The Millennium Estoril Open starts on Saturday, 27th of April and it will last until the 5th of May. The winner of last year's edition was the home player, João Sousa, but he has a lot of hard work to do if he wants to defend the title. Let's gather all the information.
This edition's entry list is very strong with two top-10 and four top-20 players. Kevin Anderson is the highest ranked player with the name on the list, followed by Stefanos Tsitsipas. The ATP ranked seventh and tenth - at the time the entry list was announced, because today Tsitsipas is ranked eighth - have the company of Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils. The Italian is currently ranked 18th and the Frenchman is ranked 19th, although the first one is going to climb at least to the 15th spot due to his presence in Monte Carlo Rolex Masters final.
If the first four players of the entry list were already heating the things up, the other names are very good too. The young generation has already proved to enjoy the sun of Estoril, as every year many ATP NextGen players enlist to the tournament. Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe show up in fifth and sixth on the entry list for the Portuguese tournament. Both players have been in Portugal in the last edition, being the North-American the finalist. De Minaur lost in the second round. Cameron Norrie, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Mackenzie Mcdonald, Jaume Munar, and Yoshihito Nishioka are the other younger players who'll be fighting for the title.
The defending champion, João Sousa, also shows on the list, as Dusan Lajovic - who'll try to conquer the title in Monaco against Fognini, this Sunday - is also going to try hard to do his best in the clay courts of Estoril Tennis Club.
Other names like John Millman, Jérémy Chardy, Mikhail Kukushkin, Malek Jaziri, and Leonardo Mayer are also set to play the ATP Tour 250 tournament.
The first announced wildcard for the main draw was delivered to Pedro Sousa, the second best Portuguese on ATP who pushed the other Sousa to a tight three-set battle in the second round, last year.
The second player who was given a wild card to the main draw is the 2017 champion, Pablo Carreno Busta. The Spanish player has not been playing many matches this season. In spite of reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open, losing to Kei Nishikori in a five-set thriller, he retired from the first match at the Cordoba Open, at the beginning of February and has not played since then.
Tough qualifying with dangerous players
The players who will feature the qualifying draw is already known too. Pablo Andujar is the first name, followed by Hugo Dellien, Bernard Tomic and Pablo Cuevas. Four dangerous players, who have proved they can be very good on clay.
Guido Andreozzi, Daniel Evans, Bradley Klahn, Filip Krajinovic, Roberto Carballes Baena, Elias Ymer, Alexei Popyrin, Jozef Kovalik, Bjorn Fratangelo and Egor Gerasimov also appear in the qualifying entry list.
Note that Simone Bolelli and Carlos Berlocq appear as alternates. Two strong players who are not very well-ranked at the moment. Berlocq is the last champion of the previous ATP Tour 250 tournament held in Portugal, in 2014.
To reflect on the field
One thing to note is the lack of Spanish players in both lists. The Portuguese tournament usually has a lot of players from the neighboring country, but, in this edition, just Munar is enlisted in the main draw and Andujar and Carballes Baena in the qualifying. Never forgetting the wildcard Carreno Busta. Last year, there were four Spaniards in the main draw, five after the qualification of Ricardo Ojeda Lara, and two in the qualifying, Munar and Ojeda Lara. Overall there were six Spanish players and in this edition, there are only three enlisted, half of it, and one wildcard.
This doesn't mean we don't have a lot of good matches. The Spanish players are known to play very well on clay, but players like Anderson, Tiafoe, Tsitsipas have been showing their value on this surface. Fognini is facing Lajovic for the Monegasque title and that is a good indicator for the Millennium Estoril Open.
The tickets are almost sold out, there are just 4 out of 12 sessions with tickets available.
Stay tuned to know more about the tournament.