Before I report on this week’s ATP tennis action at Dubai, Acapulco and Sao Paulo I’ll give a quick mention about the ITF’s proposal to revamp the Davis Cup format. The ITF are considering changing the current year-long format to an end of year tournament to be played in November. The proposal is the tournament will be played over a week using a round-robin group format involving two singles rubbers and a doubles rubber played over the best of three sets. This proposal is sure to appeal to the top nations and top players who have expressed concerns about the physical demands of being a top player as it eradicates having to play in the Davis Cup three to four times a year (if they take part and progress to the final) in addition to the demands of the ATP Tour. However, on the downside, it looks like it will coincide and impact on the ATP Tour Year End Finals and ATP Tour Next Gen Finals, which also take place in November.
The majority of first round matches at Dubai are now complete and there were plenty of shock upsets including top seed Dimitrov losing against Wild Card Jaziri and fifth seed Gasquet was beaten by Coric. Second seed Pouille continued his good form from Marseille last week where he lost in the final against Khachanov defeating qualifier Gulbis in straight sets. Third seed Bautista Agut got off to a winning start beating German Mayer, fourth seed Dzumhur won his opener against qualifier Maden in straight sets, sixth seed Kohlschreiber defeated qualifier Sakharov in straight sets and seventh seed Krajinovic recovered from being bagled in the first set to win in three. Finally, eighth seed Sugita won his opener against Ivashka and other results of interest were Marseille winner Khachanov won his opener against Istomin 7-6 7-6, 2017 semi-finalist Haase won his opener against qualifier Halys and veteran Baghdatis progressed to the second round after beating fellow veteran Troicki.
At Sao Paulo Argentinian’s Mayer seeded five and Delbonis seeded eight won their openers, as did compatriot Berlocq and qualifiers Domingues and Ofner also progressed to the second round. At the time of writing there were four more first round matches due to be completed, but the top seeds like Ramos-Vinolas, Fognini, defending champion and third seed Cuevas and fourth seed Monfils won’t get their campaigns underway until Wednesday and Thursday. A handful of first-round matches were completed at Acapulco yesterday and fifth seed Anderson, veteran Ferrer and American Donaldson all progressed to the second-round. Isner seeded eight lost his opener against Harrison and at the time of writing fourth-seed Sock was due to face compatriot and qualifier Escobedo, defending champion and seventh-seed Querrey was due to face Aussie Ebden, Nishikori was due to face Next Gen star Shapovalov and Next Gen star Chung was due to face American Young last night.