ATP Apia International Sydney preview

ATP Apia International Sydney preview

Sydney is the final stop before the first Grand Slam of the year. Viktor Troicki returns to defend his title while Dominic Thiem headlines as the eight seed.

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With the Australian Open around the corner, this is the last tournament for players to get into form ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. Dominic Thiem leads a field of 24 players with all eight seeds ranked inside the world's top 50. 

First Quarter

Number one seed and eight ranked in the world Dominic Thiem of Austria leads this first quarter and will be looking to tune his game ahead of the Australian Open. He has a kind draw and after being given a bye, his second round opponent will be between two qualifiers, Gastao Elias and Christopher O'Connell. At the bottom of this section is the two Spaniards, Fernando Verdasco, and Marcel Granollers

Verdasco started his season in tremendous form, making the semifinal in Doha defeating David Goffin and Ivo Karlovic on the way before falling to Novak Djokovic after five missed match points. The winner of the all-Spanish affair will be either Dan Evans or a qualifier, Thiago Monteiro. The Brit has been on the rise once again since the US Open and will be looking to make a good run in Sydney before the Australian Open. 

Quarterfinal: Dominic Thiem-Dan Evans

Semifinalist: Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem hits a backhand (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem hits a backhand (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Second quarter

This second quarter is packed with talent and is lead by number four seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who receives a bye and will play either Mischa Zverev or fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro. Also in this part of the draw is Benoit Paire who faces wildcard 17-year-old Alex De Minaur. The Frenchman started the year in Chennai making a run all the way to the semifinals and will come into this match feeling tired and jet lagged. 

Thus making it the perfect opportunity for the teenager to score a big upset and get his first win on the ATP circuit. At the bottom of this draw is seventh-seeded Martin Klizan, who started his year losing to Aljaz Bedene in his first match of the year last week picking up where he left off last season, in poor form. The Slovakian faces Andrey Kuznetsov, who will be kicking off his season. 

Quarterfinal: Mischa Zverev-Andrey Kuznetsov

Semifinalist: Mischa Zverev

Mischa Zverev in action against Rafael Nadal (Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Mischa Zverev in action against Rafael Nadal (Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Third Quarter

Third seed and back-to-back champion Viktor Troicki headlines the third quarter as the third seed. The Serbian is known for playing well in this part of the world and has a slightly favourable second round match as he faces two predominantly clay players in Florian Mayer and Paolo Lorenzi. At the top of the section is fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who faces Fabio Fognini in a blockbuster of a round one match depending on which Italian shows up.

The winner of that match will go up against two wildcarded players Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson. Kokkinakis struggled with injury throughout the 2016 season with his ranking dropping and will be hoping to climb back up the rankings, starting in his home country. He and Thompson teamed up in Brisbane last week, making it all the way to the final and winning. The two are very exciting to watch and could serve up a great match. 

Quarterfinal: Fabio Fognini-Viktor Troicki

Semifinalist: Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki with the Sydney trophy in 2016 (Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Viktor Troicki with the Sydney trophy in 2016 (Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Fourth quarter

Second seed Pablo Cuevas headlines the final quarter. He has a bye into the second round but faces Nicolas Mahut, who is capable of putting on some good performances despite never reaching his full potential. Sixth seed Gilles Muller faces the highly entertaining and watchable Alexandr Dolgopolov. This is one of the many quality first round matches taking place this week, mind you most matches involving the Ukrainian is well worth watching. 

However, the one player to watch in this draw this week is Kyle Edmund, who has been given a kind opening round match, a qualifier, Matthew Barton. The 21-year-old Brit is highly thought of in the tennis world as the ATP next gen star and could give anyone a run for their money when he turns up, just ask Gasquet who he defeated at the US Open in round one. The youngster will be the dark horse in this tournament amongst two or three more favourited players as he goes in search of a first ATP World Tour title. 

Quarterfinal: Gilles Muller-Kyle Edmund

Semifinalist: Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund playing a forehand in his match against Stan Wawrinka in Brisbane (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Kyle Edmund playing a forehand in his match against Stan Wawrinka in Brisbane (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Semifinals: Dominic Thiem def. Mischa Zverev, Viktor Troicki def. Kyle Edmund

Finals: Dominic Thiem def. Viktor Troicki  

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