What's at Stake: Aussie Open semifinalist Tsitsipas returns to action

What's at Stake: Aussie Open semifinalist Tsitsipas returns to action

Looking ahead at three ATP events in Europe and South America.

The tennis season reached one early crescendo in Australia. Now it’s time for the music to begin gathering again, week by week, until we reach a second summit in Indian Wells and Miami in March. While the women join their Fed Cup teams this coming weekend, the men will start February with three suitably modest 250-level events in Europe and South America. Here’s a look at what we might see from each.

Open Sud de France

Montpellier, France
$700,000; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court

Draw is here

What’s next for Lucas Pouille and Amelie Mauresmo? After his semifinal run at the Australian Open, Pouille returns to his native France as the top seed in Montpellier. He also comes in with some points to defend, because he won this event last year.

Pouille will make his title defense against a moderately intriguing, French-heavy, 28-player field. David Goffin, Denis Shapovalov and Gilles Simon round out the top four seeds, while veterans Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Ernests Gulbis are among the unseeded names of interest.

Sofia Open

Sofia, Bulgaria
$700,000; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court

Draw is here

Stefanos Tsitsipas has chosen Sofia as the site where he’ll make his first post-Melbourne, post-breakthrough, post-Federer-upset appearance. Up to No. 12 in the rankings, Tsitsipas will be the No. 2 seed, only behind another rising young player, Karen Khachanov. Like Tsitsipas, the Russian should arrive with some wind at his back: This weekend he clinched his nation’s victory over Switzerland in the qualifying round for the Davis Cup Final.

Also here:

Stan Wawrinka, who faces last year’s runner-up, Marius Copil, in the first round
—No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev, who did something Rafael Nadal couldn’t do in Australia: Take a set from Novak Djokovic
—Mirza Basic, last year’s surprise champion

Cordoba Open

Cordoba, Argentina
$589,680; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

The Golden Swing, the ATP’s month-long winter trek through South America, kicks off this week in Cordoba. As you might expect, Spain and Argentina are well represented in this field: Between them, the two countries are responsible for 11 of the draw’s 28 players. That includes two of the top four seeds, Diego Schwartzman and Pablo Carreño Busta. But the No. 1 and 2 spots are reserved for Italians: Fabio Fognini and last year’s surprise French Open semifinalist, Marco Cecchinato.

New name of the week: Thiago Seyboth Wild. Yes, he’s a wild card, from Brazil

ATP Cordoba: Mon - Sun, 2/4 - 2/10
Starting Monday, 2/4 at 1:30 p.m. ET, catch live coverage of the Cordoba Open featuring top seeds Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman.

ATP Montpellier: Tue - Sun, 2/5 - 2/10
Watch Lucas Pouille, Denis Shapovalov and Gilles Simon live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Tuesday, 2/5 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

USTA Men's Pro Circuit – Dallas: Mon - Sun, 2/4 - 2/10
Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of USTA Dallas matches beginning Monday, 2/4 12:00 p.m. ET

Fed Cup Quarterfinals: Sat - Sun, 2/9 - 2/10
Tennis Channel Plus is your home for Fed Cup action! Watch first to last ball action beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, 2/9