Week in Preview: Fognini returns to action, while Zverev returns home

Week in Preview: Fognini returns to action, while Zverev returns home

Fognini is the No. 2 seed in Estoril, Zverev will try to flip the switch in Munich, as the tours ready for the clay-swing homestretch.

Before the ATP and WTA join forces for the final, frantic homestretch through Madrid, Rome and Paris, the clay season takes a one-week breather. That means no Novak Djokovic, no Rafael Nadal, no Roger Federer, and no Serena Williams or Naomi Osaka until next Monday at the earliest. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to watch until then, of course, or no important names in action. Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Fabio Fognini and Karolina Pliskova are three of the players who will be in Munich, Estoril, Prague and Morocco. Can anyone use this low-key week to build some needed momentum, the way Zverev did last year? Here’s a look at what we can expect from the draws.


BMW Open (ATP)

Munich, Germany
$750,000; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

Alexander Zverev says his game is “back,” though it’s hard to say how he gathered that information from his performance in Barcelona, where he lost his opener to No. 81st-ranked Nicolas Jarry. If the German is going to kick his clay season into gear, he should probably do it this week; last year Zverev won Munich and Madrid back to back, and then reached the final in Rome. This time he’ll start against either Max Marterer or Juan Ignacio London, and could face Diego Schwartzman after that.

 

If anything, the No. 2 seed, Karen Khachanov, needs a win even more than Zverev. Since showing some signs of life in Indian Wells, the Russian is 0-3, and has yet to win a match on clay in 2019.

Also here: Roberto Bautista Agut, Guido Pella, Houston champion Cristian Garin and Budapest champ Matteo Berrettini


Millennium Estoril Open (ATP)

Estoril, Portugal
$750,000; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

Stefanos Tsitsipas says he wants to keep a more sane schedule, but he can’t seem to find a tournament to skip. The Greek, who is just 2-2 so far during the clay season and has looked a little worn down, will try to regain his early-season mojo as the No. 1 seed in Estoril. Who knows, maybe this is the place for him: He made the semifinals here last year. 

While Tsitsipas has spun his wheels this spring, Fabio Fognini has hit the gas. The Italian returns one week after winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title, in Monte Carlo. Will Fognini keep cruising, or will the ride get bumpy again? That may be the question of the week on the ATP side.

 

Also here: Gael Monfils, Alex De Minaur, Dusan Lajovic and Frances Tiafoe


J & T Bank Prague Open (WTA)

Prague
$250,000; International
Red clay

Draw is here

*Editor's Note: On Monday morning, Karolina Pliskova withdrew from Prague due to illness.

Would you trade a Karolina Pliskova for a Petra Kvitova? Ideally, if you’re a tournament official in Prague, you want both of your country’s Fed Cup stalwarts in the draw, but that doesn’t seem destined to happen anytime soon. Last year, Pliskova pulled out after winning in Stuttgart, and Kvitova went on to win in Prague; this year it was Kvitova’s turn to win in Stuttgart and skip Prague, and Pliskova’s turn to be the top seed in her home country.

 

Also here: Qiang Wang, Istanbul finalist Marketa Vondrousova and Svetlana Kuznetsova

First-round match for college-tennis lovers to watch: Danielle Collins vs. Jennifer Brady


Grand Prix de Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem (WTA)

Rabat, Morocco
$250,000; International
Red clay

Draw is here

Elise Mertens is the top seed in Rabat, followed by Su-Wei Hsieh. But the player on a roll is No. 5 seed Petra Martic, who comes in after winning the title in Istanbul on Sunday.