The return of former World No.1 Roger Federer dominates the headlines as ATP 250 action continues across three different continents. But that’s not the only must-watch storyline on tap at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, the Open 13 Provence in Marseille and the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago.
In Doha, Federer will look to make a splash in his first tournament since the Australian Open in 2020, while World No. 4 Dominic Thiem and defending champion Andrey Rublev are also in action. World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev hunts for his 10th ATP Tour title at the indoor hard-court Marseille event, and Cristian Garin’s quest for a title on home soil continues on the red dirt of Santiago.
Draws: Doha, Marseille, Santiago
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN DOHA
1) Dominic In Doha: World No. 4 Thiem is the top seed, and he’s in the hunt for his 18th ATP Tour title – and the first of the year – in Doha. The US Open champion will meet Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev or local wild card Mubarak Shannan Zayid in his first match.
2) Roger’s Return: All eyes are on the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex as second seed Federer is set to make his first appearance in Doha since 2012. The Swiss has won more titles here (2005, 2006 and 2011) than anyone else in the field, but he arrives in search of matches as he contests his first tournament since January 2020.
3) Defending Champion: Rublev touches down in Doha after adding the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament trophy to his impressive ATP 500 haul. Now, the Russian returns to the same ATP 250 event that he won to kick off his breakthrough 2020 season.
4) Quality Names In Qatar: The 2021 edition boasts a stacked field for any ATP 250 event, including Top 20 players like Denis Shapovalov, 2019 champion Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka.
5) Cabal/Farah Lead Doha Doubles: Top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah lead the way in the doubles tournament. The Colombians started the season with an appearance at the Great Ocean Road Open final, but have yet to win back-to-back matches since. Rotterdam champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the second seeds.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MARSEILLE
1) Tsitsipas Tries For Triple: For the past two years, Stefanos Tsitsipas has dominated the courts in Marseille and he returns with his sights set on a hat-trick of trophies. The Greek claimed eight straight wins — and 16 consecutive sets — to clinch the 2019 and 2020 crowns.
2) Medvedev Making Moves: World No. 3 Medvedev will aim to bounce back from a first-round loss at Rotterdam as he chases his 10th ATP Tour crown in Marseille. Half of the Russian’s tour-level titles have come on indoor hard courts.
3) Past Champions: Third seed Karen Khachanov landed in Medvedev’s half of the draw. The 2018 champion will meet Stefano Travaglia or Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, while three-time winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2009, ’13, ’17) is also in the mix.
4) Super Kei: Former World No. 3 Kei Nishikori made a strong showing in Rotterdam when he toppled Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur on his way to the third round. Armed with a new service motion, the resurgent Japanese player landed in Tsitsipas’ quarter.
5) Brits In Charge: The top two doubles teams in Marseille are all-British teams. Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski are the No. 1 seeds, while Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot are in the No. 2 spot.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN SANTIAGO
1) Garin At Home: Top seed and Chilean No. 1 Cristian Garin arrives at his local ATP Tour event seeking his fifth ATP Tour trophy – and his first on home soil. The World No. 22 has reached all five of his previous finals on clay (4-1).
2) Remember The Name: Cordoba Open champion Juan Manuel Cerundolo will be back in action. Into Santiago with a wild card, the 19-year-old will be making his third ATP Tour main draw appearance as he begins against fellow wild card Gonzalo Lima.
3) Second Seed: Benoit Paire headlines the bottom half of the Santiago draw, and he could face Juan Manuel’s older brother Francisco Cerundolo, who reached the Buenos Aires final. Also in Paire’s section are fifth seed Frances Tiafoe and fourth seed Laslo Djere.
4) Back In Chile: This is the second edition of the Santiago tournament, after the ATP Tour returned to the ‘country of poets’ in 2020. It marked the first time Chile held an ATP event since 2014 in Vina Del Mar, which ran for 10 non-consecutive years (2001-’09, 2012-’14).
5) Double Duty: After playing doubles with Kei Nishikori in Rotterdam last week, Ben McLachlan will travel to Santiago as the top seed alongside South Africa’s Raven Klaasen. Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor occupy the No. 2 seed position.