Andy Murray playing Gael Monfils is worthy of a Grand Slam quarter-final. Indeed Murray toughed out a five-set victory in the Roland Garros quarters when he last met the Frenchman almost nine years ago.
So fans at this week’s ATP Challenger 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France are in for a treat when two of the most popular players in the modern game face off in the first round of the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole.
And Murray and Monfils are not the only big-name stars who will be in Challenger Tour action this week. Several high-ranked players who lost early at the Mutua Madrid Open will now have an opportunity to make a splash at one of two 175 events this week in Aix-en-Provence and Cagliari, Italy.
At the Sardegna Open in Italy, Yoshihito Nishioka, Ben Shelton, and Mackenzie McDonald are the top three seeds. Diego Schwartzman, Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Ugo Humbert will also be in Cagliari.
Thanasi Kokkinakis greets fans at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy.” />
Thanasi Kokkinakis greets fans at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Some of Italy’s young stars will be aiming to make a run on home soil. Mattia Bellucci, Luca Nardi, Giulio Zeppieri, and Francesco Passaro are among the Italians competing at the Tennis Club Cagliari.
In France, World No. 17 Tommy Paul and Brandon Nakashima are the top two seeds, respectively. Alexander Bublik, Mikael Ymer, Adrian Mannarino, and David Goffin are also among the field. Home hopes and #NextGenATP stars Arthur Fils and Luca Van Assche will look to do damage at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole.
One blockbuster contest will happen in the opening round of the Aix-en-Provence Challenger: three-time major champion Murray and former World No. 6 Monfils.
All six of Murray and Monfils’ meetings have been at ATP Masters 1000 events or Grand Slams. In 2014, Murray survived a five-setter in the quarter-finals against the Frenchman at Roland Garros.
Now after they each received a wild card into Aix-en-Provence, Murray and Monfils will battle at the intimate Country Club Aixois for the first time since their meeting on the Parisian clay.
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Did You Know?
This season, the ATP Challenger Tour announced the all-new 175 events, which are played during the second week of select ATP Masters 1000 events. The Arizona Tennis Classic in March was the Challenger 175 event debut, which Portugal’s Nuno Borges won. Bordeaux, France and Turin, Italy will also host Challenger 175 tournaments later this month.
The Aix-en-Provence challenger 1r could pass for a 2013 Major semifinal…. pic.twitter.com/rWOp0i0mOJ
— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) May 1, 2023