The final tuneup week for a Grand Slam features mid-level players – plus a top-ranked player or two who felt they didn’t get enough matches during the bigger events earlier in the spring.
That was the case last week with Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, among others.
Zverev definitely got the matches he needed, although he had to expend a lot of energy doing it. On the plus side, he got a Tuesday start in Paris.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime passed his pal Denis Shapovalov to take over the No. 2 spot on Canada’s list.
A year ago, entering the French Open qualifying, he was at No. 177.
But Auger-Aliassime paid the price. He reached the Lyon final. But he suffered a Grade 1 tear in his adductor and was forced to pull out of the French Open on Monday.
ON THE UPSWING
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO): No. 18 ===========> No. 16 (The Georgian fell to Auger-Aliassime in the Lyon semifinals, but reached a new high in the singles rankings. Unfortunately, he was upset in the first round in Paris).
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 28 ===========> No. 22 (Another career high for the Canadian teenager after the Lyon final. But he’s missing the French).
Benoit Paire (FRA): No. 51 ===========> No. 38 (Paire is back in the top 40 after winning the Lyon event. And he backed it up in the first round in Paris with a four-set win over Marius Copiil – losing just one game in the final two sets).
Radu Albot (MDA): No. 45 ===========> No. 40 (The 29-year-old from Moldova reaches the top 40 with his semifinal effort in Geneva).
Taylor Fritz (USA): No. 46 ===========> No. 42 (Overall, it’s been a successful – and full – clay-court season for the American, who is one spot off a career high reached after this year’s Australian Open and gets Bernard Tomic in the first round in Paris).
Nicolas Jarry (CHI): No. 75 ===========> No. 58 (Jarry reached the final in Geneva, losing to Alexander Zverev in a third-set tiebreak).
Federico Delbonis (ARG): No. 84===========> No. 75
Hugo Dellien (BOL): No. 92 ===========> No. 86
Brayden Schnur (CAN): No. 112 ===========> No. 106 (The Canadian is back on the winning track and ties his career high after a semifinal effort at the new Challenger in Jerusalem).
Jannik Sinner (ITA): No. 229 ===========> No. 215 (The 17-year-old Italian continues to rise after qualifying in Lyon. Ironically (and this happens more often, statistically, than it should), he lost in the first round to Tristan Lamasine, the player he beat in the final round of qualies).
Steven Diez (CAN): No. 262 ===========> No. 240 (The Spana-Canadian rises with a qualification in Lyon and a first-round win over Bernard Tomic – only the second ATP Tour level win of his career. He took Tsonga to three sets before falling in the second round).
Filip Peliwo (CAN): No. 302===========> No. 267 (A much needed good week for the 25-year-old Canadian, who had fallen out of the top 300 but reached the final in Jerusalem).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 17 ===========> No. 18 (Raonic’s clay-court season was basically a wash. And no French Open for the second straight year. The two kids, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, are getting darn close to him in the rankings, too. It’s going to be an interesting summer).
Gilles Simon (FRA): No. 29 ===========> No. 33
Cameron Norrie (GBR): No. 41 ===========> No. 49
Marton Fucsovics (HUN): No. 38 ===========> No. 50 (The Hungarian won Geneva a year ago – his first, and so far only Tour title. But he lost his opener this year).
Steve Johnson (USA): No. 59 ===========> No. 65
Tennys Sandgren (USA): No. 87 ===========> No. 100 (A quarterfinalist in Geneva a year ago, Sandgren didn’t play last week as he was battling it out in the French Open qualifying. He made it, but lost in the first round of the main draw).
Peter Gojowczyk (GER): No. 96 ===========> No. 121 (The 29-year-old, at a career best No. 39 less than a year ago, doesn’t defend a finals effort from a year ago in Geneva. He beat Fognini, Seppi and Ferrer, among others, that week. This year, he lost in the first round to Janko Tipsarevic. He lost in the first round in Paris to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).
James Ward (GBR): No. 169 ===========> No. 208
No change at the top, although Auger-Aliassime puts himself in even better position to qualify for the Milan event.
You’d expect Stefanos Tsitsipas would be in the ATP Tour Finals in London and skip it. So he and countryman Denis Shapovalov will battle it out for the two top seeds, come November.