The Open Sud de France in Montpellier had moved to this city in 2010 when the organizers bought a license from Lyon, staging the event at the Arena with a capacity of 7,500. In the first seven editions (Montpellier stayed away from the calendar in 2011), the French players had much success, with three titles for Richard Gasquet and two for Gael Monfils who was also the first champion.
They were beaten in the finals six times as well, including 2017 when Alexander Zverev stole the show in front of Gasquet. In the previous two editions, the home players fought for the title, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the latest champion, beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert in a one-sided final.
Tsonga will not defend the title and some notable players were forced to withdraw before the event, led by Fabio Fognini, Stan Wawrinka, Andrey Rublev and Lucas Pouille. Still, there are still some excellent players in the draw, seeking the first title of the season, or the second in the case of Ugo Humbert.
The inaugural champion Gael Monfils asked of a wild card, heading the draw and facing Adrian Mannarino or Alexei Popyrin in the second round. Dennis Novak, Norbert Gombos and Pablo Carreno Busta are also in the top quarter, with Monfils as the favorite to score two wins and reach the semis.
Grigor Dimitrov also asked for a wild card after the third-round loss to Alexander Zverev in Melbourne, leading the second quarter and facing Joao Sousa, Gregoire Barrere, Filip Krajinovic and two young guns, Jannik Sinner and Mikael Ymer who will play in the first round.
Auckland champion Ugo Humbert plays versus Feliciano Lopez in the first round, joined by Vasek Pospisil, Denis Shapovalov and Aljaz Bedene in the third quarter, together with the three-time champion Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon who are scheduled to play each other at the beginning of the event.
In the bottom quarter, David Goffin and Felix Auger-Aliassime lead the action, hoping to reach the quarters against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Alexander Bublik and Henri Laaksonen.