WS Open: Men’s Singles Preview and Predictions
Daniil Medvedev won his first Masters 1000 title at the event last year (Image: Icon Sportswire)

The ATP Tour will restart this weekend at the 2020 Western and Southern Open in New York, taking place almost six months after the last ATP events were held.

The tour has been suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and whilst the WTA Tour returned earlier this month, the ATP has not held any events prior to this. Traditionally taking place in Cincinnati, this year’s event will be taking place at Flushing Meadows in New York as part of a three-week bubble alongside the US Open.

There have been several withdrawals due to the pandemic, with the most notable being world number two Rafael Nadal. Also absent is Roger Federer who will be out until 2021 due to injury, though the ATP event has not been ravaged by withdrawals anywhere nearly as badly as the WTA. The draw will be headlined by world number one and former champion Novak Djokovic, who will be the top seed, whilst 2019 champion Daniil Medvedev will be aiming to defend his title as the third seed.

Djokovic is the favorite to win the title (Image: Anadolu Agency)
Djokovic is the favorite to win the title (Image: Anadolu Agency)

World number three Dominic Thiem will be seeded second at the event, with Stefanos Tsitsipas seeded fourth and Alexander Zverev seeded fifth. Matteo Berrettini will be the sixth seed, with 2019 runner-up David Goffin seeded seventh and Roberto Bautista Agut seeded eighth. It will be a 56-player draw with the top eight seeds all receiving a bye in the first round.

First Quarter

Projected Q/F: (1st) Novak Djokovic vs (7th) David Goffin

There are several unknowns coming into this tournament but if there are any doubts within the Djokovic camp about his form or fitness, they have surely been eased by the fact that the Serbian has been handed a great draw early on. The top seed will kick off in the second round against wildcard Tommy Paul or a qualifier, with 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime his projected third round opponent. Wildcard Tennys Sandgren could prove a danger for some in this section.

Cilic is a former champion at the Western and Southern Open (Image: Francois Nel)
Cilic is a former champion at the Western and Southern Open (Image: Francois Nel)

In contrast, Goffin has a tricky opener against either Borna Coric or Benoit Paire. Assuming he comes through that a third round against 12th seed Denis Shapovalov is predicted, though the Canadian has an incredibly tough opener against former US Open and Western and Southern Open champion Marin Cilic

Prediction: Djokovic def Cilic

Second Quarter

Projected Q/F: (3rd) Daniil Medvedev vs (8th) Roberto Bautista Agut

After a sparkling summer in 2019 Medvedev was not in his best form in 2020 before the suspension was introduced, though the Russian is another big seed with a kind draw early on. 13th seed Christian Garin or Taylor Fritz are likely third round opponents, with the third seed likely to beat a qualifier in his opening match in New York.

Bautista Agut is seeded eighth at the tournament (Image: Defodi Inages)
Bautista Agut is seeded eighth at the tournament (Image: Defodi Inages)

Things could get tougher in the last eight. Projected quarterfinalist Roberto Bautista Agut is one of the most consistent players on tour and will be tough for anyone to beat, though there are further dangers around; 11th seed Karen Khachanov has the firepower to trouble the Spaniard in the third round and has had success on hard courts in the past.

Prediction: Medvedev def Bautista Agut

Third Quarter

Projected Q/F: (6th) Matteo Berrettini vs (4th) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Berrettini rose to prominence with a run to the last four at Flushing Meadows last summer and will be hoping to recapture that form in the New York bubble. The Italian should start well against a qualifier but may find it tougher after that, with big-serving Reilly Opelka or ever-tricky ninth seed Diego Schwartzman likely third round opponents for the Italian.

Tsitsipas practicing in New York this week (Image: Matthew Stockman)
Tsitsipas practicing in New York this week (Image: Matthew Stockman)

Fourth seed Tsitsipas has a slightly tougher opener against either Kevin Anderson or Kyle Edmund, though the Greek should be able to overcome whoever he plays in his opening match comfortably. 16th seed John Isner could be a danger in the third round though in general this a solid draw for Tsitsipas, who should comfortably reach the last eight if he plays well.

Prediction: Tsitsipas def Schwartzman

Fourth Quarter

Projected Q/F: (5th) Alexander Zverev vs (2nd) Dominic Thiem

The pick of the opening round ties sees two wildcards, Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe, face off for the chance to face fifth seed Zverev in round two. The draw would not get any easier for the German after that, with tenth seed Andrey Rublev, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic all potential third round opponents, though the German was in encouraging form prior to the suspension.

Thiem appeared at several exhibition events during the suspension (Image: Defodi Images)
Thiem appeared at several exhibition events during the suspension (Image: Defodi Images)

Perhaps no one was as active during the suspension as Thiem. The Austrian appeared in several exhibitions and he will surely be match ready to restart quickly. The second seed will most likely start against Filip Krajinovic and could face 14th seed Grigor Dimitrov after that, though there are doubts about the Bulgarian’s fitness following his coronavirus battle.

Prediction: Thiem def Zverev

Semifinals

Djokovic def Medvedev

Tsitsipas def Thiem

Final

Djokovic def Tsitsipas

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