Scouting Report: The Key Things To Watch In Vienna & Basel
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour
The final two ATP 500 events of the season take centre stage this week. Two-time defending champion and top seed Roger Federer will bid to lift his 10th title at the Swiss Indoors Basel, while home favourite Dominic Thiem leads the way at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With 500 ATP Rankings points available to the champions at each event, the two European indoor tournaments could prove crucial in the ATP Race To London and ATP Race To Milan.
Things To Watch In Vienna
1) Top Seed Thiem: World No. 5 Dominic Thiem will make his 10th straight appearance in Vienna this year. The 26-year-old is hoping to advance past the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event for the first time. Thiem will be confident of success at home this year after lifting his first trophy on Austrian soil at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel two months ago.
2) Tsonga Returns: Thiem’s first-round opponent in Vienna will be 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Making his seventh appearance in Vienna this year, Tsonga has compiled a 15-5 record and reached three championship matches at this event. Tsonga is chasing his third indoor trophy of the year, after title runs at ATP 250 tournaments in Montpellier and Metz.
3) Matteo In The Race: Third seed Matteo Berrettini is aiming to pick up crucial points in the ATP Race To London. The 23-year-old currently occupies the eighth and final qualification spot, with a 40-point lead over ninth-placed Roberto Bautista Agut. Making his debut in Vienna, Berrettini will bid to reach his first indoor final on the ATP Tour.
4) More Tennis For Denis: Intrum Stockholm Open titlist Denis Shapovalov is back in action after lifting his maiden tour-level trophy in the Swedish capital on Sunday. The #NextGenATP Canadian did not drop a set en route to the ATP 250 title, but can expect to be tested in his opening match against Chengdu champion Pablo Carreno Busta. During his week in Stockholm, Shapovalov also qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals for the third straight year.
5) Going For No. 3: Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo are aiming to lift their third Vienna trophy as a team. The top seeds claimed back-to-back titles in the Austrian capital in 2015 and 2016 and enter the tournament in impressive form. The Polish-Brazilian pairing reached back-to-back finals in its two most recent events: Beijing and Shanghai.
Things To Watch In Basel
1) Welcome Home: Roger Federer is looking to lift his 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title this year. The World No. 3 — a former ball kid in Basel — has won his past 20 matches at this event and owns a 71-9 tournament record. Federer will contest his 1,500th tour-level match in the opening round against Peter Gojowczyk. The Swiss has reached the championship match in each of his 12 most recent appearances at the ATP 500 event.
2) Zverev Continues Push: Alexander Zverev can qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals this week if he wins the Basel title and other results go his way. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals titlist currently occupies seventh position in the ATP Race To London with just two places remaining at the elite eight-man event to be held at The O2 from 10-17 November. Zverev reached the semi-finals in Basel last year and will be aiming to lift his fourth ATP Tour indoor trophy.
3) The Chasing Pack: Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin and Fabio Fognini all feature in the Basel draw. They occupy positions 9-11 in the ATP Race To London and will be hoping to narrow the gap on Zverev and Berrettini with just two weeks remaining for players to book their spot in London.
4) Wild Card Copil: Last year’s runner-up Marius Copil returns to Basel as a wild card this year and will face Nitto ATP Finals contender Bautista Agut in the first round. The Romanian defeated two Top 10 players — Zverev and Marin Cilic — to reach his first ATP 500 final last year. Copil fell in straight sets to nine-time champion Federer in the championship match.
5) In-Form Germans: Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies enter Basel in form after capturing the European Open doubles trophy on Sunday. Krawietz and Mies are attempting to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time this year and currently occupy third place in the ATP Doubles Race To London. The German pairing has lifted three ATP Tour trophies this season.