ATP Vienna Open Preview: Blockbuster Field in the Austrian Capital

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will lead the field at the ATP Vienna Open
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The Vienna Open features one of the most stacked draws ever at an ATP 500 event with six out of the world’s top ten set to take to the court in the Austrian capital. There should be plenty of entertaining action for the fans as a result. Here’s a look ahead at the top four seeds at the Vienna Open and the other standout names to keep an eye on over the coming week:

ATP Vienna Open Preview

Novak Djokovic

World #1 Novak Djokovic will return to action for the first time since his heavy defeat to Rafael Nadal in the final at Roland Garros this week at the Vienna Open. The Serbian will open his campaign against his compatriot Filip Krajinovic in what will be their third meeting. The head-to-head is currently tied at one win apiece, with Krajinovic winning via retirement in the quarterfinals in Belgrade in 2010, a defeat Djokovic avenged with a straight-sets win last month at the Italian Open.

If Djokovic gets past Krajinovic, he will then face either 2019 Shanghai Masters finalist Borna Coric or world #29 Taylor Fritz for a place in the quarterfinals. His most likely opponent in the last eight is the in-form Diego Schwartzman, who backed up his semifinal showing at the French Open with a run to the final at the Cologne Championships last week. Clearly then, Djokovic faces a tough draw in Vienna. But the Serbian has made a career out of overcoming adversity and remains the favourite for the title.

Dominic Thiem

Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem, who will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing quarterfinal exit at the French Open, also faces what looks like a tough first-round test up against Kei Nishikori. He won’t have history on his side heading into the match, with Nishikori leading their head-to-head 3-2, although Thiem did win their last match, which came in the round robin at the ATP Finals in 2018, in straight-sets.

And, whilst Thiem has established himself as a force to be reckoned with on hard courts, as evidenced by his recent triumph at the US Open, Nishikori is not the player he once was and has won just twice this season. If Thiem does beat Nishikori, he could then find himself facing the power of Stan Wawrinka, whilst Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner are also lurking in his section of the draw. It certainly looks like a tough path towards another on home soil for Thiem.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will begin his Vienna Open against Jan-Lennard Struff. The German has rather lost his way in recent weeks after a strong showing in North America after the restart, but his combination of power and touch ensures he can never be discounted. He has also beaten Tsitsipas twice before, although it was the Greek who came out on top when they last met, winning 4-6 6-4 6-4 in the quarterfinals in Dubai earlier this season.

Waiting for Tsitsipas in the second round will be either Karen Khachanov or Grigor Dimitrov, both of whom have previously lifted Masters 1000 titles and been ranked inside the top 10, whilst the big-hitting Denis Shapovalov is a potential quarterfinal opponent. Tsitsipas will need to play high-level tennis from the jump as a result if he is to make a deep run in the Austrian capital. That said, at his best, Tsitsipas can be almost unplayable and he should not be counted out.

Daniil Medvedev

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev will start his tournament against Australia’s Alex de Minaur. That looks like a stern test on paper for the Russian, with de Minaur in good form after reaching the final last week at the European Open in Antwerp. Medvedev, in contrast, has been struggling of late, having posted a below-par 1-4 record since losing to Thiem in the semifinals at the US Open. And if he does get past the Australian, his path will get no smoother.

His most likely second-round opponent will be Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has also impressed recently and made the final at the Cologne Indoors two weeks ago. Seventh seed Gael Monfils and the in-form Pablo Carreno Busta, who has made the semifinals at the US Open and the quarterfinals at Roland Garros since the season resumed, are also in his section of the draw. Make no mistake, Medvedev faces a rough road at the Vienna Open. But perhaps that will be just the challenge the Russian needs to get back on track.

Other Players to Watch

The aforementioned Rublev, seeded fifth this week, will be one to watch, with the Russian #2 arriving in the Austrian capital fresh from his triumph at the St Petersburg Open, where he won his fourth title of 2020. He will open his campaign against the Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos in what looks like a winnable clash, particularly by the standards of the 2020 Vienna Open. Schwartzman, meanwhile, will also have high hopes of a good run in Vienna and faces Dusan Lajovic in the first round.

Monfils, who has struggled badly since the season resumed, will be looking to get back to winning ways this week, but may well have to find his very best tennis up against the resurgent Carreno Busta. Eighth seed Shapovalov will start his week up against the Austrian wildcard Jurij Rodionov, whilst what is perhaps the match of the first round in Vienna will pit Casper Ruud against recent French Open quarterfinalist Jannik Sinner.

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