Dec/19

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ATP Top Seeds for Qatar Exxon Mobil Open

The 2020 ATP Tour kicks off in a big way with the Qatar Exxon Mobil on January 6 of next year at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

It seems like the season just ended. And when we say things like, ‘next year’ it seems far off, but the 2020 season is right around the corner.

When we look at the free tennis odds at SBR we see that Novak Djokovic is the odds on favorite to win at the Australian Open – the first Major of the year. So, if he enters in Qatar, he’s likely going to be favored there as well.

The fact that the World No. 2 would be the favorite should be no surprise. He has had massive success in Doha in the past. He won the event back-to-back in 2016 and 2017 to add to his earnings and his points. However, in the 2018 season, Novak Djokovic was sidelined due to an elbow injury and the title was won by the flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils.

The rest of the Big Four have won this event – Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal – but those three skipped Qatar during the 2019 season which leaves the title wide open to a range of contenders.

The draw isn’t fully lined out yet there some top contenders that we know are entered:

Stan Wawrinka

The Swiss player is the top seed so far in the tournament even though he is ranked No. 16 in the world. He had a tough draw last year, which hindered his path so maybe the highly-ranked veteran can take the tournament this time around.

Andre Rublev

The No. 23 ranked Russian is the second seed at the moment. And he should be considered a real threat in the event. He has wins over top players such as Wawrinka, Thiem, Federer, Tsitsipas, Tsonga. Last year he made the round of 16 here and the previous season he took runner-up.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga

The Frenchman will take the No. 3 seed. Could this be Tsonga’s year to really make a comeback? The last couple of seasons have been plagued with injury. Again, this is an athlete that we can never count out. He is one of only three people to have victories against each of the Big 4.

Milos Raonic

The Canadian takes the No. 4 seed in Qatar. He was absent from two of the Grand Slams last season but did make the quarter-finals in the Australian Open. He also showed his ability to make it all the way to the end of a massive tournament when he made it to the Finals in Wimbledon, losing to Andy Murray in three sets back in 2016. Against what looks to be a stilted field, Raonic has a chance to go far in Doha.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Roberto Bautista Agut was 10/1 to win in Qatar last year, and he ended up getting past Novak Djokovic to defeat Tomas Berdych in three sets in the Finals. So far, he isn’t listed as a main draw entrant, so we’ll have to wait and see if he comes back to defend.

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco is currently ranked 49th in the world but has ranked as high as the world No. 7 in the past. The 36-year-old has been a significant factor in the world of doubles tennis, but it’s been a while since he has really challenged in the singles division. In 2017 he reached the semi-finals in Doha with his partner Nicolas Almagro. He also played in the French Open doubles semi-finals that year. Back in 2013 he won the Year-End Championship doubles but hasn’t really been a factor in singles play since 2010 when he took runner-up at the ATP Masters in Monte Carlo. Still, we should expect him to compete for this year and offer some stiff resistance in the early rounds.

We’ll have to pay attention to the field as it gets fleshed out over the next couple of weeks to really know how this tournament might turn out. But at this point, Wawrinka looks like a good choice to at least make the Semis, along with Tsonga and perhaps Rublev.

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6 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 11, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Rock solid draw for an ATP 250. Hopefully Paes gets a WC into doubles. I think he’s run out of doubles partners or nobody is available or willing to commit to play with him. Verdasco ranked 49 at 36 is a very good effort.

  • jackson · December 11, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Djokovic isn’t the World No 1. Rafa is. Novak is playing the ATP Cup in Australia so he won’t be in Doha.

    Roberto Bautista Agut isn’t listed as a main draw entrant because he isn’t playing Doha either. He and Rafa are Spain’s team in the ATP Cup.

  • Hartt · December 12, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Jackson beat me to the punch with his comments. But this article does get me thinking about the new season. Poor Doha will be in the shadow of the ATP Cup, so am not sure how easy it will be to see the matches.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 12, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Serena’s broken smashed Wilson sells for $20,000. The buyer of Serena’s broken racket from the 2018 US Open Final, which was sold by @goldinauctions for $20K, was purchased by @TheHeathFreeman of Alden Global. Freeman owns Christian Laettner’s game-used jersey from the famous foul line heave in the Tourney game vs Kentucky. I have two smashed Kiki Mladenoic Wilson’s destroyed at Citi Open a couple of years ago for sale for $20,000 each 🙂

  • Krzysztof · December 15, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I have bought recently from Austrian ORF TV a very rare match between James Blake and Vincent Spadea from Vienna 2002. It was the match described by Vincent in his book when James accused Spadea of unsportsmanship when he took toilet break during the second set. It cost me 100 Euro but what a rarity!

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Krzysztof, some of the most memorable matches are those obscure forgotten ones. Tennis Channel and ESPN keep showing the same old majors year after year.

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