Erste Bank Open: ATP Vienna preview

The indoor hard court swing comes to Austria as the season reaches its climax. All eight seeds rank inside the top 20.

Erste Bank Open: ATP Vienna preview
Erste Bank Open is the focus for this week (Photo: www.erstebank-open.com)

With the indoor season in full swing, the ATP 500 event Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria is the next stop for the players on the ATP circuit. Also taking place this week is the 500 event in Basel, Switzerland. 

All eight seeded players currently rank inside the world's top 20, with three of the players ranked inside the top ten. Andy Murray the defending champion is unable to defend his title due to injury. German Alexander Zverev is the top seed this week. 

First Quarter

Top seed and world number five Alexander Zverev headlines the draw and the first quarter. The German has had a stellar season, winning five titles including two Masters 1000's in Rome and Canada as well as an ATP 500 in Washington and a top-five ranking. He opens his account against Serb Viktor Troicki who has disappointed, failing to win a third consecutive title. 

The winner of that match will face either Gilles Simon or Ernests Gulbis. The Frenchman has had a huge dip in form, falling as low as 71 in the world but can still pose a threat to the Latvian who has struggled with injury, resulting in him being ranked outside the top 200.

Damir Dzumhur enters Vienna with a title, his second at the Kremlin Cup, defeating Ricardo Berankis, the man he faces in round one, so he will be hoping to gain revenge.

The final matchup in this quarter sees Karen Khachanov face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has just captured the Antwerp title, his third in an impressive campaign. Expect the German and Frenchman to be tested but also to come through to face one another in the quarterfinals. 

Quarterfinal: Alexander Zverev vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Semifinalist: Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev hits a forehand (Photo: Xin Li/Getty Images)
Alexander Zverev hits a backhand (Photo: Xin Li/Getty Images)
 

Second Quarter

Fourth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta is the man to watch in this quarter. He faces Argentine Guido Pella, who has managed to come through qualification to enter the main draw. The 26-year-old has had a season to remember, capturing a title and making the semifinals in Indian Wells and US Open as well as a debut in the top ten.

The winner will face either Diego Schwartzman or Fabio Fognini, a match that could go either way depending on form but Carreno Busta should find himself in the quarterfinals.

Current world number 144 Bernard Tomic faces qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Both have struggled this season to create any form and the Australian has even admitted to falling out of love for the sport, so will be tough to call a winner.

A familiar matchup in round one sees Philipp Kohlschreiber take on John Isner. The pair will meet for the eighth time and the first time since 2014, US Open. The American leads 4-3 but every math has been close, so once again not an easy one to predict. But do expect one of these to make the quarterfinal. 

Quarterfinal: Pablo Carreño Busta vs Philipp Kohlschreiber

Semifinalist: Philipp Kohlschreiber

Philipp Kohlschreiber strikes a forehand shot at the US Open (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Philipp Kohlschreiber strikes a forehand shot at the US Open (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Third Quarter

The third quarter and bottom half of the draw is headlined by the third seed and wildcard Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian has had an overall good season following the capture of three titles including the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati and comes off the back of a runner-up spot from Stockholm.

He's been given a kind draw as he faces local Austrian and qualifier Denis Novak who occupies his tennis on the challenger circuit so will be a big task for the 24-year-old. Sam Querrey, the sixth seed has been given one of the toughest starts possible in the left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

In a packed quarter, the winner will face Pablo Cuevas or Jan-Lennard Struff, two players who could cause problems. 35-year-old David Ferrer has been drawn, Kyle Edmund. The Brit may not have continued his 2016 form into this year but can certainly give the aging veteran a run for his money.

Despite Ferrer's continued struggle, he can still give any a good run and will not be taken lightly by anyone in the draw. This quarter is anyone's game and will be tough to pick out the two names who will progress, so watch out for this. 

Quarterfinal: Albert Ramos-Viñolas vs David Ferrer

Semifinalist: David Ferrer

Photo: David Ferrer hitting a forehand shot (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Photo: David Ferrer hitting a forehand shot (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Fourth Quarter

The final quarter is headlined by number two seed Dominic Thiem in another packed draw. He faces the up an coming Andrey Rublev from Russia. The teenager has made a name for himself this year, reaching the US Open quarterfinals.

The Russian also captured a maiden ATP title in Umag, Croatia.The winner won't have it any easier as Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez go head-to-head.

Despite both struggling this year, they do have the weapons and the game to cause trouble and is one of the exciting round one tie of the whole draw. Kevin Anderson, the seventh seed faces Guillermo Garcia Lopez on his least favorite surface.

Saying that he won't lie down and will give the South African a tough match. Frenchman Lucas Pouille faces home talent Sebastian Ofner, who made a name for himself at Wimbledon when he defeated Jack Sock in five but expect Pouille to have too much power and to advance.

Quarterfinal: Lucas Pouille vs Dominic Thiem

Semifinalist: Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem gearing up to his his famous backhand (Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem gearing up to his famous backhand (Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images)
 

Semifinals: Zverev def. Kohlschreiber, Thiem def. Ferrer

Final: Thiem def. Zverev