After a week of exhilarating battles in Spain and Serbia, the clay swing heads to Munich in Germany, where the BMW Open is scheduled to begin on 26 April.
The BMW Open is an ATP 250 event, with a field of 28 players and a total financial commitment of 481,270 euros. The German claycourt event returns to the tour for the first time since 2019, as the 2020 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two-time champion and home favorite Alexander Zverev headlines the draw this year. Zverev will be hoping to bounce back from his disappointing Monte Carlo campaign, which saw him lose to David Goffin in the third round.
Casper Ruud is the second seed at Munich, while Aslan Karatsev is the third seed. Filip Krajinovic, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Dusan Lajovic, Jan-Lennard Struff and John Millman complete the top eight seeds.
The top four seeds have received a bye at the BMW Open. Without further ado, let us look at how the draw is expected to unfold:
Top half: Alexander Zverev looking to win his 3rd Munich title
Seeded Players:  Alexander Zverev,  Filip Krajinovic,  Dusan Lajovic and  Jan-Lennard Struff
Expected semifinal: Alexander Zverev vs Filip Krajinovic
Dark horse: Dominik Koepfer
Analysis: While Alexander Zverev hasn’t been too consistent in 2021, he still enters the BMW Open as the firm favorite. By virtue of his seeding, Zverev has secured a bye in the first round.
The German won the title here in both 2017 and 2018. In 2019, he lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Cristian Garin.
Zverev’s second-round opponent this time will be either Maximilian Marterer or a qualifier. Marterer is yet to play a main draw match on the ATP tour this year.
World No. 74 Emil Ruusuvuori, meanwhile, opens his campaign against World No. 85 Kwon Soon-woo. Ruusuvuori has had a decent year so far, with eight wins under his belt already.
The Finn made the Round of 16 at the Miami Masters, beating Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev along the way.
Kwon on his part made it to the quarterfinals of the Andalucia Open, beating Holger Rune on the way. The Korean then took part in the Serbia Open, where Novak Djokovic ousted him in the second round.
The winner of the Ruusuvuori vs Kwon fixture will take on either Dusan Lajovic or a qualifier in the second round. Lajovic, despite being an accomplished claycourter, has endured a miserable start to his 2021 clay season; he was ousted in the first round of both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Serbia Open.
But the Serb has troubled Zverev on clay in the past, having taken the German to five sets at the French Open twice. If Lajovic makes it to the quarterfinals here in Munich, he could be a potential threat to Zverev's title ambitions.
Filip Krajinovic has been drawn to face either Taro Daniel or Yannick Hanfmann in the second round. The Serb has received a bye in his first round.
Hanfmann is a player to watch out for, given that he’s playing in his hometown. The German is also a fairly strong claycourter and comes into this event on the back of some decent results on the surface this year; he made the quarterfinals of the Sardegna Open.
Three-time champion Philipp Kohlschreiber opens his BMW Open campaign against compatriot Dominik Koepfer. Kohlschreiber, 37, last played at the French Open in 2020, and has lost all of his previous four main draw matches on tour.
But the German can still be a handful for many players on clay, and is likely to offer stiff resistance to Dominik Koepfer - who recently made the semifinals of the Acapulco Open.
The winner of that tussle will lock horns with either Jan-Lennard Struff or a qualifier in the second round.
Struff has had a poor season so far, with nine defeats to his name already. He did make it to the quarterfinals of the Sardegna Open, but then lost in the first round at Monte Carlo (to Grigor Dimitrov).
Bottom half: Casper Ruud and Aslan Karatsev look to make their presence felt in Munich
Seeded Players:  Casper Ruud,  Aslan Karatsev,  Nikoloz Basilashvili and  John Millman
Expected semifinal: Casper Ruud vs Aslan Karatsev
Dark horse: Egor Gerasimov
Analysis: Fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili begins his 2021 BMW Open campaign against Thiago Monteiro. Basilashvili can certainly play on clay, as evidenced by the fact that he has two ATP titles on the surface - both of which came in Germany (Hamburg 2018 and 2019).
But the Georgian will be wary of Monteiro, who has beaten him on clay before (at the 2020 French Open).
The winner of the Basilashvili vs Monteiro encounter has been drawn to face either Stefano Travaglia or Sebastian Korda in the second round. Korda recently made it to the quarterfinals of the Miami Masters, but is still largely an unproven entity on clay.
Federico Coria, meanwhile, opens his account against a qualifier in the first round. If he survives that, he will cross swords with Aslan Karatsev.
Karatsev has begun his clay season fairly well. He defeated Lorenzo Musetti at Monte Carlo before going down to the most in-form player on tour right now, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Russian is into the semifinals of the Serbia Open as of the time of writing, where he will take on Novak Djokovic.
John Millman, meanwhile, has been drawn against countryman Alexei Popyrin in the first round. Millman holds a 2-0 head-to-head record against Popyrin, and has even defeated the latter on clay at the Challenger level.
The winner of that match will take on either Guido Pella or Egor Gerasimov. Even though Pella has a good record on clay and at the tournament (runner-up in 2017), his current form leaves a lot to be desired.
The Argentine lost in the first round of the Sardegna Open, the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open, looking completely out of sorts. Interestingly, Pella faced Gerasimov in the first round at the Sardegna Open as well, where he suffered a 6-4, 6-0 defeat.
Veteran Pablo Cuevas will lock horns with Tennys Sandgren in the first round. The winner of that match has been drawn to face second seed Casper Ruud in the second round.
Ruud has been in fine form lately, having made the quarterfinals of the Andalucia Open and the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters. The Norwegian is, by all accounts, one of the players to beat at the BMW Open.
Alexander Zverev vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Aslan Karatsev vs Casper Ruud
Alexander Zverev vs Casper Ruud