A Race To The Finish In Vienna & Paris
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN BASEL
1. 500 Finales: The last of 13 ATP World Tour 500 events for the season take place this week in Basel and Vienna, where pivotal points are the prize in the Emirates ATP Races to London and Milan. The Nitto ATP Finals qualification cut-off is November 6 and the Next Gen ATP Finals cut-off is October 30.
2. Race for No. 1: Seven-time Swiss Indoors Basel champion Roger Federer enters his hometown tournament 1,960 points behind World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who is missing the event with a knee injury. Federer, who could still earn as many as 3,000 points by year’s end, remains in contention to finish as World No. 1 for the sixth season. Nadal is seeking his fourth year-end No. 1 ranking.
3. Basel’s Boy: Federer has reached the Basel final in 10 straight appearances (2006-15) and played in more finals at Basel than any other tournament (7-5). The Swiss started his five-match win streak against Nadal by beating the Spaniard in the 2015 Basel final. Federer, 36, is making his 17th main draw appearance at his hometown event and earned his first ATP qualifying win here 20 years ago.
4. Cilic the Champ: In Federer’s absence last year, Marin Cilic emerged as the new Swiss Indoors Basel champion. The Croat returns this week as the No. 2 seed behind Federer and the No. 6 player in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Cilic is trying to qualify for his third Nitto ATP Finals.
5. Spoiler Alert: Champions from 10 of the past 11 years are back in Basel this week, including No. 4 seed Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Federer in the 2012 and 2013 finals. The Stockholm champion is within 470 points of Pablo Carreno Busta for the final spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.
6. Back in the Mix: No. 3 seed David Goffin is on pace to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals despite missing six weeks this season with an ankle injury. Goffin rose from No. 13 to No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Race to London on October 9 after winning back-to-back titles at Shenzhen and Tokyo.
7. ATP’s Iron Man: No player in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings has played more tournaments in 2017 than Paolo Lorenzi. Basel marks Lorenzi’s 33rd tournament of the season. Lorenzi, who celebrates his 36th birthday on December 15, is the fifth-oldest player in the Top 100.
8. All Eyes on Milan: Basel players Denis Shapovalov, Jared Donaldson and Borna Coric are on pace to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Hyeon Chung is also in the Basel field, but 12 points behind Daniil Medvedev for the final spot. Medvedev is playing at a Challenger event this week.
9. Wild Cards: Swiss players Marco Chiudinelli and Henri Laaksonen received wild cards along with #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe. The 19-year- old Tiafoe, who faces Federer in the first round, needs to reach the semi-finals for any chance of competing at the Next Gen ATP Finals.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN VIENNA
1. 500 Finales: The other ATP World Tour 500 event takes place this week in Vienna, with points on offer having a crucial bearing in the Emirates ATP Races to London and Milan. The Nitto ATP Finals qualification cut-off is November 6 and the Next Gen ATP Finals cut-off is October 30.
2. Two Races Won: Erste Bank Open 500 No. 1 seed Alexander Zverev has qualified for both the Nitto ATP Finals and Next Gen ATP Finals. The 20-year-old German counts ATP World Tour Masters 1000s at Rome and Montreal among his five titles in 2017. Zverev is the youngest player to win an ATP Masters 1000, break into the Top 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and earn five titles in a season since Novak Djokovic in 2007.
3. Thiem’s Travails: No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem is up to a career-high No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. But the Austrian is just 5-6 on home soil at the Erste Bank Open 500. His struggles in Vienna may have less to do with location and more to do with timing. Thiem is 11-19 throughout his career during the months of October and November, never reaching a semi-final after September.
4. London Calling: While Thiem and Zverev have already booked their tickets to London, No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov is next in line for Nitto ATP Finals qualification. Dimitrov accepted a wild card and will make his Vienna debut this week. He started the season 16-1 and is 14-4 since August 14.
5. Down to the Wire: No. 4 seed Pablo Carreno Busta would be the eighth Nitto ATP Finals qualifier if the season ended today. But the Spaniard is in the midst of a four-match losing streak. Carreno Busta leads No. 6 seed Sam Querrey by 80 points and No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson by 135 points.
6. American Pride: Querrey is attempting to qualify for his first Nitto ATP Finals and finish a season as the No. 1 American for the first time. The 6-foot-6 Californian is 620 race points ahead of No. 5 seed John Isner, who has ended each of the past five seasons as the top player from the United States.
7. Comeback Kev: Since the start of 2016, Anderson has endured injuries to his ankle, elbow, groin, hip, knee and shoulder. He fell to No. 80 on January 16, 2017 and was No. 32 when he became the lowest-ranked US Open finalist in history. Anderson returned to the Top 15 on September 11.
8. Hit or Miss: No. 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has won more than 30 matches in 10 straight seasons. But 2017 has been an up-and-down year for the Frenchman. On one hand, he has captured a career-high four titles. On the other, he has lost his opening match at five tournaments.
9. Milan Bound: All three men who have already qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals are competing in Vienna this week: Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov. Wild card Sebastian Ofner, a 21-year- old Austrian, must win the Erste Bank Open 500 championship for a chance at qualifying.
10. Double the Pressure: Unseeded teams Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, and Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas are battling with three teams competing in Basel for the last-remaining Nitto ATP Finals spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London.