A host of top names travel to Seoul, Sofia and Tel Aviv on the ATP Tour this week, while a trio of ATP 250 hard-court events host the action from September 26th to October 2nd.
world #2 Kasper Ruud competes at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul where he’s trying to secure his run US Open Finale with a strong performance on the open courts of the South Korean capital.
Jannik sinner and Novak Djokovic Head indoors as a top seed at the Sofia open and Tel Aviv Watergen Openrespectively. Grigor Dimitrov will also try to impress his home fans in Sofia Marin Cilic and Dominik Thiem Attend the draw in Tel Aviv with Djokovic.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch at every event.
FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN SEOUL
1) Ruud Top Seeds: Kasper Ruud has accomplished many things in 2022, but winning a tour-level trophy on hard courts is not one of them. The Norwegian’s three titles this season have all been won on clay but the world No. 2 will be confident when he arrives in Seoul. He reached the final of US Open in New York for his final tour-level individual event.
2) Can Norrie, Fritz Turin give hope?: second seed Cameron Norrie and third seed TaylorFritz are looking to bolster their impressive 2022 hard court form this week in Seoul during an important week for them Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes.
Norrie won the title in Delray Beach and also reached hard-court finals in Acapulco and Los Cabos this year, but he remains outside of qualifying spots for the season-ending showpiece. The Brit is 11th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin while Indian Wells champion Fritz is 10th. Can every player make their move in South Korea this week?
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3) ATP Tour returns to Seoul: The ATP Tour returns to the South Korean capital this week for the first time since 1996 with the outdoor hard court tournament at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Centre. World number 74 Soonwoo Kwon leads the home side, with the 24-year-old taking on a compatriot from South Korea Yunseong Chung in his opening game.
4) Tseng Chasing Milan Spot: One of the brightest prospects in Asian tennis, the 21-year-old #NextGenATP Chun Hsin Tseng from Chinese Taipei, is in eighth place at the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan as he bids to qualify Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the first time. Tseng hopes to improve his chances with a strong start in Seoul against semi-finalists San Diego Christopher O’Connell.
5) Chung Partners Kwon on return: An alumni will return at this week’s event in Seoul Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Winner after a long injury break.
Hyeon ChungChampion in Milan in 2017 and semi-finalist in 2018 Australian Open, will team up with his South Korean compatriot Kwon in the doubles court in front of home fans. Former world No. 19 Chung has not played a competitive game since October 2020 due to injury.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTION
FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN SOFIA
1) Sinner seeks Sofia hat-trick: Top seeded Sinner comes to Bulgaria to claim his third consecutive crown at the ATP 250 indoor hard court event. Sinner didn’t drop a single set en route to the title last year and the Italian will be hoping for similarly strong performances as he attempts to clinch the title qualifiers Nitto ATP Finals. 21-year-old Sinner, who sits 43-13 for the 2022 season, is currently 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.
2) Dimitrov to please home fans? Like Sinner, home favorite Dimitrov is yet to suffer a defeat in Sofia, where he won the title in his only appearance in 2017.
The former world No. 3 has struggled for consistency this season since reaching the semifinals Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in April, but he has won three of his eight tour-level titles on indoor hard courts, including 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Can his passionate home support lead him to more successes this week?
3) #NextGenATP increases: A trio of impressive #NextGenATP stars — Lorenzo Musetti, Holger Rune and Jack Draper — are sown in Bulgaria. All three consolidated their respective third, fourth and fifth places in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan with strong performances in Sofia, where Rune and Draper make their tournament debuts.
4) Carreno Busta sees more success on hard court: second seed Pablo Carreno Busta returns to competition for the first time since reaching the fourth round of the World Championship US Open. The Spaniard clinched his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy on the Montreal hard courts in August and Carreno Busta is hoping some big performances in Sofia can keep him within reach Nitto ATP Finals Qualification. The 31-year-old is currently 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.
5) Bolelli/Fognini Top Seeds: Simon Bolelli and Fabio Fognini Headlining the doubles draw in the Bulgarian capital, where the 10th-placed pair in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Team Ranking are chasing their third tour-level title of the season. Second seeds Raphael Matos and David Vega Hernandez have upped the ante so far in 2022, winning three ATP Tour trophies since first teaming in April.
FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN TEL AVIV
1) Djokovic returns in action: Novak Djokovic will compete in Israel, where the 88-time tour-level title list is the top seed. Djokovic is chasing his third Tour crown of the year after triumphs in Rome and At Wimbledon. His run to his 21st Grand Slam crown in London means the Serb need only finish in the top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin to qualify for November Nitto ATP Finals. Djokovic is currently 15th.
2) Schwartzman & Cilic are looking for the first title of the year: Diego Schwartzman and Marin Cilic are both bidding for their first tour-level trophies of 2022 in Tel Aviv. Both stars have put in quality performances this season. Schwartzman reached the final on clay in February in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, while Cilic was a semifinalist Roland Garros. Can any player transport this clay court form to the similarly slow indoor hard courts?
3) Is Thiem taking the next step?: Dominik Thiem has shown itself to be in top form over the last few weeks. The Austrian reached the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Rennes, earning his 10th win of the season at Tour level Richard Gasquet in Metz from falling over Hubert Hurkacz.
The 17-time tour-level world champion has been struggling to return to winning ways for nine months with a wrist injury, but wild card Thiem will be hoping to add to his recent winning streak with a quick start to his campaign in Tel Aviv.
4) Trip to Tel Aviv: Like Seoul, Tel Aviv is hosting an ATP Tour event this week for the first time since 1996 when the Tel Aviv International Convention Center will host the ATP 250 indoor hard court event. The Israeli city was the venue Jimmy Connors‘ last career singles title in 1989, while Aaron Krickstein With his triumph in Tel Aviv in 1983, he still holds the ATP record for the youngest winner of a tour event.
5) Krawietz/Mies chase Turin Spot: Kevin Krawietz and Andrew Mies travel to Tel Aviv to claim their third ATP Tour crown of the 2022 season. The second seeds can increase theirs Nitto ATP Finals Qualification hopes with a good result in Israel. Krawietz and Mies sit 11th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams rankings, but they will face stiff competition from a field that includes top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoopwhile Djokovic works with the home favorite Jonathan Erlich.