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11 Feb 2018

New York Open Preview and Prediction: Who will win inaugural tournament?

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Who’s playing?

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First round matches to watch

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Prediction

(Photo credit: Stephen Pisano)

The first ever New York Open begins this week as the tournament replaces the Memphis Open in the ATP calendar. Of course, tennis most famously visits New York for the US Open in late August, but there is hope that the New York Open will be able to attract big crowds of its own. A little way removed from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, the New York Open will be played on Long Island at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on a matte black court. But who will lift the title?

Who’s playing?

The New York Open features a strong field, with many of America’s leading ATP players in the draw. But it is South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, the world #11, who leads the way. Anderson, last year the finalist in New York, will be hoping that New York is again favourable to him. He will surely feel that his powerful game, particularly a monstrous serve, can fire him all the way to a fourth career title. Certainly a pre-tournament favourite.

Leading the American charge is the man ranked one spot behind Anderson, Sam Querrey. Querrey had another impressive year in 2017, particularly at Wimbledon where he again defeated a reigning world #1 and he went on to make his first ever Major semifinal. He also reached the last eight at the US Open and will surely have the support of the New York crowd.

John Isner, ranked 18th in the world, is the third and final member of the top twenty to have made the trip to New York. Isner plays some of his best tennis on home soil, having made his only Slam quarterfinal at the US Open as well as winning 10 of his 12 career titles in America. Surprisingly, considering his big serve, he is not always at his best on fast courts, but that serve is such a weapon that he can at times be unplayable. Could this week see another Isner run?

Frenchman Adrian Mannarino has never won a Tour-level title, but came close last year, making the final at the inaugural Antalya Open. He will be hoping that the first-time luck extends from Turkey to New York and with his unusual game making him a tough opponent for anyone, who is to say it won’t. One man who will be missing Memphis is Kei Nishikori, who won the title in Tennessee four times in a row. But perhaps New York will be as happy a hunting ground for the 2014 US Open finalist.

Two more Americans, Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson will be amongst the seeds in New York. Harrison was the last champion in Memphis, winning his first and so far only title there last year. More recently he made the third round in Melbourne and has been playing some good tennis this year. He may fancy another title this week. Johnson had an emotional 2017 with the death of his father having a huge impact and has struggled lately. Seems a long shot for the title in New York, but stranger things have happened.

There is also young American talent present, with Australian Open junior champion Sebastian Korda to make his ATP debut in New York. The giant Reilly Opelka will also be in the draw as is former junior Wimbledon champion and All-American Noah Rubin. All three are wildcards.

First round matches to watch

The clash between American young guns Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda looks a good one. Tiafoe has been growing into a fine touring professional over the last year and a half with his highlight probably when he extended Federer to five sets on Arthur Ashe. But it will be a different challenge for him against Korda when he is the ‘veteran’ comparatively. As for Korda, how he reacts to his ATP debut will be interesting for those who have followed the young man’s career so far.

Ivo Karlovic’s match against Jared Donaldson is also an interesting clash. The big serving Croatian has been speaking to the media recently about how he feels he has more left to offer the sport, despite his advancing years. That desire will be tested against Donaldson, with the young American an excellent scrambler and very consisted from the baseline.

Prediction

John Isner seems to have a way of getting it done on home soil, although most of his exploits have come during the summer North American hard court swing, rather than earlier in the year. None the less, he seems the most likely man to pick up the title with Anderson and Querrey’s form uncertain and Kei Nishikori working his way back from injury. But it is certainly an open draw and there could be chances for an unfavoured name to take advantage.

Who do you think will lift the first New York Open title? Let us know in the comments below!