The 2018 Sofia Open is the third edition of the tournament. It will be the site of a former major champion’s quest to build back his fitness and continue the process of restoring his tennis prowess this season. We’re not going to see many big names at this event but Stan Wawrinka is participating and will be expected to make a run at this event.
The competition in the 28-player main draw begins on Monday, February 5.
Event: Sofia Open
Category: ATP 250 Series
Date: February 5-11, 2018
Location: Arena Armeec – Sofia, Bulgaria
The 2018 Sofia Open wants to be seen as an event that can stand on its own two feet. So far, so good.
With a prize money allotment of just over 501,000 Euros, this is a tournament with a level of prize money competitive with the other ATP 250 events being played during the same week in Quito, Ecuador, and Montpellier, France. Moreover, the prize purse has jumped nearly 20,000 Euros relative to 2017. Some might have thought that Bulgaria might be a more out of the way destination compared to France (which hosts a lot of tennis tournaments during the year) and Ecuador (part of an established South American swing), but the prize money is growing, a fantastic indicator for the future of what is still a relatively young tournament that is trying to find its footing.
Champion – 250
Runner-up – 150
Semifinal – 90
Quarterfinal – 45
Former Champions and Results
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2017 – Grigor Dimitrov def. David Goffin, 7-5, 6-4
2016 – Roberto Bautista Agut def. Viktor Troicki – 6-3, 6-4
Stan Wawrinka owns three major titles, and like two other men with at least three major titles – Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – he spent several months on the shelf in 2017, recuperating from a significant injury in the attempt to be whole in time for the 2018 Australian Open. That did not happen. Wawrinka did manage to win one match, but that was it. He clearly looked out of shape and quietly left in the second round. He won only seven games in a 2, 1 and 4 loss to Tennys Sandgren. Wawrinka is trying to restore his physical fitness and regain comfort on court. Winning championships is not the priority now. Getting his health back is the main objective, so that when the clay Masters 1000 events hit, followed by the French Open, Wimbledon, and the summer hardcourt season, Wawrinka will be ready to win big prizes. For now, he is just trying to learn how to ride a bike again, so to speak. If he gets at least two matches this week and gains a measure of confidence, that will be a good week. He is not under pressure to win this title.
Adrian Mannarino enjoyed a great season in 2017 in which he soared into the top 30. In 2018, he will try to sustain what he established last year, and possibly build on it. Mannarino beefed up his groundstrokes, which used to be softer and less penetrating. He hit them harder and with more conviction, and he played slightly better defense to tell opponents it will not be as easy to win points as it used to be.
Gilles Muller, like Mannarino, made 2017 his best year ever on tour. He won his first two ATP titles and then beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in a five-set classic lasting almost five hours. Muller’s serve is a huge weapon indoors – he will try to put it to good use.
Philipp Kohlschreiber does his best work in 250- and 500-point tournaments, but usually on clay. Can he use less topspin and hit flatter to get opponents off balance? That will be the key for him this week.
Opened in 2011, this modern facility can pull in 17,000 spectators for concerts. For tennis and other sporting events, it has a capacity of just over 12,300 seats, enabling sizable crowds to gather for the best in global competition. The arrival of a new arena in Bulgaria is precisely why the ATP green-lit this event. In its third year, it will try to continue to build a positive identity and reputation on tour.
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