This week, the ATP tour stops in Eastbourne for one of the penultimate events before Wimbledon. The 2021 Viking International will be headed by World No. 16 Gael Monfils and Australia’s Alex de Minaur, and will begin on June 21.
Lorenzo Sonego, seeded third, is the only player in the draw who has won a tournament on grass, having won the Antalya Open two years ago. Next Gen talents Alexander Bublik, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Alexei Popyrin, and Emil Ruusuvuori are also competing in the ATP 250 event.
With the main draw scheduled to begin on Monday, here’s how the tournament could play out:
Top half: Can Gael Monfils end his slump in Eastbourne?
Seeded players:  Gael Monfils,  Lorenzo Sonego,  Albert Ramos-Vinolas,  Alexander Bublik
Expected semifinal: Gael Monfils vs Lorenzo Sonego
Dark horse: Emil Ruusuvuori
Analysis:Since the COVID-imposed tour suspension in 2020, Gael Monfils, a former finalist at Eastbourne, has been in a slump. The Frenchman has lost 11 of his last 13 games and is in desperate need of a boost.
Monfils, who won a first-round bye, will be hoping to make the final eight in Eastbourne, where he will face two qualifiers first. For a spot in the semifinals, he might face Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Emil Ruusuvuori, or Yoshihito Nishioka.
Monfils would be expected to easily defeat these opponents in normal circumstances. However, the Frenchman has recently struggled to maintain his form for more than a handful of games, and if he isn’t at his best, he might be easily upset by the aforementioned individuals.
If Lorenzo Sonego, who serves on the opposite side of Monfils’ half, is to reach his second final on grass, he may face a difficult battle. In his Eastbourne opener, the Italian might face Australia’s John Millman, followed by the brilliant Alexander Bublik or the big-hitting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Both in 2011 and 2012, the latter advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals.
Bottom half: Alex de Minaur looking to get back to winning ways
Seeded players:  Alex de Minaur,  Reilly Opelka,  Alejandro Davidovich Fokina,  Cameron Norrie
Expected semifinal: Alex de Minaur vs Cameron Norrie
Dark horse: Frances Tiafoe
Analysis:Last year, Australia’s Alex de Minaur made history by reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open. Since then, the 22-year-old has struggled to create an impression in competitions.
De Minaur will be aiming to redeem himself at this year’s Eastbourne International, but his draw has not been kind to him. After receiving a first-round bye, the Australian might face Frances Tiafoe, who is in fine form, for a spot in the final eight of the 250-level event.
For a spot in the semifinals, De Minaur might face either fast-rising Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Canada’s Vasek Pospisil (who reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2015).
De Minaur has had a respectable grasscourt season thus far, despite not having a lot of match wins under his belt. The 22-year-old advanced to the Queen’s semifinals earlier this week, when he was defeated by Matteo Berrettini.
The seeded players on the opposite side of De Minaur’s half are Cameron Norrie and Reilly Opelka, and either of them might be a tough opponent for the Aussie in the last four.
Norrie had a fantastic year in 2021, reaching three finals on the major circuit and winning four times in the top twenty. Opelka, on the other hand, won a dramatic five-set victory over Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon 2019 and has demonstrated a strong affinity for grass with his huge serve and groundstrokes.