ATP Tour action continues this week in Vienna and St. Petersburg, where some of the sport’s biggest stars will be in action.
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the way at the Erste Bank Open, where he will be able to get revenge against the player who defeated him last year in Vienna. Andrey Rublev, the most recent player to earn his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, will try to claim a trophy on home soil at the St. Petersburg Open.
ATPTour.com looks at what you should watch in the week ahead.
View Draws: Vienna | St. Petersburg
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN VIENNA
1) Tsitsipas Top Seed: The top seed is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will play in the Erste Bank Open for the second time. The Greek made his debut last year, when he fell in three sets against 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov. The pair will meet in the first round of the ATP 500 this year.
Tsitsipas has already won two titles this season — in Monte Carlo and Lyon — and will attempt to add a third in Austria. The second seed is Alexander Zverev, who will compete in Vienna main draw for the second time (2017).
2) FedEx ATP Race To Turin Heating Up: Five players have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, and the Erste Bank Open will be critical for those trying to claim one of the final three spots. Matteo Berrettini (4,000 points) is in strong position to qualify, and he is the third seed in Austria. Casper Ruud, who is seventh in the Race (3,015), has a tough opener in Vienna against in-form South African Lloyd Harris.
Hubert Hurkacz, who is ninth in the Race, currently occupies the final qualifying position (2,955), as eighth-placed Rafael Nadal is out for the season due to a foot injury. But just 110 points behind the Pole is Jannik Sinner (2,845), who claimed his fourth title of the season in Antwerp. Sinner could play Ruud in the quarter-finals.
Eleventh-placed Cameron Norrie (2,795), the Indian Wells winner, and 12th-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime (2,330) will need big efforts at the Erste Bank Open to keep pace.
3) Murray Leads Former Champs: One of the three wild cards was given to Andy Murray, who will compete in Vienna for the third time. The Scot has won the tournament twice (2014 and 2016), and has an 8-0 record at the event. He will face a familiar foe in Hurkacz, who defeated him earlier this year in Cincinnati and Metz.
Another former champion playing the ATP 500 is Kevin Anderson, who triumphed here in 2018. The South African battled through qualifying to earn his place in the main draw, in which he will play Australian Alex de Minaur.
4) First-Round Blockbusters: There are plenty of popcorn first-round matches in Vienna, including three meetings between current or former Top 10 players: Tsitsipas faces former World No. 3 Dimitrov, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman plays former World No. 9 Fabio Fognini and fifth seed Hurkacz chases another win against former World No. 1 Murray.
Other first-round matches to watch include Gael Monfils against #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti, seventh seed Sinner plays big-serving American Reilly Opelka and #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz challenges Briton Daniel Evans.
5) Doubles Showdown: The doubles field is loaded in Vienna, where Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the top seeds. The Croatians have won nine tour-level titles this season, but they have not triumphed since the Tokyo Olympics. US Open champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who like the top seeds have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, are the second seeds. Teams to watch include home favourite Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Zverev, and Tsitsipas and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ST. PETERSBURG
1) Rublev Defending Champion: Rublev is the reigning titlist in both St. Petersburg and Vienna, but he will try to retain his trophy on home soil in St. Petersburg. The Russian owns an 8-4 record at the event, where he also made the quarter-finals in 2019. Rublev, who has won two of his eight ATP Tour titles on home soil, will open his run against Winston-Salem winner Ilya Ivashka or Serbian Laslo Djere.
2) Karatsev In Form: Aslan Karatsev will make his Top 20 debut this week at the St. Petersburg Open, as he looks to win back-to-back titles in Russia. The 2021 breakthrough star triumphed on Sunday in Moscow, where he did not lose a set in the tournament. Fourth-seeded Karatsev will make this third main draw appearance at this event (1-2) and begin his run against Australian John Millman or wild card Yshai Oliel of Israel.
3) Second Seed Shapovalov: Denis Shapovalov is the second seed in St. Petersburg, where he has enjoyed success in the past. The dynamic Canadian advanced to the semi-finals in 2019 and the quarter-finals in 2018. The 22-year-old lefty will chase his second ATP Tour trophy this week. He opens against Spaniard Pablo Andujar or Argentine Federico Delbonis.
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4) Seeded Americans: Two of the eight seeds in the singles draw are Americans: fifth seed Taylor Fritz and eighth seed Sebastian Korda. Fritz is fresh off his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells, and he is playing here for the second time. Korda, who lifted his maiden ATP Tour trophy this year in Parma, is making his debut.
5) Murray/Soares Pushing For Turin: Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares have played in the Nitto ATP Finals together on three previous occasions, and they are trying to make it four this year. Currently eighth in the FedEx ATP Doubles Race To Turin, Murray and Soares can improve their standing this week in St. Petersburg, where they are the top seeds.