Tennis picks and predictions: Hamburg, Atlanta and Umag

The American hard-court swing kicks off this week, but after the Wimbledon swing, it’s still going strong at the same time. Hamburg headlines another trio of tournaments as the 500-point field is led by Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev. Taylor Fritz, Alex de Minaur, Chris Eubanks and John Isner lead the way on the hard courts in Atlanta, while Dominic Thiem hopes to build some momentum in Umag.

Here are my previews and picks for this week’s ATP events.

Hamburg European Open

Where: Hamburg, Germany
Surface: Clay
Prize money: 1,831,515 Euros
Points: 500

Top seeds: Casper Ruud
Defending champion: Lorenzo Musetti

Draw analysis: Ruud and Rublev are the top two seeds, so they are favored to meet in a second straight final after battling for the Bastad title in the past week. However, it won’t be easy for either man to make it happen. Ruud opens in Hamburg against Sebastian Baez and his quarter of the draw also includes Miomir Kecmanovic and Arthur Fils. Rublev starts his campaign against Bernabe Zapata Miralles before possibly running into Francisco Cerundolo in the quarter-finals and Lorenzo Musetti in the semi-finals.

Andrey Rublev

Zverev’s quarter of the bracket also features Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, whose first round match is against Gstaad champion Pedro Cachin. Musetti’s section includes Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Laslo Djere and Botic van de Zandschulp. Etchverry vs. Djere is another tough first-rounder.

Hot: Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Arthur Fils, Yannick Hanfmann, Daniel Altmaier, Pedro Cachin,

Cold: Miomir Kecmanovic, Botic van de Zandschulp, Dusan Lajovic, Sebastian Baez, Rudolf Molleker

Quarter Final Predictions: Casper Ruud over Arthur Fils, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina over Alexander Zverev, Lorenzo Musetti over Laslo Djere, and Andrey Rublev over Yannick Hanfmann

Semifinals: Davidovich Fokina over Ruud and Rublev over Musetti

Final: Rublev over Davidovich Fokina

Atlanta Open

Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $737,170
Points: 250

Top seeds: Taylor Fritz
Defending champion: Alex de Minaur

Draw analysis: As usual, the first stop of the hard-court summer comes with a distinctly American flavor. Four of the eight seeded players are from the host nation, including No. 1 Fritz and No. 5 Eubanks. Isner is apparently returning to his stomping grounds, where he is aiming for a seventh title. Sixth-seeded Ben Shelton, 2021 Atlanta runner-up Brandon Nakashima, and Newport finalist Alex Michelsen are also U.S. title contenders.

However, the favorite has to be De Minaur. Atlanta’s second seed has never lost in two previous trips to this event, having won in both 2019 and 2022. De Minaur will open against either fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis or Gael Monfils, while Ugo Humbert is the second seed in the bottom quarter of the draw. Eubanks, the Mallorca winner and Wimbledon quarter-finalist, is a potential semi-final opponent for De Minaur. Fritz’s path to the final could include Yibing Wu in round two, Shelton in the last eight and Isner, Michelsen or JJ Wolf in the semifinals.

Hot: Chris Eubanks, Ugo Humbert, Alex Michelsen

Cold: Dan Evans, Gael Monfils, John Isner, Maxime Cressy

Quarter Final Predictions: Ben Shelton over Taylor Fritz, John Isner over JJ Wolf, Chris Eubanks over Ethan Quinn and Alex de Minaur over Ugo Humbert

Semifinals: Shelton over Isner and De Minaur over Eubanks

Final: De Minaur over Shelton

Blue Lagoon Croatia Open

Where: Umag, Croatia
Surface: Clay
Prize money: 562,815 Euros
Points: 250

Top seeds: Use Lehecka
champion in 2021: Jannik Sinner (not playing)

Draw analysis: Umag pretty much always offers the kind of fields that make the title stand out. There is little to no star power to speak of as Jiri Lehecka is the No. 1 seed and is ranked just 33rd in the world. In addition, Sebastian Ofner is ranked No. 58 and has a bye in the first round. This is not to say that this field is completely devoid of big names. Thiem is back in action, Marin Cilic is playing on tour for the first time since early January in Pune and Stan Wawrinka is seeded sixth.

Thiem and Cilic find themselves in the top quarter of the draw with Lehecka and up-and-coming Italian Matteo Arnaldi. The top half is otherwise very weak, so it’s a good opportunity for either Thiem or Arnaldi to make some serious noise. On the other hand, Wawrinka could face either fellow Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler or Federico Coria in the second round. Lorenzo Sonego, Roberto Carballes Baena, Alexander Shevchenko and Gstaad closer Albert Ramos-Vinolas also look set to struggle.

Hot: Sebastian Ofner, Matteo Arnaldi, Christopher O’Connell

Cold: Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Marco Cecchinato

Quarter Final Predictions: Matteo Arnaldi over Dominic Thiem, Sebastian Ofner over Zsombor Piros, Federico Coria over Roberto Carballes Baena and Alexander Shevchenko over Jaume Munar

Semifinals: Arnaldi over Ofner and Coria over Shevchenko

Final: Arnaldi over Coria

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