2021 ATP Tour: Next-Gen talents top seeds in Moscow and Antwerp
TWO ATP Tour 250 events taking place in Moscow, Russia, and Antwerp, Belgium will see some young guns staking their claims for not only the Next-Gen Finals, but ATP Finals as well. We take a look at the 28-player draws and who might come out on top.
Russian star Andrey Rublev leads a host of compatriots in Moscow as top seed and ranked at a career-high fifth in the world. The top three seeds are all from the home nation, with Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov ranked second and third respectively, and both still remain inside the Top 30. The highest ranked non-Russian is world number 34 Filip Krajinovic, with all four players having byes in the opening round. Rublev has a lot of compatriots in the top half of his draw, with Roman Safiullin a chance to be his first-up opponent, although the wildcard will be up against it taking on Adrian Mannarino in the opening round.
Miomir Kecmanovic looms as the most logical second round opponent for Karatsev up the other end of the draw, with eighth seed Laslo Djere and in-form American Mackenzie McDonald potentially second round opponents. Alexander Bublik is the fifth seed at the event, and takes on a qualifier in the opening round, with John Millman his likely Round of 16 matchup. Australian James Duckworth clashes with a qualifier in the Round of 32, before taking on Khachanov in the second round. The first round match to watch is United States’ Tommy Paul taking on Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.
Rublev will be clear favourite in this one, with it tough to see anyone overcoming him, though Karatsev and Khachanov would know him very well.
Fellow Next-Gen young gun in Jannik Sinner is the top seed in a more stacked European Open in Antwerp, where there are five players inside the Top 20 at the event, compared to just one in Moscow. Diego Schwartzman is seeded second, with Cristian Garin and Roberto Bautista Agut third and fourth at the event, whilst the 20th ranked Reilly Opelka rounds out the top five. Even the dangerous Alex de Minaur and in-form Lloyd Harris make it a highly competitive draw. Of those seeds, de Minaur will only have qualifiers and Benoit Paire standing in his way to the quarter final, where he will potentially lock horns with Schwartzman. Bautista Agut also has the potential for back-to-back qualifiers, though will likely face Marton Fucsovics in the second round.
Harris will be a good chance to be there in the final eight, with Jan-Lennard Struff or Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round. Australian duo Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson are in the same quarter of the draw with Botic Van de Zandschulp and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina their first round opponents, with Opelka and Garin waiting in the Round of 16. Sinner will certainly have to face a compatriot in the second round, with the three main draw Italians copping a tough draw, as Lorenzo Musetti and Gianluca Mager go head to head, with the winner to face Sinner. The match to watch in the first round has to be Great Britain’s Andy Murray who has been handed a wildcard at the event, to take on Frances Tiafoe, with the winner to clash with Schwartzman in the Round of 16.
A highly competitive field, Sinner has the ability to take out the title, but the potential quarter finals the most anticipated, with Garin and Opelka’s quarter the wide open one.
Picture credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA