ATP St. Petersburg preview: Thiem, Fognini lead field into first post-US Open tournament
Credit: Michael Frey/Wikicommons

ATP St. Petersburg preview: Thiem, Fognini lead field into first post-US Open tournament

The ATP World Tour gets back into action after a week off for Davis Cup play with the 23rd edition of the St. Petersburg Open.

John Lupo

With the Grand Slam season completed and the ATP World Tour taking an immediate break for action in the Davis Cup semifinals, the tour is back in action with the St. Petersburg Open.

Defending champion Damir Dzumhur, 2017 finalist Fabio Fognini as well as Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem headline the field in one of two tournaments to be played this week, the other in Metz.

First quarter

Thiem is playing in his first tour event since his heartbreaking five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open quarter-finals. As the top seed in Russia, he receives a first-round bye before taking on homestanding Andrey Rublev or Jan-Lennard Struff, a semifinalist in 2017.

The other first-round matchups in the Austrian's section will see Mikhail Kukushkin, who reached the third round in Flushing Meadows, face Denis Istomin and Joao Sousa squares off with eighth seed Daniil Medvedev, who scored an upset of Stefanos Tsitispas in New York.

Prediction: Medvedev def. Thiem

Second quarter

This quarter is led by third seed Marco Cecchinato, who is enjoying a breakout season with his first two ATP Tour titles and a semifinal appearance at the French Open. With a bye in round one here, he'll meet either Marcos Baghdatis or Lukas Lacko in the second round.

Mirza Basic will face Mikhail Youzhny in what is one of the final tournaments of the Russian's career. Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut lost a third set tiebreaker in the semifinals to Fognini last year and he could repeat that showing in 2018. He faces a qualifier to start.

Prediction: Bautista Agut def. Cecchinato

Third quarter

This could be the most interesting quarter of the draw with the fourth seed Karen Khachanov leading the way. After a first-round bye, he could get an immediate test from 2016 finalist Stan Wawrinka should the Swiss get by Aljaz Bedene.

Dzumhur begins his title defense against a qualifier. His potential second round opponent could be Argentine Guido Pella or another qualifier. The Bosnian did the Russian double last fall also claiming the title in Moscow.

Prediction: Wawrinka def. Dzumhur

Fourth quarter

Second seed Fognini will look to go one better after falling short of the title last year after winning the first set against Dzumhur. He gets a first-round bye and will face either Evgeny Donskoy or the dangerous Martin Klizan in the second round. 

Seventh seed Denis Shapovalov is in this quarter and will begin against a qualifier. His second round opponent is either Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or rising young Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Prediction: Fognini def. Shapovalov

Semifinals: Medvedev def. Bautista Agut, Fognini def. Wawrinka

Final: Medvedev def. Fognini