Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Medvedev Make Beijing Debuts; Bublik Home In Astana

  • Posted: Sep 26, 2023

Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Medvedev Make Beijing Debuts; Bublik Home In Astana

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

Eight of the Top 10 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings are set to compete at the China Open in Beijing, including debutants Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. In addition to the star-studded ATP 500, this week will also see ATP 250 action at the Astana Open, where home favourite Alexander Bublik joins Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem in the field. looks ahead at 10 things to watch this week.

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1) Alcaraz Returns To Action:
 Alcaraz is set for his first tournament since his semi-final defeat to Medvedev at the US Open. The Spaniard enters Beijing just 770 points behind Novak Djokovic in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, which also serves as a barometre for the battle for ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. With strong results in Beijing and the following week at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, Alcaraz could leave Asia in fist place in the Live Race. He will face a qualifier in the first round in Beijing.

2) Medvedev Seeks To Extend Hard-Court Dominance: Medvedev has earned 38 hard-court wins this season, with the World No. 3 claiming four titles in 2023 on his favourite surface. Prior to his run to the US Open final, the 27-year-old’s hard-court form peaked earlier this season when he reached five straight ATP Tour finals, winning four titles, capped with a trophy at the Miami ATP Masters 1000 in early April. The Beijing second seed will need to be ready from the first point as he opens against World No. 13 Tommy Paul.

3) Rune, Sinner Seek Consistency: The 20-year-old Holger Rune and the 22-year-old Jannik Sinner are both in the top eight of both the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and the Pepperstone ATP Live Rice To Turin — but their positions are flipped across the two. World No. 4 Rune is clinging onto the all-important eighth spot in the Live Race, while World No. 7 Sinner is in fourth place in the Live Race, with a 1,310-point cushion over the Dane. They are seeded to meet in the quarter-finals in Beijing. Rune will open against Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sinner faces Daniel Evans.

4) Laver Cup Stars Make Trip To Asia: A host of Laver Cup competitors will make the journey from Vancouver to Beijing this week, including Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from Team Europe and Auger-Aliassime and Paul from champions Team World. Stefanos Tsitsipas, who withdrew from Laver Cup with injury, is also in the ATP 500 field.

5) Zverev, Murray Among Other Big Names: The Beijing field has star power from top to bottom. World No. 12 Alexander Zverev will make the trip after a run to the Chengdu title, while Andy Murray travels from Zhuhai, where he was beaten by Aslan Karatsev in three sets in the second round. Murray opens against Alex de Minaur and could play Medvedev in the second round.

1) Griekspoor Seeks Third Title: 
After winning the first two titles of his career this season in Pune and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Tallon Griekspoor hopes to continue his breakout season in Astana. He enters the event as the top seed, at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 24.

2) Home Favourite Bublik: Kazakhstan’s Bublik has not won a singles match since his run to the Wimbledon fourth round (0-4). The 26-year-old will bid to get back on track with the support of the Kazakhstani fans in his home nation’s capital. The third seed will open against Marton Fucsovics or Sebastian Ofner

3) Wawrinka, Thiem Add More Star Power: Both Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem are competing in their first ATP Tour event since the US Open. Wawrinka reached the third round in New York (l. to Sinner) and then split a pair of Davis Cup matches, while Thiem was forced to retire in the US Open second round with an abdominal issue. The Swiss and Austrian could meet in the second round at the ATP 250 in a battle of former major champions.

4) Lehecka, Korda Lead Youth Movement: The 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka and the 23-year-old Sebastian Korda are both former Next Gen ATP Finals runners-up — Lehecka this past season (l. to Nakashima) and Korda in 2021 (l. to Alcaraz). Both will be among the seeds in Astana, with Korda entering after a semi-final run in Zhuhai.

5) Murray/Venus Lead Doubles Field: Jamie Murray and Michael Venus are the top seeds in the doubles draw, fresh off winning their fourth title of the season together in Zhuhai. The doubles field also includes Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow and the British-Finnish pairing of Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

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