Scouting Report: Murray, Zverev Compete In Zhuhai, Chengdu; Top 10 Stars At Laver Cup
The ATP Tour returns to China for the first time since 2019 this week with the Chengdu Open and Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, two ATP 250 hard-court events. The fifth edition of the Laver Cup will take place from 22-24 September in Vancouver, Canada.
Zverev headlines the action in Chengdu, where Lorenzo Musetti and Grigor Dimitrov compete. Former World No. 1 Andy Murray, Chinese star Shang Juncheng and Karen Khachanov take to court in Zhuhai.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe are among the stars playing at the Laver Cup.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at five things to watch from each event.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN CHENGDU
1) Zverev Leads Field: Alexander Zverev leads the field as the top seed in Chengdu. The German, who has won 13 of his 20 tour-level titles on hard courts, will be aiming for a deep run at the ATP 250 event to boost his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. The two-time season finale champion is eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin after reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open.
2) Musetti & Dimitrov Chasing First Titles Of Season: Lorenzo Musetti and Grigor Dimitrov will try to win their first titles of the season at the hard-court tournament. Musetti’s best result on hard this year was a run to the third round in Toronto. The 32-year-old Dimitrov is making his third appearance in Chengdu, with his best result a semi-final showing in 2016. The Bulgarian advanced to the final in Geneva (clay) in May.
3) Evans Fresh Off Davis Cup Heroics: Daniel Evans on Sunday helped Great Britain advance to the Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga with a memorable performance, winning in singles and doubles (with Neal Skupski) against France. He will now travel to Chengdu, where he is the fourth seed. The Briton will play 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima or Roman Safiullin in the second round.
4) Australian Seeds: Two of the seeded players are Australian: sixth seed Max Purcell and eighth seed Aleksandar Vukic. Purcell reached the quarter-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati in August and Vukic advanced to his first ATP Tour final in Atlanta in July.
5) Doumbia/Reboul Top Doubles Seeds: Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul, this year’s Cordoba finalists, are the top seeds in the Chengdu doubles field. Alexander Bublik teams with Miomir Kecmanovic while 2022 Wimbledon doubles champion Max Purcell plays with Jordan Thompson. Nuno Borges and Arthur Rinderknech team, as do third seeds Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop. Demoliner and Middelkoop are 5-3 on the year together.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ZHUHAI
1) Former World No. 1 Murray Competes: Andy Murray will make his second appearance in Zhuhai when he takes to court at the ATP 250 event. The Scot’s best result on hard courts this season was a run to the final in Doha in February. Seeded seventh this year, Murray advanced to the second round in Zhuhai in 2019.
2) Shang Leads Home Hopes: The 18-year-old Shang will compete on home soil at a tour-level event for the first time. The Chinese star is currently 17th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah and will need a deep run to increase his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Shang’s best result on Tour this year was a third-round run in Washington, where he beat Ben Shelton, who later made the US Open semi-finals. It was his second win over Shelton during the American summer.
3) Khachanov Continues Comeback: After returning to singles action at the US Open following three months away due to two injuries, Karen Khachanov will continue his comeback in Zhuhai. The 27-year-old has played some of his best tennis on hard courts this year, advancing to the last four at the Australian Open and in Miami.
4) Can Norrie & Korda Find Form? Second seed Cameron Norrie and fourth seed Sebastian Korda will all look to respond in Zhuhai after suffering disappointing early exits at the US Open. Norrie, who fell in the third round against Matteo Arnaldi, is chasing his second title of the season (Rio de Janeiro). Korda fell in the opening round at the hard-court major. The American holds a 16-11 record in 2023 after making a quick start in January by reaching the final at Adelaide-1 and the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
5) Arnaldi Looking To Build: Italian Arnaldi enjoyed a run to the fourth round of a major for the first time at the US Open. The 22-year-old Italian defeated Jason Kubler, Arthur Fils and Norrie in New York to rise to a career-high No. 47 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Can the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor keep his form going in Zhuhai, where he will open against Aslan Karatsev?
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AT LAVER CUP
1) Top 10 Talent: Team Europe possesses a number of Top 10 stars. Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev all line up for Team Europe in Canada.
2) Defending Champion Team World: Team World pipped Team Europe at the Laver Cup in 2022. Team World will aim to defend its title, led by Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe.
3) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: US Open semi-finalist Ben Shelton, third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah, lines up for Team World, while fourth-placed Arthur Fils is an alternate for Team Europe in Canada.
4) Borg & McEnroe Lead Teams: Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will lead the teams once again at the event. Team Europe captain Borg has overseen three victories in the past, while McEnroe was at the helm for Team World in 2022 when they triumphed.
5) Unique Format: The Laver Cup will be played over three days, from 22-24 September, across five sessions. Each match win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on a high-stakes Sunday. The first team to reach 13 points (out of a possible 24) wins the Laver Cup.