The grass-court season continues this week with two ATP 250 events: the Mallorca Championships and the Viking International Eastbourne.
Two top five stars headline the draw in Mallorca, with Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem attempting to make their mark on grass. Fan favourite Gael Monfils will chase the trophy in Eastbourne. ATPTour.com looks at what you should watch at these two events.
View Draws: Mallorca | Eastbourne
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MALLORCA
1) Medvedev Leads The Way: The top seed in Mallorca is World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who is pursuing his first grass-court ATP Tour title on grass. The Russian star has enjoyed success on the surface before, defeating Stan Wawrinka in the first round at Wimbledon in 2017. Medvedev lost in the first round last week in Halle against Jan-Lennard Struff, and he will try to get back on track against South African Lloyd Harris or Frenchman Corentin Moutet in the second round in Spain.
2) Thiem Makes 2021 Grass Debut: The last time Dominic Thiem competed, he was upset in the first round at Roland Garros by Pablo Andujar. The Austrian will attempt to put that behind him this week in Mallorca, where he is the second seed. Thiem will open his tournament against Adrian Mannarino, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(3), 6-3 in the first round on Sunday. The World No. 5 has a 14-14 tour-level record on grass, with his best result on the surface coming in 2016 when he won the title in Stuttgart, where he earned a victory against Roger Federer.
3) Djokovic Doubles: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be competing in Mallorca, but just in the doubles draw alongside home favourite Carlos-Gomez Herrera. This will be the Serbian’s first doubles action since the ATP Cup at the start of the season. They will begin their event against reigning Buenos Aires champions Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic. The top seeds in the doubles draw are Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.
4) Ugo In-Form: Nobody arrives in Mallorca in better grass-court form than Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who won the biggest title of his career on Sunday in Halle. En route to the ATP 500 title, the lefty earned Top 10 triumphs against Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev. The seventh seed will begin his Mallorca campaign against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, and he could potentially play American Sam Querrey, whom he defeated in a tight three-setter in Halle, in the second round.
5) RBA Rounds Out Wild Cards: Medvedev and Thiem received two of the main draw wild cards at this ATP 250, and home favourite Roberto Bautista Agut got the third.The Spaniard, who will open against Guido Pella or Stefano Travaglia, has proven to be a grass-court stalwart. Although he lost in the first round in Halle last week, Bautista Agut advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final two years ago at Wimbledon.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN EASTBOURNE
1) Monfils Top Seed: Will Monfils win his first ATP Tour title on grass this week in Eastbourne? The Frenchman is the top seed at the ATP 250, where he reached the final in 2017. The 34-year-old lost in the first round in Halle last week against Harris, but he will try to bring his best tennis to the lawns against one of two Aussies: qualifier James Duckworth or lucky loser Max Purcell, who made the 2020 Australian Open doubles final alongside Luke Saville. Monfils has a 40-28 tour-level record on grass.
2) De Minaur Rising: Aussie Alex de Minaur is rounding into form, and he will try to continue that trend this week at the Viking International Eastbourne. The 22-year-old, who advanced to the semi-finals at last week’s cinch Championships in London, is the second seed in Eastbourne, where he lost in the first round of the main draw after qualifying in 2018. De Minaur will begin his tournament against American Frances Tiafoe or wild card Liam Broady.
3) Super Sonego: Berrettini, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti have gotten a lot of the attention for the Italian success on the ATP Tour in 2021. Lorenzo Sonego belongs firmly in that conversation. The Turin-native advanced to the Rome semi-finals earlier this year for his first trip to the last four at an ATP Masters 1000 event. He has also done well on grass, winning his first tour-level title on the surface two years ago in Antalya. The third seed will play wild card Jay Clarke or Aussie John Millman in the second round.
4) British Hopes: The three wild cards in the main draw went to British players: Broady, Clarke and veteran James Ward. This will be Ward’s 10th main draw appearance in this tournament. Cameron Norrie, the Briton who is enjoying a career-best season, is the ninth seed. He is fresh off one of the best tournaments in his career, having made the final at The Queen’s Club. Another home favourite, Alastair Gray, moved into the draw as a lucky loser after losing against Duckworth in the final round of qualifying.
5) Mektic/Pavic Going For No. 7: The top seeds in the doubles draw, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, will try to lift their seventh ATP Tour trophy of the season together this week. They will face a tough opening test against Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar, this year’s Delray Beach and Marbella champions. Other teams to watch in Eastbourne include Colombian stars Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and third seeds Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury.