Famous for its large population of pandas, the city of Chengdu gets ready to host the second edition of its ATP 250 tournament, with Shenzen also playing host to the ATP Tour this week. Boasting some ultra-modern facilities and a spectator capacity of 6,000 on the centre court, Chengdu is one of the four tournaments to be held in China. The ATP 500 tournament in Beijing and of course, the premier Masters tournament in Shanghai to follow. The field has an interesting mix of young talent and local names of whom the crowd will have huge expectations. But who will take home the trophy and strike a pose with the pandas?
Austrian #1 and top ten stalwart Dominic Thiem will be the top seed at Chengdu for the second year running. Russian defending champion Karen Khachanov is the 3rd seed. Meanwhile, Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas, who has had two wins over top ten players this year on clay (Marin Cilic and Andy Murray) is the 2nd seed.
Russia’s Next Gen star Andrey Rublev, who took out both Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin at the US Open, is seeded 4th. Yuichi Sugita, who has been impressive on hard courts of late, is the fifth seed and Kyle Edmund, who reached the semifinals in his previous two ATP 250 tournaments, is 6th seed. However, Edmund’s fitness could be a factor considering he retired in tears from the US Open due to a neck problem. Serbia’s Victor Troicki, who was absent from his country’s Davis Cup semifinal squad two weeks ago is seeded 7th. Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, who won the German Open title in Hamburg two months ago completes the tournament seedings.
Other notable names who could surprise include Next Gen’s Borna Coric, who took out Alexander Zverev at the US Open and Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis, who can never be counted out of any of such smaller tournaments. Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who reached the semifinals in St Petersburg last week, also could be one to watch.
First round match to watch
The first round meeting between sixth seed Edmund and Australia’s Bernard Tomic looks particularly interesting. Both players like to mix up their approaches and shots and frustrate the opponent. Tomic has a better backhand slice but Edmund has the slightly more reliable serve of the two. How the languid Tomic deals with Edmund’s huge forehand will also be interesting. The Australian has had a miserable season so far, falling out of the top 10. It remains to be seen how far he has recollected himself after his widely criticized public outbursts.
Dominic Thiem played well in his only match at the inaugural Laver Cup last week. Despite having a fairly forgettable few months, the top seed looks to have regained his composure and form. The rest of the field is no match to the Austrian if he is at his highest level. Thiem to win his ninth career title.
Who do you think will triumph in Chengdu? Let us know in the comments below!
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