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Tennis • 10sBalls Shares Ricky’s Previews & Picks For This Week’s ATP Events In Auckland & Sydney

Photo by @asbclassic via Instagram.



By Ricky Dimon


With the 2018 Australian Open just one week away, many of the world’s best are either resting or fine-tuning their games with various exhibitions in Melbourne. In fact, Jack Sock is the only top 10 player in action in either Auckland or Sydney. The American is defending his ASB Classic title and is joined in an impressive draw by Juan Martin Del Potro, Sam Querrey, John Isner, and Roberto Bautista Agut. A less loaded Sydney field includes 2017 champ Gilles Muller.


ASB Classic


Points: 250

Prize money: $501,345

Top seed: Jack Sock

Defending champion: Jack Sock


Auckland should be intriguing right from the get-go; among the first-rounders are Kyle Edmund vs. NextGen Finals winner Hyeon Chung, and Denis Shapovalov vs. Rogerio Dutra Silva (a rematch of what began Shapovalov’s 2017 Montreal run). If Shapovalov prevails, he will face Del Potro—just as he did in Montreal after saving four match points against Dutra Silva. Del Potro, who missed out on the Nitto ATP Finals by one spot, could meet either Isner or David Ferrer in the Auckland semis.


Sock stole the last place in London from Del Potro, Isner, and Pablo Carreno Busta, just to name a few. He may have to be considered the title favorite based on his recent form and because he is the defending champ. Sock’s draw is a favorable one, too, with no serious threats in his quarter now that Doha runner-up Andrey Rublev withdrew. Bautista Agut, Querrey, Harrison, and Johnson should battle it out for the right to face Sock in the semis.


First-round upset possibility: Guido Pella over (6) Pablo Cuevas. The head-to-head series is tied up at two wins apiece, with Pella having won their only previous hard-court meeting at the 2016 Indian Wells event. Cuevas was a disaster throughout the second half of last year, while Pella is coming off a stellar showing in Doha—where he reached the semifinals before losing a high-quality thriller against Rublev.


Semifinal picks: Jack Sock over Roberto Bautista Agut and Juan Martin Del Potro over David Ferrer

Final: Sock over Del Potro



Sydney International


Points: 250

Prize money: $468,910

Top seed: Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Defending champion: Gilles Muller


Perhaps no draw this entire season will be less top-heavy while also boasting so many players that have a legitimate shot at the title. Top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas cooled off last fall and has never been a real force on hard courts, while the second-seeded Muller missed the last few months of this past season due to injury. There is certainly no clear-cut favorite in Sydney. But the event’s depth is impressive; among the unseeded floaters are Pune champion Gilles Simon, Brisbane semifinalist Alex de Minaur, Jared Donaldson, Paolo Lorenzi, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, and Benoit Paire.


The top quarter of the bracket is especially difficult. Ramos-Vinolas has to open against Lorenzi, who is coming off a resurgent 2017 season. Simon will be making a quick turnaround when he meets the up-and-coming Donaldson, with the winner of that showdown to meet either Kohlschreiber over Daniil Medvedev. Muller’s opener will likely come against Millman and the bottom section also includes Paire, who advanced to the final four in Pune.


First-round upset possibility: Leonardo Mayer over (8) Mischa Zverev. Zverev was borderline hopeless toward the end of 2017, at least compared to what he showcased at the Australian Open and U.S. Open. The German’s slump included a 7-5, 7-5 setback against Mayer in Basel. Mayer now leads the head-to-head series 3-1 and all three of his wins have come in straight sets while his only loss was in a three-set battle.


Semifinals: Adrian Mannarino over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Diego Schwartzman over Benoit Paire

Final: Mannarino over Schwartzman


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editors Note: When Ricky does a draw like this it always humors me. If you ask David Law he is pretty accurate. All I know is he must be watching a ton of streaming or youtube. I don’t feel confident enough to agree with any of this. But good luck everyone. And fasten your seat belts. Cause these next few weeks should be a real roller coaster. Add tons of sunscreen. It’s been so hot in Sydney already. Word is Azarenka has now pulled out of the AO 2018. (LJ)


Hey Lloyd from New Rochelle you have a crystal ball?

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