Halle Open 2019: Men's singles draw analysis
The first significant grasscourt tournament of the season in Stuttgart, Germany came to an end with the Italian Matteo Berrettini defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 and thereby winning his second title of the year.
Let's have a look at the draw.
Federer, who has won the tournament a staggering nine times, lost in the final last year to Coric. The threat of the Croat is present for Federer this year as well.
In the first round, the Swiss will be facing the John Millman, whom he lost to in the fourth round of the US Open last year. Considering Federer's form heading into the grasscourt season this year though, he should surpass the challenge of the Australian this time around.
Federer could face the winner of the battle between two Frenchmen Benoit Paire and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the quarter-finals. If all goes to plan for the Swiss Maestro, he might possibly face yet another stiff challenge in the form of Roberto Bautista Agut, who would have to battle past Taylor Fritz and Richard Gasquet to reach the quarters.
Even though Bautista Agut is not a great grasscourt campaigner, his ability to keep getting the ball back consistently could create problems for any player.
In the bottom section of the top half, there is a possibility of a quarter-final showdown between Gael Monfils and Borna Coric. But for this encounter to happen, Monfils would have to defeat players like Pierre Hugues Herbert and Hubert Hurkacz.
While the top half seems to be filled with some experienced campaigners, it's a different story in the bottom half where there are less accomplished players.
Guido Pella, who is seeded 8th in the tournament, will play his first-round match against the Belgian David Goffin. Karen Khachanov, who has been in and out of form in recent times, is seeded 3rd in the tournament and he will face Damir Dzhumur in the first round.
Alexander Zverev could face his compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round and possibly Goffin in the quarters.
Another German, Jan-Lennard Struff who lost to Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open, will open his campaign against Laslo Djere of Serbia. Struff has shown a lot of improvement this year, and Halle provides another chance for the tall German to prove his mettle.
Projected quarterfinal match-ups
1) Roger Federer vs Roberto Bautista Agut
2) Gael Monfils vs Borna Coric
3) Jan-Lennard Struff vs Matteo Berrettini
4) Alexander Zverev vs David Goffin
With the exception of a few German players, the clear crowd favorite would be Federer who is on a pursuit for a 10th Halle title. The Swiss would also be looking to improve his confidence before the Championships at Wimbledon next month.
Will the Swiss Maestro regain his title, or will there be a new and a young champion just like we had last year?