The 2019 Sofia Open will be the 4th edition of this tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. The tournament is an ATP 250 event & is featuring 3 of the brightest young stars on the circuit, who are also doubling as the top 3 seeds in this event. Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas & Daniil Medvedev are all coming off career best performances at this years Australian Open.
Without doubt the majority of eyes & focus will be on Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 20-year old Greek announced himself to the world with a Semi-Final run in Melbourne along with arguably the biggest win of his career thus far, an impressive victory over the 7-time AO Champ, Roger Federer, in the 4th Round.
The draw has split the top 4 seeds into the 2 separate halves that most would have been hoping for. The top half, featuring Khachanov & Bautista Agut, is particularly difficult for the Russian. Khachanov suffered a first round loss in Doha to potential 3rd-Round opponent, Stan Wawrinka. Not only that, but if all follows path, Khachanov would face Bautista Agut in the Semi Final, looking to avenge his straight sets loss in Melbourne to the Spaniard. Fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is another danger in the stacked top quarter of this draw, as well as last years finalist, Marius Copil.
The bottom half features the somewhat fizzled-out rivalry between Stefanos Tsitsipas & Daniil Medvedev (see right). Although Medvedev has owned that matchup with a 3-0 H2H record, Tsitsipas will be entering this tournament full of confidence after a very impressive fortnight in Melbourne.
Mirza Basic, will be in for a tough week defending points here. The defending champion from Bosnia and Herzegovina has drawn the tricky Slovakian, Martin Klizan, first up. Should he win that, the 5th-seeded Nikoloz Bashilashvili will be waiting.
Viktor Troicki has been relatively successful here, making it to at least the quarter finals each of the past 3 years. I would not be surprised to see him come out victorious against 7th-seeded Gael Monfils.
Adrian Mannarino is another one who I can see making it to the third round, defeating Andreas Seppi, before succumbing to Roberto Bautista Agut.
One To Watch
The One To Watch here is Nikoloz Bashilashvili. The 26-year-old from Georgia enjoyed a career-best year in 2018 elevating him to a top 20 player by the start of this year. A qualifier first up, followed up potentially last years finalist, Mirza Basic, could be tricky, however expect him to make it through & face Daniil Medvedev in the quarter finals.
Despite all the likely attention being on the 20-year-old Greek phenom, Stefanos Tsitsipas, I’m of the belief that Roberto Bautista Agut will win here. RBA is coming off his first ever Grand Slam QF appearance, a run in which he defeated former world #1 Andy Murray, John Millman, #10 Karen Khachanov & #6 Marin Cilic. Prior to the Australian Open, Bautista Agut won the Qatar Open in Doha, defeating #1 Novak Djokovic in the process. I predict a 10th career title for the world #18.