The 2022 Barcelona Open, to be held from April 18-24, is one of four tournaments happening simultaneously in a busy week of tennis. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic headlines the Serbia Open, while the WTA stars are spread across Stuttgart and Istanbul.
The 69th edition of the Barcelona Open is without its marquee player, 12-time champion Rafael Nadal, who is on the sidelines due to an injury. Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz, who reached the quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo, withdrew from the tournament. Denis Shapovalov is set to skip it as well.
In a testament to ATP's star power, the tournament still has a quality draw, led by World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas as the top seed. The Greek will be joined by three of his fellow top-10 players, Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie, who round out the top four seeds.
Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz is also present, along with plenty of other top-30 players, including Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov, Frances Tiafoe and Alex de Minaur. With plenty of exciting matchups set to happen over the next week, here's an in-depth look at how the draw might unfold.
First quarter: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz on course for quarter-final showdown
Seeded players: (1) Stefanos Tsitsipas, (5) Carlos Alcaraz, (9) Nikoloz Basilashvili and (14) Grigor Dimitrov.
Expected quarterfinal: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Carlos Alcaraz.
Dark horse: Pedro Martinez.
Analysis: Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has been a runner-up twice at the Barcelona Open so far. Rafael Nadal stopped him from winning the title on both occasions, but with the Spaniard out of the picture, this could be his time to shine.
The World No. 5 is currently competing in the Monte-Carlo Masters, where he has reached the semifinals.
Tsitsipas, along with all seeded players, have received a bye into the second round in Barcelona. He's likely to kick off his campaign against Pedro Martinez. The Spaniard won a title on clay at the Chile Open this year and is quite at home on the surface.
Tsitsipas could face 14th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. The Bulgarian is currently a semifinalist in Monte-Carlo and could go further if he wins his next match. Should the young Greek defeat Dimitrov, he'll reach the quarterfinals.
Teen phenom Carlos Alcaraz is also in this section. After a strong start to the season that culminated in his first Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open, the youngster was knocked out in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters.
Alcaraz will be eager to put that disappointing loss behind him and perform well in front of his home crowd. With Benoit Paire and Nikoloz Basilashvili his likely opponents, his path to the quarterfinals seems relatively easy. The teenager could meet Tsitsipas in the last eight.
Alcaraz has already defeated Tsitsipas twice so far, with their most recent meeting taking place at the Miami Open last month. If they do meet in the quarterfinals, it'll be yet another chapter in a budding rivalry.
Quarterfinal prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Carlos Alcaraz.
Second Quarter: Cameron Norrie looks to get his clay season back on track at Barcelona Open
Seeded players: (4) Cameron Norrie, (10) Alex de Minaur and (15) Federico Delbonis, (17) Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Expected quarterfinal: Cameron Norrie vs Alex de Minaur
Dark horse: Lloyd Harris
Analysis: After two months of posting consistent results, Cameron Norrie lost in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters. The Brit will face either Adrian Mannarino or a qualifier in the second round.
Should Norrie manage to get past the second round, he could have an easier time in the third round. None of his potential opponents - Jordan Thompson, Marton Fucsovics and Federico Delbonis - have been at their best this season. They are unlikely to stop the Brit from reaching the quarterfinals.
Alex de Minaur and Albert Ramos-Vinolas are also in this section. The Spaniard, who won his fourth career title at the Cordoba Open earlier this year, will start off against either Lloyd Harris or Roberto Carballes Baena.
De Minaur, meanwhile, could face Pablo Andujar in the second round. The Spaniard is pretty good on clay, and upset Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem on the surface last year.
De Minaur and Ramos-Vinolas could collide in the third round, with the Spaniard being favored to win. He could then meet Norrie in the quarterfinals.
Ramos-Vinolas knocked the Brit out of the Monte-Carlo Masters this week. He has also won their three previous matches on clay.
Quarterfinal prediction: Albert Ramos-Vinolas def. Cameron Norrie
Third Quarter: Struggling Felix Auger-Aliassime handed a tough draw at the Barcelona Open
Seeded players: (3) Felix Auger-Aliassime, (6) Diego Schwartzman, (12) Dan Evans and (13) Frances Tiafoe.
Expected quarterfinal: Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Diego Schwartzman.
Dark horse: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Analysis: Felix Auger-Aliassime made a solid start to the year, but has struggled to post wins in recent weeks.
Since losing to Andrey Rublev in the final of the Marseille Open in February, Auger-Aliassime's only win has been over a player ranked outside the top 400. It's safe to say he's going through a rough patch, and has now been handed a tough draw at the Barcelona Open as well.
Auger-Aliassime could meet Sebastian Korda in the second round. The American defeated the in-form Alcaraz in Monte Carlo. The winner could meet either Frances Tiafoe or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round.
Davidovich Fokina upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 2022 Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz in Monte-Carlo to reach his maiden semifinal at the Masters 1000 level.
Diego Schwartzman is also in the third quarter. With a couple of finals on clay this year and a quarter-final showing in Monte Carlo, the Argentine is a serious threat. The Argentine could face either Lorenzo Musetti or Dan Evans in the third round, but should be able to get past them to reach the last eight.
Quarterfinal prediction: Diego Schwartzman def. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Fourth Quarter: Casper Ruud sets sights on another clay titleCasper Ruud
Seeded players: (2) Casper Ruud, (8) Pablo Carreno Busta, (11) Lorenzo Sonego and (16) Alexander Bublik.
Expected quarterfinal: Casper Ruud vs Pablo Carreno Busta.
Dark horse: Feliciano Lopez.
Analysis: With six titles on clay, Casper Ruud has become one of the leading claycourt players of his generation. While he did lose to Grigor Dimitrov in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Masters, it's unlikely he'll suffer two early defeats in a row on his favored surface.
Ruud's path to the quarterfinals is quite easy. He could start against Brandon Nakashima in the second round and meet Alexander Bublik after that.
Bublik's disdain for clay is well known and he retired due to an injury in Monte Carlo as well. He will have to face either Feliciano Lopez or Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round. Lopez's recent results have been quite dismal, but the veteran can still spring a surprise from time to time.
Pablo Carreno Busta and Lorenzo Sonego are the other seeded players in this section.
Quarterfinal prediction: Casper Ruud def. Pablo Carreno Busta.
Prediction for semifinals
Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Casper Ruud def. Diego Schwartzman.
Prediction for the final: Casper Ruud vs Stefanos Tsitsipas.