2021 ATP Tour preview: Stacked draw at San Diego ahead of Indian Wells

IT is a big week on the ATP Tour ahead of Indian Wells; as a stacked draw heads to San Diego, last year’s Sofia Open final could be played out in the second round, and a Top 30 player surprisingly opted to play in the Orleans Challenger event.


A host of Laver Cup competitors will travel from Boston to San Diego to clash in the ATP 250 event there, with the event shaping as a stacked contest. Andrey Rublev will lead the field as top seed, with the world number five joined by fellow Under 25s in Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Metz finalist Hubert Hurkacz, whilst Diego Schwartzman is also arriving post-Laver Cup.

The top-end talent does not end there though with a further six players inside the top 32. Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, Italian duo Lorenzo Sonego and Fabio Fognini, rising talent Lloyd Harris, Brit Daniel Evans and former Top 5 Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov making it a highly competitive field.

From the home nation, 39th ranked Taylor Fritz, 42nd ranked Sebastian Korda and 58th ranked Tommy Paul lead the brigade. Unfortunately for the home fans, the 32-player schedule has seen the latter pair drawn against each other in the first round, ensuing that only one can advance. Fritz takes on a qualifier, whilst the fourth automatic United States representative will face Fognini with Rublev waiting in the second round.

It shapes as an unbelievable ATP 250 event, with a first round match between former stars Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray, with the pair handed wildcards, and a win would set up a Round of 16 clash with Ruud. Much like the all-American battle, the two British representatives in Daniel Evans and Cameron Norrie could also face-off in the second round, locking horns with Soonwoo Kwon and Dominik Koepfer respectively first-up. The other Round of 16 clash likely to happen is Harris up against Schwartzman, with both players facing qualifiers.


Looking to the less-impressive Sofia Open draw, there are still some impressive names floating around. In a remarkable coincidence, last year’s final between reigning title holder Jannik Sinner, and Canadian Vasek Pospisil is more than likely set to occur in the second round. Sinner has a bye in the opening round being the number one seed at the event, with Pospisil playing a qualifier, which a win would see him advance to Sinner in the Round of 16. The first quarter of the draw is stacked with potential, as Australian James Duckworth takes on Finnish talent Emil Ruusuvuori, whilst seventh seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina looks horns with the unpredictable Benoit Paire.

Looking down the draw, French veteran Gael Monfils finding some continuity and great form of late after an impressive run to the semi-finals at Metz. The enigmatic Frenchman is seeded second at the event and will have a bye in the opening round, as will third seed Alex de Minaur and fourth seed Alexander Bublik. Italian rising star Lorenzo Sonego is a likely second round opponent for Bublik, with the teenager facing Bulgarian wildcard Dimitar Kuzmanov up first. The other Bulgarian wildcard – Alexandar Lazarov – has an even tougher first-up gig, taking on fifth seed Filip Krajinovic. Adrian Mannarino and John Millman round out the top eight seeds at the event.


A surprise top seed at the Orleans 125 event is world number 25, Ugo Humbert. The Frenchman is in career best form and in fairness to the rest of the draw, should wipe the floor with them. The next highest ranked player is second seed and world number 63 Benjamin Bonzi, and Arthur Rinderknecht and Richard Gasquet complete a sweep of top-ranked Frenchman at the tournament. In fact, with Corentin Moutet (sixth seed), Gilles Simon (seventh) and Pierre-Hugues Herbert (eighth) also seeded, only fifth seed Jiri Vesley breaks the all-French trend. A first round match to look out for is a throwback to past years with Spanish veterans Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco going head-to-head, while French wildcard Harold Mayot and Danish young gun Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune are among a couple of others to remember.

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