2020 Erste Bank Open: Draw preview and predictions
Dominic Thiem beat Diego Schwartzman in the final last year (Image: Andrea Kareth)

World number three Dominic Thiem will be looking to defend the Erste Bank Open title when he plays on home soil in Vienna this coming week.

The Austrian beat Diego Schwartzman in the final last year, and both men will be back in action in front of a socially-distanced 1000 fans at this indoor hard tournament.

The big story heading in is that world number one Novak Djokovic will be in action having accepted a wildcard, with the Serbian looking to seal the end-of-year world number one ranking ahead of next month’s ATP Finals.

Novak Djokovic practising in Belgrade this week (Image: Srdjan Stevanovic)
Novak Djokovic practising in Belgrade this week (Image: Srdjan Stevanovic)

Six of the top ten will be in action with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev also entered into the draw, with Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov rounding out the seeds.

With other notable names such as Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka entered it should be an entertaining and high-quality week of action.

First Quarter

Projected Q/F: (1st) Novak Djokovic vs (6th) Diego Schwartzman

Djokovic is in action for the first time since the French Open and has been dealt a fairly kind draw, with a potential second round meeting against Borna Coric potentially the only slight test he could face before the last eight.

A potential last eight encounter against Schwartzman could be an interesting prospect however, with the Argentine in strong form in recent weeks.

Schwartzman has played several events since the restart (Image: Christof Koepsel)
Schwartzman has played several events since the restart (Image: Christof Koepsel)

The sixth seed should not have too much trouble against Dusan Lajovic and potential Hubert Hurkacz after that, though it will be interesting to see how he would approach facing Djokovic on the Serbian’s beloved hard courts.

Prediction: Djokovic def Schwartzman

Second Quarter

Projected Q/F: (3rd) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs (8th) Denis Shapovalov

Tsitsipas went on a strong run to the last four at the French Open and will be looking to win a first title of the year here, though the Greek does not have the kindest draw.

The third seed will start against Jan-Lennard Struff and a meeting against Karen Khachanov or Grigor Dimitrov would await after that for Tsitsipas, who will need to play with the confidence he displayed in Paris.

Tsitsipas was a semifinalist at the French Open (Image: TF Images)
Tsitsipas was a semifinalist at the French Open (Image: TF Images)

After some tough losses in recent weeks Shapovalov may be lacking confidence and could face trouble in the second round against Antwerp semifinalist Dan Evans, who has picked up several top-20 wins this season.

Prediction: Tsitsipas def Evans

Third Quarter

Projected Q/F: (7th) Gael Monfils vs (4th) Daniil Medvedev

This is perhaps the most open section of the draw, with both Monfils and Medvedev lacking form in recent weeks.

2020 has not really got going for Monfils and the Frenchman has a nightmare opener against US Open semifinalist and French Open quarterfinalist Pablo Carreno Busta, with former Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson potentially looming after that.

Auger-Aliassime is hoping to win a first ATP title (Image: Christof Koepsel)
Auger-Aliassime is hoping to win a first ATP title (Image: Christof Koepsel)

Medvedev also has a tricky opener against Alex De Minaur, with the talented Felix Auger-Aliassime the likely opponent for whoever wins that intriguing opening round contest.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime def Carreno Busta

Fourth Quarter

Projected Q/F: (5th) Andrey Rublev vs (2nd) Dominic Thiem

This is an absolutely brutal section of the draw, and whoever reaches the semifinal from it will have almost certainly worked very hard to get there.

Fifth seed and in-form Rublev has a kind draw against a qualifier to begin with, but would then have to beat Casper Ruud or Jannik Sinner to continue his quest for a fifth title of 2020 and a potential quarterfinal against Thiem.

Rublev is one of the form players of 2020 (Image: TPN)
Rublev is one of the form players of 2020 (Image: TPN)

The Austrian will likely receive a heroic reception in Vienna after his US Open triumph and has a blockbuster opener against Kei Nishikori, with Christian Garin or three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka providing a tricky second round test.

Prediction: Rublev def Thiem

Semifinal

Djokovic def Tsitsipas

Rublev def Auger-Aliassime

Final

Djokovic def Rublev

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