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Ricky’s picks for the start of the grass-court season in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart

And just like that, we’re on to grass.

The long slog that was the clay-court swing finally came to an end at the French Open, where Carlos Alcaraz toppled Alexander Zverev in five sets on Sunday. If clay was a marathon, grass is a sprint. The grass-court buildup to Wimbledon is short and sweet, starting this week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart.

Here are my previews and picks for the pair of ATP 250 tournaments.

Libema Open

Where: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands  
Prize money: 690,135 Euros  
Top seed: Alex de Minaur 
Defending champion: Tallon Griekspoor 

Will the host nation crowd a third consecutive Dutch champion on the heels of Tim van Rijthoven in 2022 and Tallon Griekspoor last summer? Probably not given the strength of the draw. That being said, Griekspoor has a legitimate chance to repeat. He is playing well; in fact, he led Zverev by a double-break in the fifth set of their French Open third-round match. Griekspoor could meet Botic van de Zandschulp in the last 16 and Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals. The bottom half of the bracket also includes American seeds Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda. 

At the top of the draw, Tim van Rijthoven–the 2022 winner–has a winnable opening match against Zizou Bergs. However, he would then face top seed Alex de Minaur, who just made it to the quarterfinals in Paris. Despite that result, De Minaur is surely thrilled to move from clay to grass. So, too, is Adrian Mannarino. The veteran from Frances is awesome on this surface and captured the ‘s-Hertogenbosch title in 2019.

Quarterfinal picks: Alex de Minaur over Roberto Bautista Agut, Adrian Mannarino over Ugo Humbert, Tallon Griekspoor over Aleksandar Vukic, and Tommy Paul over David Goffin 

Semifinals: De Minaur over Mannarino and Griekspoor over Paul 

Final: De Minaur over Griekspoor 


Where: Stuttgart, Germany  
Prize money: 734,915 Euros  
Top seed: Alexander Zverev 
Defending champion: Jan-Lennard Struff 

Alexander Zverev is actually still in the Stuttgart field. Will he end up withdrawing? That would probably be the smart. Then again, it’s at home in Germany and since he lost the Roland Garros final he might be inclined to get right back in gear and erase some demons. He also wouldn’t have to play his first match until Thursday. Even if Zverev does stay in, he is no lock for the title. Chris Eubanks could be up first for him in round two and defending champion Jan-Lennard Struff is in the same quarter. Frances Tiafoe and Andy Murray are also in the tom half of the bracket.

The bottom half is hope to Ben Shelton, Lorenzo Musetti, Matteo Berrettini, and Denis Shapovalov. It’s not as tough on paper, but there is some depth–especially if Berrettini is healthy and Shapovalov shows signs of his former self (a 2021 Wimbledon semifinalist). Musetti will kick off his campaign against qualifier and recent Lyon winner Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard. 

Quarterfinal picks: Jan-Lennard Struff over Chris Eubanks, Jack Draper over Yannick Hanfmann, Alexander Bublik over Dominik Koepfer, and Denis Shapovalov over Ben Shelton 

Semifinals: Struff over Draper and Bublik over Shapovalov 

Final: Struff over Bublik 

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