Stefanos Tsitsipas passed on Dubai where he made the final last year opting instead to go to Mexico for the Acapulco event where the Greek will make his tournament debut.
Tsitsipas will be joined by by two other players in the Top 10: Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman. Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Fabio Fognini, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Christian Ruud round out of the Top 8 seeds.
Seeded quarterfinals: Tsitsipas-FAA, Schartzman-Dimitrov, Fognini-Raonic, Ruud-Zverev.
Tsitsipas opens against Benoit Paire then could face John Isner in the second round.
Among other opening round matches: Marin Cilic-Sebastian Korda, Tennys Sandgren-FAA, Kevin Anderson-Frances Tiafoe (who comes from Santiago on clay), Tommy Paul-Raonic and Zverev begins against the teen Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.
Last year, Rafael Nadal beat Taylor Fritz in the final.
The tournament was unable to pay Nadal’s requested over $500,000 in guarantee money this year. Rafa withdrew with a back injury.
“We couldn’t afford Nadal. The relationship with Carlos Costa (Nadal’s agent) is super good and things were very open (but) the reality is that there are no funds to pay,” tournament director Raul Zurutuza said to Excelsior.
“We already had a contract signed with Alexander Zverev and it was more expensive to cancel it than to pay him,” he added. “And the other players, the four or five that we invited with an appearance fee, their economic demands are substantially lower than what they normally do.”
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