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This week has a few tune-up events on clay, but in terms of their fields, none are bigger than Houston's. Fratangelo and Thompson will be eager to do whatever they can to make a run on a stage like this. First, though, one of them will need to get by the other.
10 to Watch—Bjorn Fratangelo:
Fratangelo's 2018 has mostly consisted of first-round disappointments, as the American has lost seven of the nine opening-round matches he's played. His most recent letdown came in Miami, where the 24-year-old lost to Liam Broady in straight sets.
Thompson, meanwhile, has been playing a bit better after a rough start to the year. The 23-year-old has mostly played events at the Challenger level, winning a title in Chennai on February 17. A week later, he finished runner-up at the Kyoto Challenger.
It's never a guarantee that somebody's play in tennis' lower leagues will carry over to ATP competition, but Thompson has played on the tour before, and he has had some success in doing so.
In their only meeting, Fratangelo beat Thompson at the Bordeaux Challenger in 2016, 6-4, 6-3. With the rematch on U.S. soil, you can expect the crowd to be backing Fratangelo, which makes this first-rounder even more compelling.
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This week on Tennis Channel Plus:
—ATP Houston Outer Courts (4/9-4/13)
Catch all the action from the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship with outer court coverage live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday April 9 at 4 p.m. ET
—ATP Marrakech Final (4/15)
Don’t miss the Grand Prix Hassan II final live on Tennis Channel Plus Sunday April 15 at 9 a.m. ET
—ATP Monte-Carlo (4/15-4/22)
Watch first to last ball of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Sunday April 15 at 7 a.m. ET