The final ATP 250 of the season begins on Sunday at the Sofia Open in Sofia, Bulgaria. Three Top 25 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings lead the singles draw, with the final spot in the Nitto ATP Finals doubles field still up for grabs.
Will Denis Shapovalov live up to his position as top seed? Will Felix Auger-Aliassime capture his first ATP Tour title? ATPTour.com looks at 10 things to watch in Bulgaria.
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1) Shapovalov Shining: The 21-year-old Canadian will make his Sofia debut against Radu Albot or Yuichi Sugita as he begins his pursuit of a first ATP Tour title in 2020. The lefty, who cracked the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time on 21 September, will try to finish inside the year-end Top 10 with a strong performance in Bulgaria.
2) Felix’s Pursuit: Auger-Aliassime has reached six ATP Tour finals, including three this season (Rotterdam, Marseille, Cologne-1). Will the 20-year-old Canadian claim his first tour-level title in Sofia? Auger-Aliassime, who will play in the Rolex Paris Masters doubles final on Sunday alongside Hubert Hurkacz, is making his debut at the ATP 250. He will play Caruso or Kuzmanov in the second round.
3) Canadian History: This is the first time that Canadians are the top two seeds at an ATP Tour event (since 1990). Shapovalov is the top seed for the first time at a tour-level event and Auger-Aliassime has twice previously been the second seed (2019 Chengdu and 2020 Adelaide).
4) De Minaur Delivering: Alex de Minaur is finishing the season on a high, reaching the Antwerp final and the Paris third round. The Australian will try to maintain his momentum in Bulgaria, where he will play a qualifier or lucky loser in his opener.
5) Sinner’s Surge: Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner has surged into the Top 50 in the FedEx ATP Rankings this season. The 19-year-old will try to finish his 2020 on a high with a strong performance at this ATP 250, where he plays Marton Fucsovics in the first round. Sinner made his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros and then reached the semi-finals at Cologne-2.
6) Doubles Battle: The FedEx ATP Battle For London is nearly complete. Only one doubles place remains at the Nitto ATP Finals, and two teams will try to earn that spot in Sofia. If top seeds Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin make the final at the ATP 250, they will guarantee their qualification. If second seeds Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski do not make the championship match, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin will earn their place in London. The Brits must make the final to be in contention for qualification.
7) Bulgarian ATP Cup Stars: Two members of this year’s Bulgarian ATP Cup team received wild cards for Sofia: Kuzmanov and Adrian Andreev. Kuzmanov earned two straight-sets win at that event, defeating Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Moldova’s Alexander Cozbinov. He opens against Caruso.
8) First-Time Titlist: John Millman is fresh off winning his first ATP Tour title at the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The Aussie, who is making his Sofia debut, is the sixth seed. Millman will play Bulgarian wild card Adrian Andreev in the first round.
9) Returning Finalist Fucsovics: Last year, Hungarian Fucsovics made the Sofia final. Daniil Medvedev beat him 6-4, 6-3 for the trophy. Fucsovics is back and he will try to go one step further. The 28-year-old made the third round at the US Open and the fourth round at Roland Garros. He will begin his tournament against Sinner.
10) Junior Stars: Two of the tournament’s wild cards are 19 years old. In 2019, Czech Jonas Forejtek was the junior World No. 1 and won three junior Grand Slams (US Open singles, Australian Open and Wimbledon doubles). In 2018, Andreev — who was a member of Bulgaria’s ATP Cup team this year — reached World No. 2 and captured the junior US Open doubles crown.