2018 ATP Sydney Preview and Predictions: Simon and De Minaur Look to Continue Momentum
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The Sydney International, a 250 on hard courts, is one of the final two ATP tournaments before the 2018 Australian Open. it doesn’t have an elite field by any measure but it is wide open for a new ATP champion to emerge.
Top Half:Embed from Getty Images
It’s a great draw for wild card Jordan Thompson, Thompson faces dirtballer Paolo Lorenzi, who hasn’t won a match since the US Open last year, then he should go up against top seed Albert Ramos, who isn’t the most comfortable on hard courts either. Gilles Simon was an effective brick wall in Pune, he took home the title and presuming fitness he should defeat Jared Donaldson. Given the fatigue factor I have him falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarters. Kohlschreiber had a solid year on hard court last season and he should be fresher than Simon and also better than Thompson.
Alexandr Dolgopolov played very well in Brisbane, winning a pair of matches and reaching the quarters. His first round opponent Viktor Troicki is struggling so he should win that and also defeat Italy’s Fabio Fognini, another streaky player on hard courts. Adrian Mannarino had a career year in 2017 winning 33 matches at the ATP level and he should build on that in 2018. I have Mannarino making a run, beating a qualifier, Alex Bolt/qualifier, and Dolgopolov to reach the semis.Embed from Getty Images
Wild card John Millman has a solid draw to look forward to, Gilles Muller continues to struggle and he’s the #2 seed. Millman should beat a qualifier and then Muller to slide into the quarters opposite Benoit Paire. I back Paire to defeat Aljaz Bedene and Mischa Zverev/Leo Mayer to reach the quarters. Paire played well in Pune reaching the semis. I’ll pick Paire to reach the semis, he certainly has the ability.Embed from Getty Images
Diego Schwartzman didn’t win a match in Brisbane, but Feliciano Lopez was disappointing on hard courts last year and didn’t start the year great either. I’ll back Schwartzman to reach the quarters opposite Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco has a tough opening match against Brisbane semifinalist Alex De Minaur who will have the fans fully in his corner. Fatigue should play a factor though, and Verdasco finished 2017 strong and played solid in Doha. Look for Verdasco to defeat J.L. Struff or Damir Dzumhur in round 2, and then Schwartzman in the quarters.Embed from Getty Images
Mannarino d. Kohlschreiber
Verdasco d. Paire
Mannarino’s steadily improving and tricky game should earn him an ATP title this week in a wide open field. Verdasco has a great forehand against Paire’s amazing backhand and that match could go either way.
Mannarino d. Verdasco