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Week ahead: Medvedev and Alcaraz involved in busy seven days

It is set to be another busy week on both the ATP and WTA Tours as the spring hardcourt season commences and more players take to the clay courts for the first time this season.

The most notable claycourt action this week will be at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, while Doha plays host to the ATP Doha following Iga Swiatek's title triumph in the women's equivalent event on Sunday.

The ATP Marseille, otherwise known as the Open 13, also starts on the indoor hard courts on Monday, while the likes of Magda Linette and Sloane Stephens take to the courts in Mexico for the WTA Merida.

Baez part of strong Argentinian contingent in Rio

WhatATP Rio De Janeiro
WhereJockey Club Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
WhenMonday 20th February - Sunday 26th February
How to watchAmazon Prime

Last year's ATP Rio De Janeiro was won by Carlos Alcaraz and the Spanish starlet is set to return to defend his title on the clay courts of Brazil.

The involvement of top two seeds Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie is not entirely guaranteed with the pair squaring off in the final of the ATP Buenos Aires on Sunday, but if they do feature, they could both go deep again.

Alcaraz defeated Argentinian Diego Schwartzmann in the final of last year's event and the latter is also set to feature once again as the tournament's fifth seed, with Lorenzo Musetti and Francisco Cerundolo among the others to keep an eye on.

Sebastian Baez is one of a number of Argentinians set to play at the Jockey Club Brasileiro and, although he faltered in Buenos Aires, he recently won the Cordoba Open on clay.

Baez has a soft start to the draw with wildcard entry Thomas Bellucci awaiting him in the first round and either Juan Pablo Varillas or a qualifier set to face him in the second.

Rublev and Auger-Aliassime out to impress in Doha

WhatATP Doha
WhereKhalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex
WhenMonday 20th February - Sunday 26th February
How to watchAmazon Prime

Daniil Medvedev ranks among the favourites to win the ATP Doha this week, but the 27-year-old also made it to the final of the ATP Rotterdam on Sunday and may not be at his sharpest if he ventures to Qatar.

It was Roberto Bautista Agut who rose to the top in Doha in 2022 and the Spaniard is involved again as fifth seed this year.

It is, however, Andrey Rublev who will be attracting the most attention in Qatar as the tournament's top seed. 

Rublev failed to make an impact in Rotterdam, but it is hard to ignore his performance in the first Grand Slam of the year as he made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

That campaign featured wins over Dominic Thiem, Dan Evans and Holger Rune before he ran into Melbourne master Novak Djokovic and Rublev has a decent shot at glory in Doha.

Others to monitor are second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who showed his class on the hardcourts last October when winning the Firenze Open and the European Open back-to-back, as well as German Alexander Zverev, who is trying to find his way back to form on the ATP tour.

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Cressy a decent prospect in Marseille

WhatATP Marseille
WhereMarseille Sports Palace
WhenMonday 20th February - Sunday 26th February
How to watchAmazon Prime

The European circuit continues on Monday with the start of the ATP Marseille and Hubert Hurkacz has been installed as the event's top seed following the withdrawal of teenage sensation Holger Rune due to injury.

Italian Jannik Sinner is seeded second following his involvement in the final of the ATP Rotterdam on Sunday, while Alex de Minaur and Grigor Dimitrov are among the other big-hitters in action.

Rublev won the ATP Marseille back in 2022, but has opted to take to the courts in Qatar this week and this year's title could be anyone's for the taking.

One player to keep tabs on is American Maxime Cressy, who has steered clear of Hurkacz and Dimitrov in the bottom half of the draw and opens against wildcard Geoffrey Blancaneaux.

Cressy was dumped out of the Australian Open in the second round last month, but impressed on the hard courts at the ATP Montpellier, finishing as runner-up to Sinner.

Open tournament expected in Merida

WhatWTA Merida
WhereMerida, Yucatan, Mexico
WhenMonday 20th February - Sunday 26th February
How to watchAmazon Prime

Aside from the WTA Dubai, which also takes place this week, there is also women's singles action in Mexico with the start of the inaugural edition of the WTA Merida.

The WTA 250 event does not feature the most star-studded line-up ,but that makes for an open and intriguing tournament.

Pole Linette takes top seed ahead of American Stephens, while Zhu Lin, who recently won the Hua Hin Championships, is also involved, along with Katerina Siniakova.

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