The fourth edition of the Sofia Open will get underway on Monday, 4 – 10 February, with rising stars, Karen Khachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas leading an exciting draw as the first and second seeds, respectively in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The in-form Roberto Bautista-Agut and Russian sensation, Daniil Medvedev, as well as 3-time Grand Slam champion, Stan Wawrinka make up part of what is an attractive stage in the Balkan city this week.
Fresh off impressive showings at the Australian Open in Melbourne a fortnight ago, some of the players will go in search of their first title of the 2019 season when they take to court at the Arena Armeec Sofia from Monday.
Khachanov, who’s seeded No.1 for this event, will open his account in the second round, having received a first round bye. The Russian will face either Denis Istomin or Matteo Berrettini, an encounter in which he will fancy his chances of going through. The 22-year-old reigning Paris Masters champion made a run to the third round of the Australian Open and will now seek to build on that. However, he faces a difficult task in his bid to do that in Sofia, with the dangerous Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco and Stan Wawrinka stationed in his quarter.
Verdasco and Wawrinka could set up a mouthwatering encounter in the second round, provided the Spaniard gets the better of a qualifier in the opening round and Wawrinka defeats Marius Copil, who was a runner-up at the event in 2018.
Second seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas lies in the bottom half of the draw and also has a first round bye. The 20-year-old Greek, who made a stunning run to the semifinals at the Australian Open, with victories over defeated Roger Federer and Bautista-Agut, is a favourite for the title.
The Greek will face either Jan Lennard Struff or a qualifier in his opening match and should he avoid any slip up in the early rounds, could go on to face third seed, Daniil Medvedev in what will be a blockbuster semifinal showdown.
Russia’s Medvedev is seeking his fourth ATP Tour title and has had a commendable start to the season, reaching the final of the Brisbane International earlier in January and the fourth round at the Australian Open, where he understandbly fell to Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Medvedev, like Tsitsipas, has got a first round bye and will kick-start his campaign in the second round against the winner of Robin Haase and wildcard Dimitar Kuzmanov. Defending champion Mirza Basic, fifth seed, Nikoloz Basilashvili, and enigmatic Slovakian, Martin Klizan are all possible quarterfinal opponents.
Elsewhere, Roberto Bautista-Agut, who is seeded fourth and who has had a remarkable start to the year, finds himself in the second quarter of the draw as he seeks to keep up his impressive start to the season.
Bautista-Agut, a champion in 2016, clinched the Doha title in January, where he notably beat Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka en route to victory, and then backed that up with a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open, is also in the running for the Sofia title.
The Spaniard is with a first round bye and will face either Matthew Ebden or wildcard Adrian Andreev in the second round. Italian veteran, Andreas Seppi, who had a terrific run to the final of the Sydney International in January, could be a potential quarterfinal opponent for Bautista-Agut, while Wawrinka, Verdasco, or Khachanov loom in the semifinals.
The Sofia Open is live from Sofia, Bulgaria from February 4-10.