The Final ATP 250 Action of 2023: Metz and Sofia
The final ATP 250 action of the year is set to take place in Metz and Sofia, where a lineup of top stars will compete in a pair of indoor hard-court events. These tournaments promise to be thrilling showcases of talent and determination as players vie for a successful end to the year.
Five Things to Watch in Metz
- De Minaur Headlines Draw: Despite his Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes being dashed by a quarter-final defeat at the Rolex Paris Masters, Alex de Minaur aims to cap off a strong year with a deep run in Metz. The Australian, who secured the biggest title of his career in Acapulco in March, will face either Pierre-Hugues Herbert or #NextGenATP Arthur Cazaux, both of whom received wild cards.
- Humbert Leads Home Hopes: Alongside Herbert and Cazaux, five other Frenchmen will compete in the Metz field. Ugo Humbert, the fourth seed, is eager to secure his first match win at the event since 2018. Luca Van Assche, like his compatriot Cazaux, is in contention to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals and will make his main-draw debut against Botic van de Zandschulp.
- Khachanov, Bublik Seeded: Karen Khachanov, the Zhuhai winner, and Alexander Bublik, the Halle and Antwerp champion, are both seeded in Metz. Khachanov, seeded third, arrives fresh from a quarter-final run in Paris, while Bublik holds the fifth seed.
- Wawrinka, Thiem Eye Trophy: Former World No. 3s Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem are determined to reclaim their title-winning form in Metz. Wawrinka, who triumphed in Umag, and Thiem, a finalist in Kitzbühel, have both reached tour-level finals this year. The question remains: can either player go all the way this week in north-eastern France?
- Sonego Defends Crown: Lorenzo Sonego, the defending champion, aims to recapture his best form under the Metz roof. Last year, he stormed to his third ATP Tour crown without dropping a set all week. Although he holds a 6-5 record at indoor events this year, Sonego hopes that the fond memories of the Moselle Open will inspire him to another successful campaign.
Five Things to Watch in Sofia
- Musetti Top Seed: Lorenzo Musetti, the top seed in Sofia, has enjoyed a solid year, accumulating a 32-27 record and reaching at least the quarter-finals in nine ATP Tour events. The Italian aims to add a third ATP Tour trophy to his collection, building on his semi-final appearance in Sofia in 2022.
- Mannarino On The March: Adrian Mannarino has had a remarkable season, notching a personal-best 39 tour-level wins, including title runs in Newport and Astana. The 35-year-old Frenchman hopes to surpass the 40-win mark this week in Bulgaria, where he reached the semi-finals in 2020 before falling to eventual champion Jannik Sinner.
- Can Top 30 Stars Claim Late-Season Boost?: Jan-Lennard Struff, the third seed in Sofia, came agonizingly close to claiming his maiden ATP Tour title in Stuttgart in July. This is his final opportunity of the year to break his trophy drought. Meanwhile, Sebastian Baez, a four-time tour-level champion in 2023 after winning in Cordoba, Kitzbühel, and Winston-Salem, aims to make it five in Bulgaria.
- Former Champion Bautista Agut: After a three-month absence due to injury, Roberto Bautista Agut returned to ATP Tour action in Stockholm three weeks ago. The Spaniard, the only former champion in the Sofia field, claimed his fourth tour-level crown at this event in 2016.
- Gille/Vliegen Lead Doubles Field: Belgian duo Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, the top seeds in Sofia, are chasing their third ATP Tour title of the season. Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, the second seeds, narrowly missed out on a Nitto ATP Finals spot but have had a stellar year, lifting four ATP 250 titles together.
As the final ATP 250 events of 2023, the tournaments in Metz and Sofia promise to deliver thrilling matches and captivating storylines. Tennis fans around the world eagerly await the action as these top stars compete for glory on the indoor hard courts.