The 22nd edition of the ATP 250 tournament in St. Petersburg is going to be held next week at the Sibur Arena, and the organizers failed to repeat the quality of the last year's field when they had 3 Top 10 players battling for the title. Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, who played in the final 12 months ago, are both absent, and there are only 3 Top 30 competitors in the chase for the title (no young stars Andrey Rublev or Karen Khachanov as well).
Yevgeny Kafelnikov was the first winner before Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny followed his steps to lift the trophy at home. Besides them, Thomas Johansson won the event twice, so as Andy Murray in 2007 and 2008. Gustavo Kuerten, Richard Krajicek, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic are also on the role of honor list.
Roberto Bautista Agut is the top seeds and the organizers did their best to gather another Top 20 star, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who opted to come here instead of playing at home in Metz. It has to be said that many of the players in the draw are playing in the Davis Cup this weekend, on different surfaces and far from here, and some surprising results will not be that strange.
Viktor Troicki, Andrey Kuznetsov, Dusan Lajovic, Guido Pella and Jiri Vesely stand between Bautista Agut and the place in the semis, and the Spaniard should reach the last 4 if he brings his best tennis.
2012 finalist Fabio Fognini and Philipp Kohlschreiber are the leaders of the second quarter, with Mikhail Youzhny, Ricardas Berankis and young Russian with a wild card, Evgeny Tyurnev, trying to spoil their party and reach the semi-final berth.
Paolo Lorenzi, who had a great run in New York, and Adrian Mannarino are the seeds in the third quarter, and their rivals will be Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, Marcos Baghdatis, 2009 finalist Horacio Zeballos and two qualifiers, in what looks like a wide open part of the draw.
The bottom quarter is packed with good players and it will be interesting to see who will emerge as a winner and advance to the semis. In one of the best matches of the first round, the 8th seed Jan-Lennard Struff will take upon Borna Coric, and the winner will face Daniil Medvedev or Thomas Fabbiano in the second round.
Evgeny Donskoy plays against Joao Sousa, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga waiting in the next round. Full draw: