This week, the ATP Challenger Tour rolls into France and Turkey for a pair of star-studded tournaments. All eyes will be on the indoor hard courts of Quimper, France and the outdoor clay of Antalya, Turkey, with former Top 10 stalwarts and #NextGenATP stars in action.
In Quimper, the 11th edition of the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale features former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille as its top seed and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda seeded second. Fellow #NextGenATP stars Brandon Nakashima and Hugo Gaston are also in the loaded field, along with Sunday’s Istanbul champion Arthur Rinderknech.
It will be a long-awaited return to the tour for Pouille, as the five-time ATP Tour champion and 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist competes in his first tournament since undergoing right elbow surgery last year. To add another layer of emotions to his comeback, the Frenchman is also playing in his first tournament since becoming a father. Last week, his wife Clemence gave birth to their first child, Rose.
Having played just one match in the last 15 months, Pouille returns to the ATP Challenger Tour in search of matches and much-needed rhythm between the lines. He opens against Slovakia’s Filip Horansky, with Rinderknech a potential quarter-final opponent. Fellow former Top 10 star Ernests Gulbis and in-form Americans Nakashima and Denis Kudla are also in his half of the draw.
Meanwhile, the bottom half of the Quimper draw is headlined by World No. 103 Korda, as the Florida native continues his quest for a Top 100 breakthrough. The runner-up at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach earlier this month, he has won 17 of his last 20 matches, also including a maiden Challenger title in Eckental, Germany.
Korda will open against a qualifier, with sixth seed Jurij Rodionov a potential quarter-final opponent. Elsewhere, fellow 20-year-old Gaston battles 2019 champion Gregoire Barrere in a first-round clash, while a red-hot Marc-Andrea Huesler faces last week’s Istanbul finalist Benjamin Bonzi.
Centre court in Antalya
At the inaugural Club Megasaray Open I, players hit the clay of Antalya for the first of two straight tournaments in the Turkish resort town. World No. 110 Jaume Munar leads the field, alongside second seed Daniel Elahi Galan and #NextGenATP stars Thiago Seyboth Wild and Lorenzo Musetti.
Munar concluded his 2020 campaign as one of the hottest players on the Challenger circuit, posting a 12-3 record to finish the season. He lifted the trophy in Lisbon, Portugal, in early October and reached another final in Marbella, Spain, later that month. The Spaniard opens against countryman Carlos Taberner this week.
Munar is joined by fourth seed Facundo Bagnis and Germany’s Daniel Altmaier in the top half of the draw. Altmaier is also looking to carry the momentum from a strong 2020 campaign, having streaked to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros as a qualifier. There, he secured his first Top 10 victory over Matteo Berrettini.
Second seed Galan, meanwhile, opens against a qualifier on Tuesday. The Colombian is joined by Seyboth Wild and Musetti in the bottom half of the draw, as well as former World No. 21 Leonardo Mayer.