The Grand Slam season has come to a close and Davis Cup group-stage action is also in the rearview mirror, so it’s time for the fall swing to begin on the ATP Tour. It all gets started this week in Asia, where ATP 250 tournaments are taking place in Chengdu and Zhuhai. Among the players taking the court are Alexander Zverev, Lorenzo Musetti, Grigor Dimitrov, Karen Khachanov, Sebastian Korda, and Andy Murray.
Here are my previews and picks for the two events.
Where: Chengdu, China
Prize money: $1,152,805
Top seed: Alexander Zverev
2019 champion: Pablo Carreno Busta (not playing)
Draw analysis: Following a period of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chengdu back on the schedule for the first time since 2019. It should be a triumphant return, as the field is quite strong for a 250. Zverev is the top seed ahead of Musetti and Dimitrov, while the draw also features Alexander Bublik, Miomir Kecmanovic, Dan Evans, and Emil Ruusuvuori.
The top half of the draw is more top heavy, as it features both Zverev and Dimitrov. However, the bottom half boasts plenty of depth. Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson are going head-to-head in the opening round, Evans awaits either Brandon Nakashima or Roman Safiullin, and Musetti could run into either Bublik, Ruusuvuori, Marcos Giron, or Arthur Rinderknech in the quarterfinals.
Hot: Alexander Zverev, Dan Evans, Max Purcell, Roman Safiullin
Cold: Miomir Kecmanovic, Brandon Nakashima, Daniel Elahi Galan
Quarterfinal predictions: Alexander Zverev over Corentin Moutet, Christopher O’Connell over Grigor Dimitrov, Roman Safiullin over Jordan Thompson, and Lorenzo Musetti over Arthur Rinderknech
Semifinals: Zverev over O’Connell and Musetti over Safiullin
Final: Zverev over Musetti
Where: Zhuhai, China
Prize money: $981, 785
Top seed: Karen Khachanov
2019 champion: Alex de Minaur (not playing)
Draw analysis: Zhuhai is also back on the ATP calendar for the first time since its inauguration in 2019. Murray was waffling on his participation after he lost early at the U.S. Open, but he has decided to suit up. The 36-year-old Scot is joined in a decent field by Khachanov, Korda, and Cameron Norrie. Khachanov has played only one match since Roland Garros and Norrie is struggling at the moment, so this title appears to be up for grabs.
Since Khachanov is rusty, look for either Mackenzie McDonald, Diego Schwartzman, or Jerry Shang to capitalize at the top of the bracket. Korda, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, and Rinky Hijikata—who reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open—also have a chance to make a deep run. At the bottom of the draw, the winner of a likely second-round matchup between Murray and either Matteo Arnaldi or Aslan Karatsev could go a long way.
Hot: Matteo Arnaldi, Rinky Hijikata, Jungcheng Shang
Cold: Karen Khachanov, Cameron Norrie, Jan-Lennard Struff, Diego Schwartzman
Quarterfinal predictions: Jungcheng Shang over Diego Schwartzman, Sebastian Korda over Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Cristian Garin over Lloyd Harris, and Andy Murray over Cameron Norrie
Semifinals: Korda over Shang and Murray over Garin
Final: Murray over Korda