Week in Preview: Medvedev heads to Rotterdam with something to prove

Week in Preview: Medvedev heads to Rotterdam with something to prove

The post-Melbourne build-up begins with five tournaments across four continents. We look at the fields in Rotterdam, St. Petersburg, Long Island, Buenos Aires, and Hua Hin.

The season’s first monthlong run-up, to the Australian Open, is over. Now we move onto the second, which winds its way through Europe, South America, and North America in February, and brings everyone back together in Indian Wells at the start of March. While nothing monumental is likely to happen this month, there’s no shortage of events to choose from. Here’s a look ahead at the five happening this week. 


ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (ATP)

Rotterdam, Netherlands
$2,500,000; 500 ranking points
Indoor hard court
Draw is here

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Last year in Rotterdam, Daniil Medvedev gave us a taste of what his year would be like when he reached the semifinals and lost 6-4 in the third set to eventual champion Gael Monfils. Since then, of course, Medvedev has gone on to bigger and better things, including the US Open final. This week he returns as the top seed and, on paper, the pre-tournament favorite. But he also returns with something to prove: Medvedev’s fourth-round loss to Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open was something of a disappointment, one that he could put behind him with a win here. 

Something similar might be said for No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who also had a breakout 2019, and who also went out surprisingly early in Melbourne, to Milos Raonic. But if Medvedev or Tsitsipas are going to get their mojo back in Rotterdam, they’ll have to earn it. This is the only 500-level event this week, and it has the draw to show for it: Monfils, Andrey Rublev, Roberto Bautista Agut, Fabio Fognini, David Goffin, and Denis Shapovalov round out the Top 8 seeds.

First-round matches to watch: Medvedev vs. Vasek Pospisil, who reached the final in Montpellier this weekend; Tsitsipas vs. Hubert Hurkacz; Shapovalov vs. Grigor Dimitrov; Fognini vs. Karen Khachanov; Bautista Agut vs. Marton Fucsovics; Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Jan-Lennard Struff

Wild card to watch: Jannik Sinner. The highly touted 18-year-old Italian has had a bit of a rough welcome to the tour this year—he’s 1-3 so far. He’ll try to improve that mark against Radu Albot in his opener.


St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy (WTA)

St. Petersburg, Russia
$848,000; Premier
Indoor hard court
Draw is here

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We’ll have to wait a week for the most important part of this tournament: I’m referring to the famously over-the-top trophy ceremony, of course, which comes complete with opera singers and ballet dancers and can last a good half-hour. 

Which two players stand the best chance of being there to see that spectacle in person? Belinda Bencic, who reached the final here in 2016, is the top seed. Defending champion Kiki Bertens is the No. 2 seed. Petra Kvitova, winner in 2018, is the No. 3 seed. The player who has had the most success in recent years in St. Petersburg, Kiki Mladenovic—she won it in 2017 and made the final in 2018—is also here, and could play Kvitova in the second round. 

Road Warriors: Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia are both in the draw, despite having just slogged through a long and ultimately losing Fed Cup tie against the U.S. in Seattle. Before they try to beat their first-round opponents, they’ll probably have to beat two serious cases of jet lag.

On the mend: Marketa Vondrousova. The 20-year-old, who is playing her third event since Wimbledon, will begin against Ajla Tomljanovic


New York Open (ATP)

Long Island, NY, USA
$804,180; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court
Draw is here

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An American-heavy field—nine of the 28 players in the draw are from the States—returns to the all-black courts of Nassau Coliseum. Nick Kyrgios was supposed to join them, but he pulled out this weekend, citing a flare-up in his previously injured shoulder. Even without Kyrgios, though, fans on Long Island will see their share of aces: John Isner, Milos Raonic and defending champion Reilly Opelka are the top three seeds. Joining them are two Americans who made some noise Down Under: Tennys Sandgren and Tommy Paul.

First-round all-American match to watch: Sandgren vs. Steve Johnson

Wild card: Jack Sock. He’ll try to win his first singles match at an ATP tournament since 2018 against Marcus Giron.


Argentina Open (ATP)

Buenos Aires, Argentina
$696,280; 250 ranking points
Red clay
Draw is here

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All eyes will be on Diego Schwartzman as South America’s Golden Swing arrives in Buenos Aires. Schwartzman will be the home-country favorite, and he should be the favorite to win the title (after Dominic Thiem withdrew last week). He’s the top seed, he reached the final last year, and just finished runner-up to Cristian Garin at the Cordoba Open. 

Who might spoil Schwartzman’s party? There's Garin, and along with the Chilean, Guido Pella, Dusan Lajovic, Borna Coric, Laslo Djere, and defending champion Marco Cecchinato would seem to be the most likely suspects.


GSB Thailand Open (WTA)

Hua Hin, Thailand
$275,000; International
Hard court
Draw is here

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The week’s smallest event will play out in Hua Hin. Despite the modest prize money, though, the tournament has reeled in a Top 10 player, Elina Svitolina, and a couple others who have gone deep at recent majors, Petra Martic and Wang Qiang.