ATP Moscow, ATP Antwerp Outright Tips: Van de Zandschulp a long-shot option in Antwerp

Scottish Tennis Player Andy Murray
Andy Murray is among those competing in quarter four at ATP Antwerp...

Following the drama of the Indian Wells Masters, the ATP Tour moves indoors with two 250 level events taking place in Antwerp and Moscow. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the week ahead...

"However, keep an eye out for the improving Botic van de Zandschulp, who has a great record indoors in Challenger events and is now picking up some good wins on the main tour."

Norrie claims Indian Wells title to move close to Race to Turin

In what has been an incredible couple of months for British Tennis, Cameron Norrie claimed last night's Indian Wells final with a comeback victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili, putting him now 10th on the calendar year rankings and just 190 points behind Rafa Nadal in the Race to Turin, which sees the top eight players in the calendar year meet for the season-ending ATP Tour Finals next month.

A good showing in the Paris Masters in several weeks will almost certainly guarantee Norrie one of those final eight spots, which would culminate in a stunning season for the Brit. With the top six in the calendar year rankings as good as guaranteed entry already, Norrie is competing with the likes of Casper Ruud, Rafa Nadal, Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz - who is newly into the top ten of the actual ATP rankings for the first time - for the final couple of berths.

The previously mentioned Sinner, as well as Andrey Rublev, head up this week's ATP events in Antwerp and Moscow, respectively, both from a seeding perspective plus also the market leader on the Exchange point of view. Events start in a couple of hours time, so let's run through each one briefly.

Rublev faces tricky tests as favourite in Moscow

In Moscow, Rublev leads the field in his home country, and there are two other Russians - Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev - also benefiting as seeds with first round byes. Filip Krajinovic rounds off those seeds. The last two years were won by home players, with Andrey Rublev taking the last competed event in 2019, and Khachanov triumphing in 2018 to end almost a decade without a home title for a Russian player here.

Tournament favourite Rublev has a tricky potential opening round two match with 2018 and 2019 runner-up Adrian Mannarino drawn to face him (assuming the Frenchman gets past Roman Safiullin in round one), while the improving Ilya Ivashka will be no pushover either in a potential quarter-final clash. With quarter two looking competitive also, it's far from a given Rublev will be able to defend his title.

The bottom half of the draw looks a little weaker, and in particular, Aslan Karatsev's quarter four. This year has been something of a breakthrough year for Karatsev, although he's been more inconsistent in the second half of the season. However, he's picked up some decent underdog wins of late against the likes of Hubert Hurkacz and Denis Shapovalov - and in a weaker field here compared to Indian Wells, should go well.

Sinner should progress in Antwerp

Over in Antwerp, Sinner leads the market at a current 4.2016/5, with the likes of Roberto Bautista-Agut, Diego Schwartzman and Reilly Opelka all fighting for second-favourite status. The former two of those three have first round byes, as does the clay-courter, Christian Garin - Opelka must do things the hard way with five matches on his schedule.

Sinner's first quarter looks straightforward, with a number of clay-courters and Challenger Tour players, and it would be a real surprise if the Italian didn't win his quarter. Opelka's status in the market is clearly influenced by being in Garin's third quarter, with the Chilean not expected to get through to the latter stages in conditions which won't be likely to suit him.

Van de Zandschulp one to watch

However, keep an eye out for the improving Botic van de Zandschulp, who has a great record indoors in Challenger events and is now picking up some good wins on the main tour.

The Exchange market is still forming but as big as 26.025/1 can be obtained via general market pricing, and that looks a generous line on a player on a nice upward curve who should enjoy conditions.

Finally, quarter four fascinates, with the likes of Alex De Minaur, Diego Schwartzman and let's not forget, Andy Murray, all potentially fancying their chances of getting to the semi-finals at least. This final bracket looks competitive and it will be particularly interesting to see how Murray fares in some of these lower level events towards the end of the season.

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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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