Croatian Ivo Karlovich Ecuador Open Favourite
On ATP rankings alone, Ivo Karlovich has to be regarded as the current favourite for the Ecuador Open, due to start on February 04. At 37, the Croatian is also the oldest player in the Top 200, so his ranking at Number 20 is an indication of just how good a player he is. His last tournament win was the 2015 Topshelf Open in the Netherlands, and that year he also beat Novak Djokovic in Doha and San Wawrinka in Basel.
Last year, he was a member of the Croatian team that finished runners-up to Argentina in the Davis Cup final. In Quito, Karlovich’s most dangerous competition will most likely come from Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, with a current ATP ranking of 27th. Fernando Verdasco, ranked 42nd, is another Spaniard who should provide some tennis thrills.
Cilic Tops Sud de France Open Rankings
The Sud de France Open starts a day after the Quito tournament in Montpellier. The home-crowd favourite is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, currently 12th on the ATP ladder, but his countryman, Richard Gasquet, is only six places behind him at 18th, and Gasquet has won the Sud de France Open three times. That includes last year, so the defending champion has all the motivation he needs.
But it is another Croatian, 28-year-old Marin Cilic, who has to be the tournament favourite. The 2014 US Open winner claimed his first Masters title in Cincinnati last year against Andy Murray in straight sets, and later beat Djokovic for the first time to get to the semi-finals of the 2016 Paris Masters. He is currently at Number 6 on the ATP rankings.
Strong Field for Sofia Open
The Garanti Koza Sofia Open, like the Montpellier tournament, runs from February 05 to 12, and has the most impressive field of the three in terms of ATP rankings. Of the 21 players in the main draw, 11 are in the Top 50, four in the Top 20 and three in the Top 15. Our favourite for the championship, 23-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem, is the only Top 10 player, ranked 8th. His career highlight to date has been making the semis in the 2016 French Open.
But Thiem will face challenges from the returning Sofia champion, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, and rising Belgian star David Goffin. Goffin is at Number 11, and Agut at Number 14, on the ATP ladder.
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