As a thrilling European clay-court season draws to a close, the world’s best turn their attention to grass with an ATP 250 double-header taking place in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart from 6-12 June.
Daniil Medvedev is the top seed at the Libema Open in the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz will be among his rivals. Stefanos Tsitsipas heads the field at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, where the Greek is making his debut at an event that also sees Matteo Berrettini compete for the first time since March after hand surgery.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at five things to watch at each event.
View Draws: ‘s-Hertogenbosch | stuttgart
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH
1) Medvedev Chases First Title In 2022: Medvedev takes to the grass at the Libema Open after missing much of the clay season due to a hernia procedure. However, he returned in time to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros.
Having claimed his maiden grass-court title in Mallorca last year, the top seed will be hopeful of bettering his best performance in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a quarter-final appearance in 2017. The 26-year-old is hunting a maiden title for 2022, but he owns 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 & Fritz To Fire?: Second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime makes his ‘s-Hertogenbosch debut as he looks to build on a run in the fourth round at Roland Garros. Auger-Aliassime is a two-time tour-level finalist on grass, falling just short of the title in Stuttgart in 2019 and 2021.
In contrast, Taylor Fritz has fond memories of his only championship match on the surface. The 24-year-old American won his maiden ATP Tour title on the lawns in Eastbourne in 2019. Fritz fell in the second round in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last year, but Fritz can better that performance by defeating Dutch wild card Tim Van Rijthoven or to qualify in his opening match.
3) Mannarino Defends Title: Adrian Mannarino won his maiden ATP Tour title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the most recent edition of the tournament in 2019. The Frenchman will hope his return to the Netherlands can help cause an upturn in form as he seeks to improve on an 11-12 match record for 2022. Possessing a flat-hitting game style that suits the fast conditions on grass, Mannarino also reached the quarter-finals in 2015 and 2016.
4) Double Dutch: Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor will hope to channel the support of their home fans as they seek to emulate Richard Krajicek (1994, 1997) and Sjeng Schalken (2002-3) in lifting the trophy in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Neither player has won a match at the event, however. Van de Zandschulp is making his main draw debut, while Griekspoor fell in the first round to Vasek Pospisil on his only appearance in 2017.
5) Herbert/Mahut Top 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 look to bounce back as the top seeds in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. In the draw with the 2015 finalists are the leading doubles team in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. The second seeds arrive in the Netherlands for their first event together on grass having clinched four ATP Tour titles in 2022.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN STUTTGART
1) Tsitsipas Debut: Top seed Tsitsipas makes his debut at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, where he will be chasing his second tour-level crown of the year and his career-first title on grass. The Greek has won a Tour-leading 34 matches in 2022, and he will hope to bounce back from a disappointing fourth-round exit at Roland Garros with a deep run in Germany.
— BOSS OPEN (@theweissenhof) June 3, 2022
2) Berrettini Returns: After a promising start to the year saw Berrettini charge to the semi-finals at the Australian Open, the Italian’s 2022 season was interrupted 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 charging to his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. Can Berrettini find his rhythm quickly and generate further grass success in Stuttgart?
3) Murray & Kyrgios Bring Grass Pedigree: A pair of real grass-court threats are unseeded in Stuttgart, but Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios will both be eyeing strong showings in Germany. Murray missed much of the clay season to focus on his preparations for grass 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 lift a tour-level grass-court title, Kyrgios’ serving ability and power-hitting makes him tough to beat on the surface. The World No. 76 plays his first tournament since Houston in early April, and the Australian faces an intriguing opening-round matchup with #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka.
4) Hurkacz & Shapovalov Aim For Fast Start On Grass: After picking up a personal-best nine wins over the European clay season, third seed 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 tournament debut last year — and is chasing his first title of 2022.
Fourth-seeded Shapovalov also reached the last four at Wimbledon last year, but the Canadian will be keen to improve his 1-3 match record in Stuttgart, where he seeks his second ATP Tour title.
5) Puetz/Venus Lead Doubles Field: Dubai champions Tim Puetz and Michael Venus are the top seeds in Stuttgart. Puetz has lifted the trophy in his homeland before, 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 and Venus’ rivals this week in south-west Germany.