Here is your VAVEL USA ATP Weekly Update. Every Monday, we will be posting results and analysis from the previous week’s singles action on the ATP World Tour, along with a preview of the upcoming week. Keep coming back to VAVEL USA every Monday for your ATP Weekly Update.
With the Australian Open looming, many of the ATP World Tour’s biggest stars took the week off to rest, but a handful of men spent the week getting in some final preparation matches to get themselves ready for Melbourne. Two crowns were up for grabs in week two of the ATP World Tour season. Here’s your ATP Weekly Update for week two of the 2018 season.
Last Week’s Action
Roberto Bautista Agut rained on the parade of Juan Martin del Potro by knocking off the Argentine in the final of the ASB Classic. By reaching the final in Auckland, del Potro had already guaranteed himself a return to the top ten in the ATP Rankings but fell short in a tight-three set final. Bautista Agut bounced back after a three-tiebreak semifinal win to edge the Argentine 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 to win his seventh career title and second in Auckland. Check out the full recap of the final here.
The tournament was a disaster for the Americans, who had three seeded players in action, all of whom lost their opening matches. That included defending champion Jack Sock. The top seed was upset in his first match by Peter Gojowczyk. He was joined on the sideline by third seed Sam Querrey and fourth seed John Isner, both of whom lost three-setters in their opening matches. Four-time Auckland champion David Ferrer turned back the clock, reaching the semifinals before falling to del Potro.
Despite a lackluster field, the Sydney International provided plenty of entertainment. The tournament saw what will likely go down as the most surprising final of the year, as 21-year-old qualifier Daniil Medvedev defeated 18-year-old world number 167 Alex De Minaur to claim his first career title. All eyes were on De Minaur, who was coming off the first tour-level semifinal of his career a week earlier in Brisbane, as he looked to back up his success in his hometown. The Sydney-native did not disappoint, taking out a handful of veterans on his way to the final.
After coming through qualifying as the top seed, Medvedev took out two seeded opponents in the main draw before battling back to defeat home-favourite De Minaur 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the final. The tournament was not great for the seeds, as only fourth seed Fabio Fognini reached the semifinals (before losing to Medvedev). Top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas lost his opening match, as did three other seeded players: number three Diego Schwartzman, number six Philipp Kohlschreiber, and number eight Mischa Zverev.
Mover of the Week: Juan Martin del Potro
Despite losing in the final of Auckland, the former world number four did enough to climb back into the top ten for the first time since August 2014.
Thanks to his title in Sydney, Medvedev jumped 31 spots up to number 53. For the second week in a row, De Minaur had the largest jump, moving up 40 spots to yet another career high of number 127 in the world. Despite winning the title in Auckland, Bautista Agut failed to improve his ranking, staying at number 21. Thanks to Del Potro’s rise, Pablo Carreno Busta fell out of the top ten.
Race to London
While it is still very early in the season and most of the usual suspects have not even played a match yet, it is worth taking a look at who is getting off to a quick start in the Race to London. Thanks to his successful run to the title as a qualifier, Medvedev now sits atop the Race to London. Bautista Agut also jumped into a qualifying spot thanks to his title in Auckland. De Minaur has moved into the top eight due to his runner-up finish. They join last week’s champions Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, and Gilles Simon in the qualifying spots. Lukas Lacko and John Millman round out the top eight.
The race will look incredibly different after the upcoming fortnight once most of the tour’s big stars kick their seasons into high gear.
This Week’s Action
The world’s best are descending on Melbourne for the year’s first major, the Australian Open. 28 of the world’s top 30, and the entire top 15, will be in action, including defending champion Roger Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal. The 2017 finalists will be kicking off their 2018 campaigns, as will a handful of other big stars. Nadal notably pulled out of Brisbane citing the need for more preparation after a knee injury ended his 2017 season.
The Australian Open will also see the returns of Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, both of whom missed most of the second half of 2017 with injuries. Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori are the most notable players who are skipping the tournament with injuries. After an exceptional fortnight leading into the Open, Alex De Minaur has been given a wildcard into the main draw. Check out the full tournament preview here. The Australian Open will last for two weeks.