Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the Vienna and Basel tournaments happening this week.
Welcome to the conclusion of the tennis season, where the events unfold all at once.
Welcome to the part of the season, where the tournaments unfold at a quick-fire pace in order to seemingly be able to keep pace with the calendar before the season ends. You see, every beginning of the season we seem to have all the weeks and all the time in the world but then as the end of the season nears, the script gets flipped: there seems to be entirely too many events on the calendar for the time left to play them.
So what happens? Well you get a couple of Masters 500 in countries close to one another unfolding at the same time.
In any case, welcome to the end of the 2019 season. This week, we’re going to look at the main draws of both Masters 500 events in Basel and Vienna, two events of the same stature stuck on the very same week on the tennis calendar. As usual, our predictions will be wrong at just about every turn.
Unfortunately, Andy Murray is at neither event this week. Sad. The Brit, if you were living under a rock last weekend, one where they don’t play tennis, managed to snag his first title since 2017 and about eight months after getting an on-court retirement ceremony?
We’re entirely too thrilled for Murray—and hopefully this isn’t the last we hear of him.
Here in Vienna in his hometown, Dominic Thiem lords over the main draw at the event in the city where he was developed as a player when he started playing tennis. That said, he’s not getting any preferential treatment even if he’s playing in front of his home crowd: he’ll need to earn and fight for any match he wins, and just making the quarterfinals should be a tall enough order. Joining the hometown hero there would be a talented Canadian, a newly-crowned one at that.
As for the lower half of this draw, it’s a sort of hodgepodge of capable but highly irregular players as well as a handful of players who will have had to go through the qualifying draw. We’re giving the edge here to Gael Monfils and Karen Khachanov but we certainly don’t feel confident about either.
Quarterfinals: Dominic Thiem over Denis Shapovalov; Felix Auger-Aliassime over Matteo Berrettini; Gael Monfils over Feliciano Lopez; Karen Khachanov over Sam Querrey
Semifinals: Dominic Thiem over Felix Auger-Aliassime; Karen Khachanov over Gael Monfils
Final: Dominic Thiem over Karen Khachanov
Discover everything you need to know ahead of the @ErsteBankOpen and Swiss Indoors Basel. ?
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— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 20, 2019
This week in Basel, Roger Federer will step on the courts and be showered with praise, adulation and love from the sea of adoring fans ready to cheer on their hero. Sure, this time the fans will be from his native Switzerland but odds are that it’ll just feel exactly like another day at the office for the sport’s most decorated player.
He’ll be fine: the tournament is in his native country and the draw is tricky enough, though it’s not a challenge he shouldn’t be able to overcome. Let’s pencil Federer in for the title and work our way backward from there.
Quarterfinals: Roger Federer over Stanislas Wawrinka; Stefanos Tsitsipas over Laslo Djere; David Goffin over Richard Gasquet; Alexander Zverev over Jan-Lennard Struff
Semifinals: Roger Federer over Stefanos Tsitsipas; Alexander Zverev over David Goffin
Final: Roger Federer over Alexander Zverev
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG