As an exciting European clay season draws to a close, the world’s best turn their attention to the grass with a double ATP 250 taking place in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart from June 6-12.
Daniil Medvedev is the top seed at the Libema Open in the Dutch town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz will be among his rivals. Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the field at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, where the Greek makes his debut in an event which also sees Matteo Berrettini compete for the first time since March after hand surgery.
ATPTour.com provides five things to look out for at every event.
See the prints: ‘s-Hertogenbosch | stuttgart
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH
1) Medvedev in pursuit of the first title in 2022: Medvedev takes to the grass at the Libema Open after missing much of the clay season due to surgery for a hernia. However, he returned in time to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros.
After winning his first title on grass in Mallorca last year, the top seed will be hoping to improve on his best performance at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a quarter-final in 2017. The 26-year-old is looking for a first title for 2022, but he holds a 19-7 match record for the year, with his best showing a run to the final at the Australian Open.
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2) Felix and Fritz on fire? : Second-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime makes his ‘s-Hertogenbosch debut as he looks to continue his run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. Auger-Aliassime is a two-time runner-up at grass tour level, just short of the title in Stuttgart in 2019 and 2021.
On the other hand, Taylor Fritz has fond memories of his only league game on the surface. The 24-year-old American won his first ATP Tour title on the lawns of Eastbourne in 2019. Fritz fell in the second round at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last year, but Fritz can improve on that performance by beating the wildcard Dutchman Tim Van Rijthoven or a qualifier in his opening game.
3) Mannarino defends his title: Adrian Mannarino won his first ATP Tour title at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the last edition of the tournament in 2019. The Frenchman hopes his return to the Netherlands can help improve his form as he looks to improving on an 11-12 match record for 2022. Possessing a flat style of play that suits fast grass conditions, Mannarino also reached the quarter-finals in 2015 and 2016.
4) Double Dutch: Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor are hoping to channel support from their home fans as they look to emulate Richard Krajicek (1994, 1997) and Sjeng Schalken (2002-3) in lifting the trophy at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. However, neither player won a match at the event. Van de Zandschulp made his main draw debut, while Griekspoor fell in the first round to Vasek Pospisil in his only appearance in 2017.
5) Herbert/Mahut Head Seeds: After the defense of their 2021 Roland Garros crown ended in a first-round exit in Paris last week, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and three-time singles champion Nicolas Mahut are looking to bounce back as top seeds at ‘ s-Hertogenbosch. In the draw with the 2015 finalists, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are the top doubles teams in the Pepperstone ATP Double Team rankings. The second seeds arrive in the Netherlands for their first event together on grass after winning four ATP Tour titles in 2022.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN STUTTGART
1) The beginnings of Tsitsipas: Top seed Tsitsipas makes his BOSS OPEN debut in Stuttgart, where he will aim for his second crown of the year at tour level and his first career title on grass. The Greek has won 34 matches at the top of the Tour in 2022, and he will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing fourth-round exit at Roland Garros with a deep run in Germany.
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2) Berrettini’s returns: After a promising start to the year that saw Berrettini reach the Australian Open semi-finals, the Italian’s 2022 season was cut short by right-hand surgery in March. The 26-year-old went 11-1 on grass in 2021, lifting the trophy at the Cinch Championships in London before advancing to his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. Can Berrettini find his rhythm quickly and generate further success on the grass in Stuttgart?
3) Murray and Kyrgios bring the grass pedigree: A pair of real grass-court threats are unranked in Stuttgart, but Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios will both be aiming for strong performances in Germany. Murray has missed much of the clay season to focus on his grass preparations and the two-time Wimbledon champion faces a qualifier on his tournament debut, with Tsitsipas a potential quarter-final opponent.
Although he is yet to win a title on grass at tour level, Kyrgios’ serving ability and punching power make him tough to beat on the surface. The world No. 76 is playing his first tournament since Houston in early April, and the Aussie faces an intriguing first-round clash with Czech #NextGenATP Jiri Lehecka.
4) Hurkacz & Shapovalov aim for a quick start on grass: After picking up a personal-best nine wins during the European clay season, third-seeded Hurkacz is full of confidence as he turns to a surface suited to his big-serving game. The 2021 Wimbledon semi-finalist is seeded third in Stuttgart – where he lost his opening match on his tournament debut last year – and is eyeing his first title of 2022.
Shapovalov, seeded fourth, also reached the last four at Wimbledon last year, but the Canadian will want to improve on his 1-3 record in Stuttgart, where he is aiming for his second ATP Tour title.
5) Double Puetz/Venus field: Dubai champions Tim Puetz and Michael Venus are the top seeds in Stuttgart. Puetz has already won the trophy in his native country, in 2018 alongside Philipp Petzschner, but John Peers and Filip Polasek, Hubert Hurkacz and Mate Pavic, and Alexander Bublik and Nick Kyrgios are among his rivals and Venus this week in the southwestern Germany.