The 27th edition of the Noventi Open in Halle kicks off on Monday and it brings a great field of players despite the withdrawal of Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori! Established in 1993, Halle had steadily built the reputation to become one of the most significant events on the grass together with Wimbledon and Queen's, upgrading to the ATP 500 level in 2015.
As always in the last 15 years or so, Roger Federer is the player to beat at the site where one street carries his name, leading the draw as the top seed and seeking the tenth Halle crown, also the fifth in the last seven years after losing to Borna Coric in the final last year.
Competing for the first time since Roland Garros where he reached the semis, Roger seeks the 64th win in Halle against John Millman before another challenging clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Benoit Paire who pushed Roger to the limits here a year ago.
Richard Gasquet is still active in s-Hertogenbosch and has to play against Peter Gojowczyk in the opening round in Halle, with the winner of that one to battle versus Taylor Fritz or Roberto Bautista Agut. The defending champion and the 4th seed Borna Coric (like Gasquet, he is still in the Netherlands) starts the campaign against Jaume Munar, with Hubert Hurkacz, the promising youngster Rudolf Molleker, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Gael Monfils also seeking the semi-final spot from the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Matteo Berrettini, Jan-Lennard Struff, Laslo Djere, Damir Dzumhur and Karen Khachanov will produce the semi-finalist and the Italian Berrettini looks like a safe bet at the moment, especially if he repeats what we have seen from him this week in Stuttgart.
After an early exit in Stuttgart, the 2nd seed and two-time finalist Alexander Zverev wants to go deeper in Halle, facing Robin Haase, a former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber, Steve Johnson, Matthew Ebden, Guido Pella and David Goffin in the bottom quarter.