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Ricky’s picks for this week’s ATP 250 events in Dallas, Marseille, and Cordoba

The first full week of February has arrived. It begins the busiest stretch of tennis in the entire season—at least in terms of quantity. Four weeks. Three events per week. Twelve in total—all of the 250 or 500-point variety.  

It all gets underway in Dallas, Marseille, and Cordoba.  

Here are my previews and picks for this week’s trio of ATP 250s.

Dallas Open

Where: Dallas, Texas  
Surface: Indoor hard  
Prize money: $841,590  
Top seed: Frances Tiafoe  
2023 champion: Yibing Wu (not playing)  

An extended stretch of North American events (also Delray Beach, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Indian Wells, Miami, and Houston) kicks off on the indoor hard courts of Dallas. This tournament will be upgraded to an ATP 500 starting in 2025, but as a 250 it attracts a mediocre field headlined mostly by Americans. Four of the top five seeds hail from the host country (Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton, and Chris Eubanks), with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino the only exception. 

When it comes to the surface, Shelton and Mannarino should have the best chance to lift the trophy. Shelton has enjoyed plenty of Challenger success indoors and he has the most powerful game of anyone in the field. If he serves well, he could be serious trouble. Mannarino ended 2023 on fire during the European indoor swing and began this season with a fourth-round showing at the Australian Open. Shelton and Paul should be expected to reach the semifinals in a relatively soft bottom half of the Dallas bracket, while Mannarino will be challenged by Tiafoe, Eubanks, Max Purcell, and Alex Michelsen. It’s a difficult road for Tiafoe, who could run into Michelsen in round two, Purcell in the QFs, and Mannarino in the SFs. 

Quarterfinal picks: Alex Michelsen over Max Purcell, Adrian Mannarino over Chris Eubanks, Ben Shelton over Jordan Thompson, and Tommy Paul over Aleksandar Kovacevic 
Semifinals: Mannarino over Michelsen and Paul over Shelton 

Final: Mannarino over Paul 

Open 13

Where: Marseille, France  
Surface: Indoor hard  
Prize money: 724,015 Euros  
Top seed: Hubert Hurkacz 
Defending champion: Hubert Hurkacz 

Nothing is likely to come easy for the seeds in what is a stacked Marseille draw. Top seed and defending champion Hubert Hurkacz could face Alexander Shevchenko in the last 16 and either Andy Murray or Lorenzo Musetti in the quarters. Ugo Humbert’s potential path to a possible semifinal meeting against Hurkacz includes Denis Shapovalov and probably either Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Emil Ruusuvuori. 

At the bottom of the draw, second seed Grigor Dimitrov is likely to begin his tournament against Sebastian Korda. Yes, the draw is so deep that the 33rd-Korda is unseeded. Karen Khachanov and Montpellier semifinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime are also contenders to reach the final if not even to take the title.

Quarterfinal picks: Hubert Hurkacz over Tomas Machac, Ugo Humbert over Emil Ruusuvuori, Karen Khachanov over Zhizhen Zhang, and Sebastian Korda over Jiri Lehecka
Semifinals: Hurkacz over Humbert and Korda over Khachanov 

Final: Hurkacz over Korda 

Cordoba Open

Where: Cordoba, Argentina  
Surface: Clay  
Prize money: $562,345 
Top seed: Francisco Cerundolo 
Defending champion: Sebastian Baez 

The Golden Swing is upon us. It defines the dog days of February, with event and event left and right but not many big names involved. Carlos Alcaraz will be taking his talents to South American swing later in February, but in Cordoba a relatively unspectacular field is headlined by Francisco Cerundolo, Sebastian Baez, and Tomas Martin Etcheverry. 

As always, basically everyone in Cordoba is a clay-court specialist or at the very least extremely capable on the slow stuff. A deep field with no clear-cut favorites means this trophy is totally up for grabs. Baez is arguably the top favorite as the second seed and defending champion, but he could meet stiff competition in the second round (Thiago Seyboth Wild) and the QFs (Auckland champion and 2022 Cordoba runner-up Alejandro Tabilo). Cerundolo could run into his brother, Juan Manuel, in the quarters and Etcheverry in the semifinals. In addition to Seyboth Wild, unseeded floaters to watch in Cordoba are Diego Schwartzman, Cristian Garin, and Pedro Cachin. 

Quarterfinal picks: Roberto Carballes Baena over Jaume Munar, Tomas Martin Etcheverry over Daniel Altmaier, Yannick Hanfmann over Sebastian Ofner, and Sebastian Baez over Facundo Diaz Acosta 
Semifinals: Etcheverry over Carballes Baena and Baez over Diaz Acosta 

Final: Etcheverry over Baez 

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