Scouting Report: De Minaur, Musetti Lead Metz, Sofia Fields

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2023

Scouting Report: De Minaur, Musetti Lead Metz, Sofia Fields

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

The final ATP 250 action of 2023 takes place in Metz and Sofia, where a host of top stars line up at a pair of indoor hard-court events.

Alex de Minaur leads the field at the Moselle Open in Metz, where Karen Khachanov and Stan Wawrinka also feature in the draw. At the Sofia Open, Lorenzo Musetti, Adrian Mannarino and Jan-Lennard Struff are among the Top 30 players eyeing a successful end to the year. looks ahead at five things to watch at each event.

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1) De Minaur Headlines Draw: Although his Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes were ended by quarter-final defeat at the Rolex Paris Masters, De Minaur will aim to cap a strong year with a deep run in Metz. The Australian, who lifted the biggest title of his career in Acapulco in March, will take on one of two home wild cards first up — Pierre-Hugues Herbert or #NextGenATP Arthur Cazaux.

2) Humbert Leads Home Hopes: Five other Frenchmen (not including qualifiers/lucky losers) join Herbert and Cazaux in the Metz field. They are led by fourth seed Ugo Humbert, who is chasing his first match win at the event since 2018. Like his countryman Cazaux, Luca Van Assche is in contention to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, and the 19-year-old will make his main-draw debut in Metz against Botic van de Zandschulp.

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3) Khachanov, Bublik Seeded: Both Khachanov and Alexander Bublik have spent time in the ATP Tour winners’ circle this year. Seeded third in Metz, the Zhuhai winner Khachanov arrives fresh from a quarter-final run in Paris. Halle and Antwerp champion Bublik is the fifth seed.

4) Wawrinka, Thiem Eye Trophy: A pair of former World No. 3s seek a return to their title-winning ways in Metz. Both Wawrinka (Umag) and Dominic Thiem (Kitzbühel) have reached tour-level finals this year — can either player go all the way this week in north-eastern France?

5) Sonego Defends Crown: A year ago, Lorenzo Sonego charged to his third ATP Tour crown in Metz without dropping a set all week. The Italian is 6-5 at indoor events this year, but will hope that fond memories of the Moselle Open can help him rediscover his best form under the Metz roof.

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1) Musetti Top Seed: Lorenzo Musetti has enjoyed another solid year, racking up a 32-27 record and reaching at least the quarter-finals at nine ATP Tour events. The Italian will look to add a third ATP Tour trophy to his collection as the top seed in Sofia, where he reached the semi-finals in 2022.

2) Mannarino On The March: Adrian Mannarino has notched a personal-best 39 tour-level wins this season, a tally that includes title runs in Newport and Astana. The 35-year-old Frenchman will hope to hit 40 and beyond this week in Bulgaria, where he made the last four in 2020 before falling to eventual champion Jannik Sinner.

3) Can Top 30 Stars Claim Late-Season Boost?: Jan-Lennard Struff came within one point of claiming his maiden ATP Tour title in Stuttgart in July. The German has one more chance this year to break his trophy duck when he lines up as the third seed in Sofia. After adding the Cordoba, Kitzbühel and Winston-Salem crowns to his collection in 2023, Sebastian Baez is now a four-time tour-level champion. Can the Argentine make it five in Bulgaria?

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4) Former Champion Bautista Agut: After missing nearly three months due to injury from July to October, Roberto Bautista Agut made his return to ATP Tour action in Stockholm three weeks ago. The Spaniard is the only former champion in the field in Sofia, where he claimed the fourth of his 11 tour-level crowns in 2016.

5) Gille/Vliegen Lead Doubles Field: Belgian duo Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen chase their third ATP Tour title of the season as the top seeds in Sofia. Despite narrowly missing out on a Nitto ATP Finals spot, second seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow have also enjoyed a stellar year, lifting four ATP 250 titles together.

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