Medvedev over Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Daniil Medvedev over Grigor Dimitrov 

Semifinals: Rune over Tsitsipas and Medvedev over Rublev 

Final: Rune over Medvedev 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.