A manic February on the ATP Tour will be rounded off with another three-tournament week. Novak Djokovic headlines the field at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, while Carlos Alcaraz is the top seed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. Both are ATP 500 hard-court events.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch at each event.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ACAPULCO
1) Alcaraz Headlines Field: Alcaraz will lead the field as the top seed when he makes his second appearance in Acapulco. The Spaniard, who lost in the first round on debut in 2021, has found his best level since returning to Tour from injury earlier this month. He won his seventh tour-level title in Buenos Aires and is into the final in Rio de Janeiro.
2) Ruud & Rune In Action: Casper Ruud and Holger Rune arrive in Acapulco aiming to clinch their first title of the season. The Norwegian Ruud is competing for the first time since he lost in the second round at the Australian Open. Making his second appearance at the hard-court event, the second seed will open against a qualifier. Rune, who is making his debut, holds an 8-4 record on the season, with his best result a run to the semi-finals in Montpellier.
3) Fired-Up Fritz: Taylor Fritz will compete in the ATP 500 event at a career-high World No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 25-year-old captured his first title of the season in Delray Beach earlier this month. Fritz, who reached the final in Acapulco in 2020, Monday will be the first American to be ranked inside the Top 5 since Andy Roddick in September 2009.
4) Seeded Threats: Cameron Norrie, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Matteo Berrettini all compete in a strong field in Mexico. Norrie reached the final last year, while Tommy Paul has started the season impressively, advancing to the semi-finals at the Australian Open. Making his fifth appearance at the event, Tiafoe will try to advance past the second round for the first time. Berrettini competes for the first time since he lost to Andy Murray in Melbourne last month.
5) Koolhof/Skupski Lead The Way: Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are the top seeds in the doubles draw in Acapulco, where they will try to claim their first title of the season. Ruud is competing in the field with American William Blumberg and Berrettini will partner brother Jacopo Berrettini.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN DUBAI
1) Djokovic Returns: Djokovic returns to action for the first time since January, when he won his 10th Australian Open crown and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title. The Serbian, who holds a 12-0 record on the season, has fond memories of Dubai, lifting the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2020.
2) Defending Champion Rublev: Andrey Rublev soared to success in Dubai last year, defeating Jiri Vesely in the final to clinch what was his 10th ATP Tour title. The 25-year-old will attempt to rediscover his best form at the ATP 250 this week after suffering a quarter-final defeat against Jiri Lehecka in Doha.
3) Daniil & Felix Target Success: Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime faced off in the Doha semi-finals last week, with Medvedev prevailing en route to the title. Making his third appearance in Dubai, Medvedev is chasing his third tour-level title of the season after also winning in Rotterdam earlier this month.
4) Wild Card Murray: Andy Murray has not made life easy for himself in 2023, earning six deciding-set wins this year. The Scot arrives at the hard-court tournament off the back of a run to the final in Doha, where he defeated Alexander Zverev and in-form Czech Jiri Lehecka. The former World No. 1 triumphed in Dubai in 2017.
5) Turin Competitors In Dubai: In the doubles draw, three teams that competed in last year’s Nitto ATP Finals will be in action. Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic are the top seeds, Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek are seeded second and Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliovaara are the third seed. The fourth seeds, Hugo Nys/Jan Zielinski, reached the final of this year’s Australian Open.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN SANTIAGO
1) Musetti Top Seed: Italian Musetti will be seeking his third tour-level title when he makes his debut at the Movistar Chile Open. The 20-year-old made a quick start to his season at the United Cup, where he earned four wins for Team Italy. The Santiago top seed will play Jaume Munar or Alejandro Tabilo in the second round.
2) Can Schwartzman Find Form? Diego Schwartzman arrives in Santiago bidding to snap a four-match losing streak. The Argentine, who is making his debut, has produced his best tennis on clay, winning three of his four tour-level crowns on the surface. The fourth seed will open against Rio de Janeiro semi-finalist Nicolas Jarry or Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.
3) Baez & Cerundolo In Action: Sebastian Baez has enjoyed a standout February, winning his second tour-level title in Cordoba before he advanced to the quarter-finals in Rio de Janeiro. The 22-year-old performed well in Santiago last year, reaching the final. In contrast, Francisco Cerundolo has had a steady start to the season, advancing to the quarter-finals in Cordoba and Buenos Aires. He will begin his Santiago campaign against Fabio Fognini or Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
4) Garin & Thiem Receive Wild Cards: Home favourite Cristian Garin and former World No. 3 Thiem have both received wild cards. Chilean Garin captured the title in Santiago in 2021, while Thiem is making his debut.
5) Gonzalez/Molteni Seek More Glory: Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni are on a roll, having lifted the trophy in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro. Will they add another to their collection in Santiago? The Argentines are the top seeds in Chile.