Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Isner & Thiem Headline Umag, Atlanta & Kitzbuhel | ATP Tour

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect the withdrawals of Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini from Kitzbühel.

The action takes place on both clay and hard courts this week on the ATP Tour, as a host of Top 20 stars compete at three ATP 250 events across two continents.

Reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz heads the field at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, while Dominic Thiem leads the way at the week’s other European clay-court event, the Generali Open in Kitzbühel. In the United States, John Isner will aim to win his seventh title on the hard courts at the Atlanta Open.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch from each event.

View Draws: Atlanta | Kitzbuhel | Umag

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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ATLANTA
1) Opelka Leads The Field: Reilly Opelka will headline the field in Atlanta as he prepares to make his fifth appearance at the ATP 250 hard-court tournament. The 24-year-old, who has won titles on American soil in 2022 in Dallas and Houston, reached the semi-finals in Atlanta in 2016 and 2019, before he enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals last year. The top seed will open his campaign against Ilya Ivashka or Quentin Halys.

2) Can Isner Continue Atlanta Love Affair? Isner has captured six titles in Atlanta, with his latest success coming last year when he downed #NextGenATP countryman Brandon Nakashima in the final. The 37-year-old, who first lifted the trophy at the event in 2013, holds a 36-5 record at the tournament and will look to improve his record further when he faces NCAA singles champion Ben Shelton or a qualifier in his opening match .

3) Kyrgios Returns: Two weeks after soaring to his first major final at Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios will look to continue his momentum on the hard courts in Atlanta. The Australian, who holds a 21-7 record on the season, is a former champion in Georgia, having defeated Isner to win the title in 2016. The 27-year-old starts his title quest against a qualifier.

4) Draw Stacked With Americans: Excluding qualifiers, there are 11 Americans in the draw, with Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda among the standout names. Tiafoe is making his fifth appearance in Atlanta, with his best result this season a run to the final in Estoril. Paul arrives off the back of a strong grass swing, where he earned a 7-4 record, while Korda will be returning to action for the first time since June, when he picked up an injury in Eastbourne.

Tiafoe could face Korda first up in Atlanta, if the latter overcomes a qualifier in his opening match, while Paul takes on another American in Jack Sock.

5) Kyrgios/Kokkinakis Reunited: Australian Open champions Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis join forces in Atlanta for the first time since their semi-final run in Miami in March. However, the Australian duo faces tough competition in Georgia, where the top seeds are Roland Garros finalists Austin Krajicek and Ivan Dodig. Americans Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock and Wimbledon champions Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell are also competing in the doubles field.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN KITZBUHEL
1) Thiem On Home Soil:
Austrian Dominic Thiem will make his ninth appearance in Kitzbühel this week as he looks to create more success at his home event. The 28-year-old won the title in his last appearance in 2019, while he also advanced to the final in 2014. Thiem arrives high in confidence, having backed up his quarter-final run in Bastad by reaching the semi-finals in Gstaad . Thiem faces Richard Gasquet in the first round.

2) Clay-Court Threats: Roberto Bautista Agut, four-time ATP Tour titlist Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Santiago champion Pedro Martinez are among the players chasing their first Kitzbühel title. Bautista Agut, the third seed, has won 10 ATP Tour titles, including one earlier this year in Doha. The Spaniard will try to lift his first clay-court trophy since emerging victorious in Stuttgart in 2014.

3) Garin On Clay: Also in the draw is Cristian Garin, who has won all five of his tour-level trophies on clay. Garin, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon earlier this month, will face Federico Coria on his tournament debut.

4)#NextGenATP Lehecka: Jiri Lehecka arrives for his Kitzbühel debut at a career-high No. 65 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 20-year-old Czech, who is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan reached a maiden ATP Tour semi-final in Rotterdam in just his second tour-level event, and he found some form on the clay last week with a run to the quarter-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Iasi, Romania.

5) Erdler/Miedler Defend Home Crown: Wild cards Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler enjoyed a dream run to their maiden ATP Tour doubles title in Kitzbühel in 2021, and the pair returns to defend its crown in front of its home fans. Tim Puetz and Michael Venus are the top seeds in a stacked draw, where second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop and third seeds Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies will also be targeting a successful week in the Austrian Alps.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN UMAG
1) Reigning Champ Alcaraz: Umag holds special memories for Carlos Alcaraz, who captured his first tour-level title at the ATP 250 event last year. The Spaniard, who was No. 73 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings when he won the trophy 12 months ago, will lead the field as the top seed this week and arrives in form, having reached the final in Hamburg, where he faces Lorenzo Musetti for the title. The 19-year-old, who will crack the world’s top five on Monday, has claimed his first two ATP Masters 1000 titles this season in Miami and Madrid.

2) Sinner Seeks First Title Of 2022: Jannik Sinner will compete for the first time since he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when he takes the court in Umag. The 20-year-old Italian has reached six tour-level quarter-finals this season, but in 2022 has yet to add to his five ATP Tour titles. Sinner, who reached the second round at the clay-court event on debut in 2019, will meet Jaume Munar or Mikael Ymer in his first match.

3) Baez On The Rise: Sebastian Baez is enjoying the best season of his career. The Argentine captured his maiden tour-level title on clay in Estoril in April, while he reached the final in Bastad earlier this month before losing to countryman Francisco Cerundolo in the final. The 21-year-old is making his debut in Umag.

4) Can Rune Regain Form? #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune started the year in top form, lifting the trophy in Munich before he upset Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. However, the 19-year-old, who is third in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, has struggled to find his best form in recent weeks. He will look to snap a six-match losing streak when he takes on Bernabe Zapata Miralles or home wild card Dino Prizmic in his opening match in Croatia.

5) Bolelli/Fognini Top Seeds: Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini clinched their first ATP Tour doubles title as a pair in Umag in 2011, and the Italians are the top seeds in Croatia this week as they chase their second title of this year. The in-form Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez are the second seeds, with the Brazilian-Spanish pair looking to lift their fourth tour-level title since first teaming in March.

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