ATP New York Open preview: Opelka looks to defend title against array of contenders
Photo: John Lupo

The New York Open begins on Sunday with the first round of qualifying while main draw play begins on the black courts of Long Island on Monday. The tournament saw Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey and Nick Kyrgios withdraw before the event began, but the overall quality of the field is quite possibly the strongest in the the three-year history of the event.

First quarter

Top seed John Isner will look to make another deep run here after reaching the semifinals in 2019. After a first-round bye, the big-serving American will face either fellow big-server Ivo Karlovic or Jordan Thompson. The other matches in this section feature Damir Dzumhur battling Andreas Seppi while an all-American showdown between Steve Johnson and fifth seed Tennys Sandgren looms.

Second quarter

Reilly Opelka claimed his first career ATP Tour title here last year, winning three-set thrillers in the semifinals and final. Seeded third with a first-round bye, he plays the dangerous Yoshihito Nishioka  or Henri Laaksonen. 2018 champion Kevin Anderson​​returns after missing last year's tournament due to injury and will meet a qualifier while wild card Brandon Shi meets seventh seed Cameron Norrie.

Third quarter

Fourth seed Ugo Humbert picked up his first career title in Auckland and is a player on the rise. Given a first-round bye, he faces off against the winner of Jack Sock, returning from injury, or New York native Marcos Giron. Sixth seed Miomir Kecmanovic plays Adelaide semifinalist Tommy Paul with the other match comprised of two qualifiers.

Humbert has already claimed a title to begin 2020/Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP
Humbert has already claimed a title to begin 2020/Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP

Fourth quarter

Second seed Milos Raonic is coming off of a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open and will be making his tournament debut. The Canadian will play Soon-woo Kwon, who made the last eight in Pune or a qualifier. Brayden Schnur came through qualifying in 2019 and was within a few points of winning the title. A wild card entrant this year, he meets Dominik Koepfer while eighth seed Kyle Edmund faces off with Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Tournament outlook

While the loss of Nishikori, Querrey and Kyrgios is certainly a blow to the tournament, there are still many intriguing storylines to follow. How will Opelka do in his title defense? Is Isner completely over the foot issue that seemed to be plaguing him in Melbourne? How will Anderson perform as he continues to return from his own injury issues?

The presence of rising young stars such as Humbert and Kecmanovic plus quality players such as Sandgren, Norrie and Edmund make this a very deep field. Koepfer made the Round of 16 at last year's U.S. Open and is a player fans should familiarize themselves with. Schnur's magical run last year will also be on the minds of those who witnessed it as he returns for an encore.

There are possibly many excellent matches looming such as Kecmanovic vs Humbert, Opelka vs Isner and Anderson as well as Schnur vs Koepfer in the first round. The tournament is growing with the high caliber of names that have committed and this year promises to be the best edition of it yet.