2018 ATP Brisbane Preview and Predictions: Dimitrov and Murray Start Season Down Under
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP 250 on hard courts in Brisbane this week has the strongest field of the three ATP tournaments that kick off the 2018 season. Grigor Dimitrov looks to build off a career year in 2017, while Andy Murray and Milos Raonic hope to come back healthy in 2018. Aussie home hero Nick Kyrgios is also in the field and could make a run. Here is your full preview, with predictions of the Brisbane International in sunny Queensland.
Dimitrov, now a top 5 player, looks to build on his 49-19 season last year against either John Millman or a qualifier, Millman is a plucky challenger level player but he only had a handful of ATP level matches last year and Dimitrov should be too much for him. Besides Dimitrov, young guns dominate this section, Kyrgios should face young American Frances Tiafoe, Canada’s next big thing Denis Shapovalov takes on Kyle Edmund in a highlighted round 1 match, and Hyeon Chung takes on big serving veteran Gilles Muller to open his 2018 season. I have Shapovalov making a run and getting past both Edmund and Chung before falling to Dimitrov.Embed from Getty Images
Kyrgios, if engaged, should defeat Tiafoe or local Aussie Matt Ebden before taking on Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman’s path is Alex Dolgopolov and Horacio Zeballos/qualifier. The 25 year old won 38 matches last year, all of them at the tour level, and despite being undersized he showed plenty of big game on hard courts. That said, Kyrgios serve should help him reach the semis to face Dimitrov.Embed from Getty Images
Bottom Half:Embed from Getty Images
Canada’s top 2 are in Brisbane as Milos Raonic hopes to be fit in his opening match against either Steve Johnson or Alex De Minaur, a talented young wild card. Johnson could surprise, but Raonic is the favorite to reach the quarters and also beat Mischa Zverev/Federico Delbonis or one of two qualifiers.
Andy Murray had limited movement and played flat in an exo match in the Middle East last week, he starts off his ATP season in Brisbane but I have very low expectations. Ryan Harrison had a decent season in 2017 and I have him defeating both Leo Mayer and Murray before falling to Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, who won a pair of post US Open titles to end 2017. Dzumhur opens with Denis Istomin then he’ll face either 23 year old Jordan Thompson or 21 year old American hope Jared Donaldson, both of whom could be trouble.Embed from Getty Images
Dimitrov d. Kyrgios
Raonic d. Dzumhur
Given how he finished 2017 Dimitrov is the tournament favorite until proven otherwise. The bottom half is the weaker part of the draw, and if Raonic plays a decent caliber of hard court tennis he should take it.
Dimitrov d. Raonic
Look for Dimitrov to get off to a winning start in 2018