Fritz, Rune Seek Title Defences In Tokyo, Stockholm; Tsitsipas Leads Antwerp Field

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2023

Fritz, Rune Seek Title Defences In Tokyo, Stockholm; Tsitsipas Leads Antwerp Field

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

With just four weeks until the Nitto ATP Finals, the home stretch of the 2023 season continues this week with action in Tokyo, Stockholm and Antwerp.

Defending champion Taylor Fritz returns to the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships as the top seed at the ATP 500, while defending champ Holger Rune is back at the BNP Paribas Nordic Open in Sweden and Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the field at the European Open in Belgium. looks at five things to watch at each event.

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1) Fritz Bids For Third Title Of 2023: Taylor Fritz broke into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time behind his 2023 Tokyo title run. He has since reached as high as World No. 5 and now returns to Japan at No. 8. With a repeat trophy run, the American will become a three-time ATP Tour champion for the second straight year. But he faces a tough road to the crown, beginning with a first-round match against Cameron Norrie.

2) Live Race Implications: The results in Tokyo will have a crucial impact on the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, with each of the players placed ninth through 12th in action. Fritz is in ninth, 305 points behind eighth-placed Rune. Fritz is trailed by Casper Ruud, Tommy Paul and Alex de Minaur. Alexander Zverev, currently seventh in the Live Race, also faces a critical week in his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

3) Five Seeded Americans Hope To Repeat All-U.S. Final: Seeds Fritz, Paul and Frances Tiafoe are joined by Shanghai quarter-finalist Ben Shelton and Mackenzie McDonald in the Tokyo draw. The five Americans are the most direct entries from any nation, prior to the inclusion of qualifiers. Last year in Tokyo, Fritz defeated Tiafoe in an all-American final.

4) Nishioka Among Four Japanese Entrants: Yoshihito Nishioka joins wild cards Shintaro Mochizuki, Sho Shimabukuro and Yosuke Watanuki in the main draw, giving the home nation four players in the singles field before any potential qualifiers. Nishioka, the top-ranked Japanese man at No. 48 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will bid to improve upon his 1-5 record in Tokyo when he opens against a qualifier.

5) Bopanna/Ebden Lead Doubles Draw: Top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, but the three other seeded doubles teams in Tokyo are still working towards a place in Turin. Second seeds and Shanghai champions Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos are in fourth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, the highest position among pairs yet to qualify.


1) Rune Seeks Another Late-Season Surge: The Dane picked up his first match win since Wimbledon in Beijing but was dominated in the Shanghai opening-round by Brandon Nakashima. The Dane will hope to recreate the stellar close to the season he produced in 2022, when he won two titles (Stockholm, Paris) and reached two additional finals in his final four events of the season. Currently just inside the cut in eighth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Rune is aiming to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

2) Fan-Favourite Veterans Wawrinka, Monfils: Stan Wawrinka will open against Borna Gojo, with the winner advancing to face Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Monfils entered Stockholm with a protected ranking and will face Marton Fucsovics in the first round at the event he won in 2011.

3) Astana Champ Mannarino Seeded Second: France’s Adrian Mannarino began the Asian Swing with a title in Astana, but was beaten by eventual finalist Andrey Rublev in the Shanghai second round. The 35-year-old Manarinno will open against Roman Safiullin or Thiago Seyboth Wild after a first-round bye. Top seed Rune, third seed Tallon Griekspoor and fourth seed Davidovich Fokina also have byes into the second round.

4) Borg Among Three Swedish Wild Cards: Leo Borg, son of former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg, is joined by Elias Ymer and Karl Friberg in the main draw. Borg lost a three-setter to American Paul last year in the Stockholm opening round, while Ymer was edged by Tiafoe in a final-set tie-break in the second round.

5) Top Doubles Seeds Gonzalez/Molteni Have Turin In Sight: The Argentine duo of Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni enter Stockholm in fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings as they close in on a place at the Nitto ATP Finals. They will face Andrey Golubev and Denys Molchanov in the first round.


1) Top Seed Tsitsipas: With father and coach Apostolos Tsitsipas back in his travelling team, Tsitsitsipas will battle to snap his streak of early exits. Since he won the Los Cabos title in August, the Greek has not won multiple singles matches at a tour-level event. Still, he remains sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin in his bid to return to the Nitto ATP Finals.

2) Marozsan Bids To Back Up Shanghai QF Run: After notching four wins to reach the Shanghai quarters, including upsets of Casper Ruud and Alex de Minaur, Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan will open against another seeded opponent in Antwerp: eighth seed Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru. Marozsan, who beat Carlos Alcaraz this year in Rome and first cracked the Top 100 in June, moved up 26 places to No. 65 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings behind his Shanghai run. 

3) Veteran Thiem vs. Jeddah-Chasing Nardi: In an intriguing opening-round match, Dominic Thiem will take on 20-year-old Italian Luca Nardi. Thiem reached the Astana quarter-finals two weeks ago, while Nardi is bidding to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. He is currently in 12th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah.

Other Jeddah hopefuls in the Antwerp draw include fourth seeed Arthur Fils and Dominic Stricker, with the Swiss set to open against Botic van de Zandschulp.

4) Goffin Holds Belgium’s Hopes: Home Favourite David Goffin, a wild card, is the lone Belgian in the main draw — though more could still join via qualifying. The 32-year-old will bid to become the first Belgian champion in the tournament’s history (since 2016).

5) Six Frenchmen Dot Draw: The 19-year-old Fils leads a large contingent from France, Belgium’s neighbour to the west and south. He is joined by seventh seed Richard Gasquet, Quentin Halys, Gregoire Barrere, Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Gaston, with the latter two set to meet in the first round.

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