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Tennis News • Ricky’s Preview And Picks For This Week’s ATP Tournaments In Basel And Vienna

By Ricky Dimon

The last two weeks of the regular season (prior to the ATP and NextGen Finals) are upon us, starting in Basel and Vienna and then concluding with the Paris Masters. Roger Federer is once again in action at one of his favorite events, where he eyes a 10th title. Federer is joined in a strong Basel field by Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and London hopeful Roberto Bautista Agut. Among those in Vienna, meanwhile, are Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov, Matteo Berrettini, and Gael Monfils.

Swiss Indoors Basel

Prize money: 2,082,655 Euros
Points: 500
Top seed: Roger Federer
Defending champion: Roger Federer

The Swiss fans will not be overly enthused about the Basel draw, as Federer and Stan Wawrinka are on a collision course for the quarterfinals. One of the host nation’s top two players will be gone prior to the SFs, and the winner of a potential Federer-Wawrinka collision could run into Tstisipas at that point. It is not an easy top half of the bracket, where Fabio Fognini—who has an outside shot at a London berth—may meet Tsitsipas in the quarters.

That is not to say the other side is friendly. Zverev has a chance to lock up another trip to London for what would be his title defense, but he faces a possibly rough opener against Taylor Fritz before potentially battling an in-form Alex de Minaur. Bautista Agut’s section is relatively up foe grabs, also being home to David Goffin, Marin Cilic, Reilly Opelka, and 2018 finalist Marius Copil.

First-round upset possibility: (WC) Marius Copil over (4) Roberto Bautista Agut. Although Copil trails the head-to-head series 2-0, he cannot be discounted on an indoor hard court. In addition to the Romanian’s performance in Basel last fall, he also reached the Sofia final. As for Bautista Agut, he may be wearing out down the stretch of 2019 while also feeling the pressure of qualifying for the year-end championship.

Quarterfinal picks: Roger Federer over Stan Wawrinka, Stefanos Tsitsipas over Fabio Fognini, David Goffin over Roberto Bautista Agut, and Alexander Zverev over Jan-Lennard Struff

Semifinals: Federer over Tsitsipas and Zverev over Goffin

Final: Federer over Zverev

Erste Bank Open

Points: 500
Prize money: 2,296,490 Euros
Top seed: Dominic Thiem
2018 champion: Kevin Anderson (not playing)

Like Basel, Vienna features a top seed and title favorite who hails from the host nation. Of course, that is just about where the similarities end. Unlike Federer, Thiem has struggled in front of the home crowd (8-8 lifetime record at this tournament) and thus this title looks to be completely up for grabs. The field is not top heavy but it is extremely deep, as the unseeded contingent includes Nikoloz Basilashvili, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco, Pablo Carreno Busta, USO semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, Moscow winner Andrey Rublev, and Stockholm champion Denis Shapovalov.

Thiem cannot waste any time getting in gear, as he opens with Tsonga before potentially meeting the Verdasco-Basilashvili winner. Also in the top section, Shapovalov and Carreno Busta are going head-to-head right off the bat. Among the other intriguing first-rounders are Rublev vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime, Khachanov vs. Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber, Hyeon Chung vs. Milos Raonic, and Feliciano Lopez vs. Gilles Simon.

First-round upset possibility: Hubert Hurkacz over (2) Karen Khachanov. Khachanov is coming off a difficult and mostly disappointing week in front of the Russian crowd in Moscow. He had to save five match points to beat a slumping Kohlschreiber before falling to Andreas Seppi in his second match. Hurkacz skipped last week after playing well in Shanghai, where he advanced to round three and then lost to Tsitsipas in a third-set tiebreaker.

Quarterfinals: Dominic Thiem over Pablo Carreno Busta, Matteo Berrettini over Felix Auger-Aliassime, Guido Pella over Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Hubert Hurkacz over Diego Schwartzman

Semifinals: Thiem over Berrettini and Hurkacz over Pella

Final: Thiem over Hurkacz

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

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