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Ricky’s preview and picks for this week’s ATP events: Queen’s Club and Halle

There is no time to waste for players to get their grass-court games ready for Wimbledon and the best opportunities for match practice come this week with a pair of 500-point events on the ATP calendar. Queen’s Club and boast amazing player fields fields, which include Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Nick Kyrgios, Carlos Alcaraz, and Andy Murray. 
Here are my previews and picks.

Cinch Championships

Where: London, England 
Points: 500 
Top seed: Carlos Alcaraz 
2022 champion: Matteo Berrettini (not playing)

Alcaraz will be making his 2023 grass-court debut in London, playing for the first time since physical problems plagued him in a French Open semifinal loss to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. The top half of the draw may not be too tough for the 20-year-old Spaniard, although it did get more difficult when qualifiers Grigor Dimitrov and Tommy Paul landed in his section. Alcaraz could face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in round two, either Dimitrov, Paul, or Emil Ruusuvuori in the quarterfinals, and either Cameron Norrie over Frances Tiafoe in the semis. 

The bottom half is even stronger with Murray, Holger Rune, Taylor Fritz, Alex de Minaur, Ugo Humbert, Maxime Cressy, and Ben Shelton. All of those guys are capable of doing serious damage on grass—and really on any surface. De Minaur vs. Murray is an especially intriguing first-rounder, while Rune will get his week started against Cressy.

Quarterfinal picks: Carlos Alcaraz over Grigor Dimitrov, Cameron Norrie over Dan Evans, Andy Murray over Adrian Mannarino, and Ugo Humbert over Ben Shelton 

Semifinals: Alcaraz over Norrie and Murray over Humbert 

Final: Murray over Alcaraz 

Terra Wortmann Open

Where: Halle, Germany 
Surface: Grass 
Prize money: 2,195,175 Euros 
Points: 500 

Top seed: Daniil Medvedev 
Defending champion: Hubert Hurkacz 

Draw analysis: How strong is the Halle field? Well, Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev, Alexander Bublik, Jan-Lennard Struff, Lorenzo Sonego, and Denis Shapovalov are not even seeded. Dominic Thiem, Yibing Wu, Brandon Nakashima, Ricard Gasquet, Nicolas Jarry, and Tallon Griekspoor are also among the unseeded floater. There will simply be no easy outs in Halle–or at least not many.

The top half of the draw was initially more difficult, but Zverev got moved to the bottom half as the No. 9 seed after Felix Auger-Aliassime withdrew on Sunday. That makes Medvedev’s path to the final a lot easier. As for the bottom half, all kinds of players are question marks—such as Kyrgios, Thiem, and Shapovalov. Everyone in that group is either injured or slumping…or both. Thiem is now going head-to-head with Zverev instead of Auger-Aliassime in round one, while Kyrgios is kicking off his campaign against Sonego.

Quarterfinal picks: Daniil Medvedev over Brandon Nakashima, Andrey Rublev over Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner over Jan-Lennard Struff, and Alexander Zverev over Nicolas Jarry 

Semifinals: Rublev over Medvedev and Sinner over Zverev

Final: Sinner over Rublev 

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