Scouting Report: Djokovic and Medvedev Lead in Dubai and Acapulco; Garín to Santiago | ATP tours

Another busy week on the ATP Tour will see action in Acapulco, Dubai and Santiago.

Novak Djokovic returns to action as the top seed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, while Daniil Medvedev leads the field at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC in Acapulco, with both events in the ATP 500 category Defending champion Cristian Garin returns to his homeland at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open, an ATP 250 clay-court event taking place in Santiago.

With so much at stake, ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch out for at every event.

See the pictures: Acapulco | dubai | santiago

FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN ACAPULCO
1) Medvedev directs the Cudaro: Medvedev won his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, falling to Rafael Nadal in a five-set classic. The Russian returns to the courts for the first time at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC, where he will make his debut. The world No. 2 will open against Benoit Paire.

It’s a critical week for Medvedev, who controls his destiny in the battle for the ATP ranking No.1 with Djokovic. If the Russian lifts the trophy in Acapulco, he will become the third Russian to accomplish the feat by taking first place on February 28.

2) Defending champion Zverev: Alexander Zverev has fond memories in Acapulco, having triumphed in Mexico last year. The German, who hasn’t dropped a set en route to the title, reached the final in Montpellier earlier this month. The world No. 3 will face American Jenson Brooksby in a promising first-round match.

At last year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Zverev needed three sets to knock out the American. This will be their second ATP Head2Head encounter.

3) Rafa returns: Rafael Nadal reminded everyone of what he was capable of at the Australian Open in January when he claimed his 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne. Fully rested, the Spaniard returns to action in a tournament where he has been successful in the past, lifting the trophy in Acapulco in 2005, 2013 and 2020.

The 35-year-old, who is 20-2 in Acapulco, takes on Reilly Opelka in his opener. Opelka has just won a title at the Dallas Open and is in the final of the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.

4) Berrettini and Tsitsipas aim high: Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be looking for their first title of the season in Mexico. Berrettini makes his debut and will start against Tommy Paul, while Tsitsipas will look to go further than last year when he lost in the final. The Greek, who qualified for the league game in Rotterdam earlier this month, faces Laslo Djere in the first round.

5) New headquarters: The action in Acapulco will take place this year at Arena GNP Seguros, a new venue that houses six courts and more than 10,000 seats in the stadium. The tournament site has increased by eight hectares after construction over the past two years.

FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN DUBAI
1) The return of Djokovic: World number 1 Djokovic will compete for the first time this season when he takes to the court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Serbian, who won the ATP 500 trophy five times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015), opens against Italian #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti.

It’s a key week in his battle for the top spot in the ATP rankings with Medvedev. If the Russian wins the Acapulco title, he will become world No. 1. But Djokovic can pressure Medvedev with a deep run in Dubai.

2) Canadian Threat: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov enjoyed strong starts to the season, helping Canada win the ATP Cup title in Sydney, before Auger-Aliassime won his first tour-level title in Rotterdam.

Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in Dubai last year and begins his 2022 tournament against Marton Fucsovics as he looks to set the wheels in motion for another deep run. In their only previous encounter, the Hungarian triumphed in four sets at the 2020 Australian Open. Auger-Aliassime is making his Dubai debut and will meet Doha runner-up Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.

3) Can Rublev retain his status? Andrey Rublev arrives in Dubai after winning the title in Marseille. The Russian, who also reached the quarter-finals in Rotterdam earlier this month, has advanced to the semi-finals in Dubai in 2021. The second seed faces Britain’s Daniel Evans in his opener.

4) Hurkacz and Sinner in search of the first title in 2022: Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner had stellar seasons in 2021, winning seven tour-level titles between them. Both are still looking for their first crowns in 2022 and hope to succeed in Dubai. Fourth-seeded Sinner starts against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while Hurkacz takes on Montpellier champion Alexander Bublik.

5) Mektic/Pavic, doubles seeds: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will continue their bid for their first title of the season as top seeds in Dubai. The American-British tandem Rajeev Ram and Joe Sailsbury are the second seeds, with John Peers and Filip Polasek third. Tim Puetz and Michael Venus are the fourth seeds.

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FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN SANTIAGO
1) Garin is going strong in Santiago: Chile’s Cristian Garin will compete on home soil at the Dove Men+Care Chile Open in a bid to get back to his best form. The 25-year-old won the title in Santiago in 2021, beating Facundo Bagnis in the final. Garin’s best result so far this year came at the Australian Open, where he advanced to the third round. The top seed, who is 5-1 at this event, will start his campaign at the clay-court ATP 250 tournament against Chilean wild card Alejandro Tabilo or a qualifier.

2) Tabilo rising: If Tabilo makes it to the second round, it will set up a blockbuster clash for the home fans. The local favorite has been on the rise in recent months and is getting closer to breaking into the Top 100. Currently at No. 111 in the ATP rankings, the southpaw has qualified for his first ATP Tour final at Cordoba. He started his season representing his country at the ATP Cup and qualifying for the Australian Open main draw, where he lost to Alcaraz in the first round.

3) Spanish Highlights: In a solid draw, Spaniards Albert Ramos-Viñolas, Pedro Martínez and Jaume Munar point to a deep run. Ramos-Vinolas won his fourth tour-level title in Cordoba in February and is a former semi-finalist in Santiago (2020). The second seed will face either Juan Manuel Cerundolo or Carlos Taberner in their first game.

Martinez, seeded fourth, makes his tournament debut on clay and could face Munar in his opener if the world No. 89 beats Daniel Galan. Munar has never made it past the first round in Chile in his two previous appearances. Martinez has won one match in his five tournaments this year.

4) Milan’s competitors are chasing a title: Three competitors in the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP 2021 Final will try to triumph in Santiago: Cerundolo, Sebastian Baez and Holger Rune. Cerundolo claimed his first ATP Tour title last year in Cordoba, while Baez and Rune are seeking glory at this level for the first time.

5) The Brazilians are going for another trophy: Rafael Matos and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves won their first ATP Tour doubles title together last year in Cordoba. This week, they will seek their second tour-level trophy as top seeds in Santiago. The second seeds are Pedro Martínez and Andrea Vavassori. Another team to follow is that of Máximo González and Nicolás Jarry. Gonzalez has won 11 doubles crowns at tour level, including three last year alongside Simone Bolelli.

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