Medvedev Seeks Vienna Title Defence; Turin-Chasing Rune Leads Basel Field

  • Posted: Oct 22, 2023

Medvedev Seeks Vienna Title Defence; Turin-Chasing Rune Leads Basel Field

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

With just three weeks to go until the Nitto ATP Finals, players continue to jockey for position in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. This week will see two ATP 500s provide opportunities for movement, with action at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna and the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Daniil Medvedev, who has already qualified for Turin, is set to lead the Vienna field as the top seed and defending champion. He will be joined by fellow Top 10 stars Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. Holger Rune is the best-placed of many Turin hopefuls in Basel, where Top 10 players Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz will also compete. looks at five things to watch at both events.

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1) Defending Champ Medvedev: Medvedev won the second of his two 2022 titles in Vienna 12 months ago. He enters the ATP 500 with five tour-level trophies to his name in 2023 — though he has not claimed a crown since his surprise May run on the clay of Rome. He will begin his tournament against in-form #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils.

2) Can Sinner Bring Beijing Best?: Jannik Sinner won his third title of 2023 earlier this month in Beijing and then qualified for his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals with an opening win in Shanghai. Entering Vienna at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of World No. 4, Sinner will bid for his 10th career tour-level title. The second seed this edition, the Italian reached the Vienna semi-finals in 2021.

3) Rublev, Tsitsipas, Zverev Can Inch Closer To Turin: Rublev, Tsitsipas and Zverev occupy fifth, sixth and seventh place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. As the three highest-placed men who have yet to clinch qualification, all three have a big opportunity in Vienna. They will hope to join the already-qualified Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Medvedev and Sinner at the Nitto ATP Finals.

They are seeded third through fifth in Vienna, where Rublev triumphed in 2020 and Zverev lifted the trophy in 2021.

4) Americans Paul, Tiafoe Among Chasing Pack: Currently on the outside looking in for a place in Turin, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe could start a late surge with a deep run in Vienna. Sixth seed Paul will try to secure his first win in Vienna against a qualifier, and seventh seed Tiafoe will face a tricky test against Briton Daniel Evans.

5) Koolhof/Skupski Lead Doubles Field: Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, the second-placed team in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, will be the top seeds in an intriguing Vienna doubles draw that also includes Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, and defending champions (and home favourites) Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler.

1) Rune Continues Quest For Turin Debut: Rune reached the title match last year in Basel, part of a run of four straight finals to close the 2022 season that included titles in Stockholm and Paris. This year, the Dane hopes to finish his season at the Nitto ATP Finals. He is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, clinging to the final qualifying spot by 145 points over ninth-placed Fritz.

Having won one match since Wimbledon, Rune will hope to find his form at the Swiss ATP 500 as he battles to maintain his position. The Dane also announced in the past week that he has hired a new coach: Boris Becker.

2) Fritz, Ruud Also In Turin Hunt: Last year at the Nitto ATP Finals, Ruud reached the final and Fritz made the semis in his debut. Both players are currently on the outside looking in, but could make their move in Basel.

Fritz made the quarter-finals at this tournament in 2018, and will hope for a deeper run this edition, beginning with a clash against Max Purcell. Second seed Ruud will look to bounce back from an early defeat to Marcos Giron in Tokyo. Last year as the second seed in Basel, he was beaten by home favourite Stan Wawrinka in the opening round. He will face a tough opening challenge against Alexander Bublik.

3) Can Hurkacz Recapture Shanghai Form?: Hubert Hurkacz stepped up his late bid to reach Turin by winning the Rolex Shanghai Masters title two weeks ago, saving a match point to beat Andrey Rublev in the final. But he was beaten three days later by Zhang Zhizhen in the Tokyo opening round.

With a few days off before he returns to action in Europe, can Hurkacz get back to the level that saw him soar in Shanghai? The Pole enters the week 11th in the Live Race, 335 points behind Rune.

4) De Minaur Seeks Fifth Final: Fifth seed Aussie Alex de Minaur reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 11 earlier this month on the strength of four final appearances this season, including a title in Acapulco. Another deep run could boost the 24-year-old’s hopes of qualifying for his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals. Currently 13th in the Live Race, he will need a deep run in Switzerland, where he will open against Diego Schwartzman.

5) Home Favourite Wawrinka Set For 16th Basel Appearance: Swiss legend Wawrinka has compiled a 15-14 record across 15 previous showings in Basel. He reached the quarter-finals in each of his past three appearances (2016, 2019, 2022) and twice reached the semis, in 2006 and 2011. The home hero will begin his event against a qualifier.

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