Scouting Report: Tsitsipas, Fritz Defend Respective Titles in Mallorca, Eastbourne
The final two ATP Tour events before Wimbledon will take place next week in Mallorca and Eastbourne, with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz returning to defend their titles at the respective ATP 250s.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Ben Shelton are among the other top seeds in Mallorca, while Tommy Paul and Alex de Minaur join Fritz in Eastbourne.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch at each grass-court tournament.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MALLORCA
1) Can Tsitsipas Build Momentum?: The defending champion Greek enters with a 1-2 grass-court record this season after early exits in Stuttgart and Halle. But happy memories from last year in Mallorca could spark his grass-court season to life ahead of Wimbledon. The Greek, who will open against Yannick Hanfmann or Pedro Cachin after a first-round bye, has not won a title since last year at the Spanish event.
2) Davidovich Fokina Leads Spanish Charge: The second-seeded Davidovich Fokina is one of five Spaniards in the main draw, not including potential qualifiers. Seeking his first grass win of the season after a defeat to Jiri Lehecka in London, the 24-year-old is joined by countrymen Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Roberto Carballes Baena, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and wild card Feliciano Lopez in the 28-player singles field.
3) Bublik Seeks To Back Up Halle Run: Alexander Bublik is set to meet Andrey Rublev on Sunday in the Halle final, and he will continue his grass-court campaign as the fifth seed in Mallorca. It will be the Kazah’s third grass tournament in as many weeks, after opening his campaign on the surface with a second-round run in ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier this month.
4) Shelton Continues His Grass-Court Education: Former Florida Gator Ben Shelton played and won his first ATP Tour grass match last week at The Queen’s Club against another former collegian in J.J. Wolf. After a three-set defeat to Lorenzo Musetti in the London second round, he will benefit from a first-round bye as the third seed in Mallorca before facing Christopher Eubanks or a qualifier.
5) Early Test For Top Doubles Seeds: Despite their status as No. 1 seeds, Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin drew the difficult assignment of wild-card duo Feliciano Lopez and Tsitsipas in the opening round. Petros Tsitsipas, teaming with Bart Stevens, will challenge second-seeded Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in the first round.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN EASTBOURNE
1) Fritz Seeks Third Title: Champion in Eastbourne in both 2019 and 2022, Fritz will bid to improve upon his middling 2-2 grass-court record this season. The American backed up his Eastbourne title last season with a career-best Grand Slam run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, proving his staying power on the lawns.
2) Former Champ De Minaur: De Minaur won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and could enter this year’s event on the heels of a second grass title at The Queen’s Club, where he will face Carlos Alcaraz in Sunday’s final. The third seed will open against Emil Ruusuvuori or Gregoire Barrere after a first-round bye.
3) Paul, Cressy Among Six Americans In Singles Draw: The top-seeded Fritz is far from the only American hope at the ATP 250. After qualifying at The Queen’s Club, Tommy Paul is the second seed in Eastbourne, while Maxime Cressy seeks his first grass-court win of the season in his third event. Wolf, Brandon Nakashima and Mackenzie McDonald round out the American direct entrants.
4) Cerundolo, Etcheverry, Baez For Argentina: Fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo leads the charge for Argentina, with sixth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Sebastian Baez also in the draw. Etcheverry will open against Wolf, while Baez faces Portugal’s Nuno Borges in the opening round.
5) Loaded Doubles Draw: A high-powered doubles field includes Roland Garros champs Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, three-time major champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, and 2021 Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.