Five Unseeded Players To Watch Out For In The Men’s Draw At The Australian Open - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Five Unseeded Players To Watch Out For In The Men’s Draw At The Australian Open

Meet the unseeded players hoping to cause a stir at Melbourne Park.

Avatar

Published

on

Whilst the limelight will be on the prestigious Big Three at Melbourne Park, there is a group of underdogs in the men’s draw hoping that they can make their mark. 

 

A mixture of former grand slam finalists and rising stars pose a threat to the higher-ranked players in the men’s draw. Last year the best performance by an unseeded male player was Frances Tiafoe, who reached the quarter-finals. 

Here is a look at five underdogs who could pose a threat. 

Kevin Anderson 

A two-time Grand Slam runner-up, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson is still on the comeback from injury. Missing six months of the 2019 season due to a knee problem. He returned to action earlier this month at the ATP Cup, where he managed to take Novak Djokovic to two tiebreakers before losing his opening match. Following that, he scored victories over Benoit Paire and Christian Garin. 

“My biggest ambition is to get back into top-10. My best ranking is top-5, so I would like to get back there.” Anderson told reporters at the ATP Cup.
“But the two biggest goals is I want to win a Masters series. I feel like that’s something that I’m definitely a good enough tennis player to do that. I’ve put myself in good positions but haven’t quite taken that step. And then, obviously, the grand prize in tennis, a Grand Slam.”

The 33-year-old will open up his campaign against Ilya Ivashka. Then further in the draw, he could take on seeds Taylor Fritz and Dominic Thiem in the following two rounds. He is yet to play Fritz but interestingly holds a winning 7-2 head-to-head advantage over Thiem. 

Anderson is making his 13th appearance in Melbourne. His best run was to the fourth round of the tournament three consecutive times between 2013-2015. Last year he lost in the second round to Frances Tiafoe. 

Casper Ruud

Norway’s top player Casper Ruud has been slowly gathering momentum on the tour in recent weeks. At the ATP Cup, the 21-year-old broke new territory by scoring wins over top 20 players John Isner and Fabio Fognini. The first time in his career he has defeated top 20 opposition. 

“It’s great feedback for me to play three very good matches at the beginning of the year,” Ruud commented about his opening tournament. 
“I think this has been a very good start of the year and not practice but a good way to start before Melbourne.” He added. 

Playing in the Australian Open main draw for only the second time in his career, Ruud will start his campaign against world No.98 Egor Gerasimov. Somebody who has only ever won one main draw match at grand slam level. Should he get through his opening match, the Norweigan could play seventh seed Alexander Zverev. Zverev, who is currently trying to find his form on the court, is yet to win a match in 2020 after suffering three losses at the ATP Cup. 

Marin Cilic 

Whilst he has been far from his best in recent months, nobody should ever dismiss the threat posed by somebody as talented as Marin Cilic. Experiencing a rollercoaster 2019 season marred by injury, the former US Open champion now finds himself ranked 39th in the world. Placing him in danger of exiting the world’s top 40 for the first time since October 2013. Nevertheless, the 2018 runner-up in Melbourne is hoping he can return to his best. 

“I love the conditions (in Australia), I love the heat, the dry heat. That’s always been very beneficial for my game, as well. Hopefully, it’s going to turn out well in the Australian Open, too.” He told reporters on January 2nd. 

Cilic is set for a stern test early on at the Australian Open when he played Corentin Moutet in his opening match. Moutet is one of France’s most promising rising stars and recently reached his maiden ATP final in Doha. Also lurking is his section is Benoit Paire and Roberto Bautista Agut. 

Only once has Cilic lost in the first round of the tournament which was in his debut back in 2007. Heading into this year’s tournament, he has won 29 out of 40 matches played at the tournament. 

Jannik Sinner

The Italian sensation is the youngest player in the top 100 at the age of 18 and has already got the attention of many. Being described by John McEnroe as ‘one of the most talented kids in the last 10 years.’ Sinner broke through on the tour last year by winning Challenger titles in America and Italy. Then in November, he claimed the biggest trophy of his career by triumphing at the Next Gen Finals on home soil. 

Unfortunately for Sinner, he is yet to gain momentum in 2020 after losing his opening matches at two consecutive tournaments. In Canberra, he fell to Finnish world No.104 Emil Ruusuvuori. Then he Auckland he was bowed out by Paire. 

“The season, I didn’t start it as I wanted. We didn’t play so many matches before the Australian Open, so it’s not going to be easy for me. But I think we practiced well. Our off-season, we put in a lot of work so I feel great on-court… I felt here we especially tried to practice with the best guys,” Sinner told atptour.com. “Day after day, I feel better on the court, and we will see. The matches are always a little bit different, but hopefully, I can feel better than the first two matches.”

The Next Gen star will play Max Purcell in the first round. 

Ugo Humbert


After a disappointing start to 2020, France’s Ugo Humbert has found his form at the right time. Losing his second match at a challenger tournament in Canberra as the top seed, he then exceeded expectations at the ASB Classic in Auckland. The 21-year-old claimed his maiden ATP title after scoring a trio of high-profile wins. Getting the better of Denis Shapovalov, John Isner and Paire. Three players he had previously lost to. 

“I don’t know if I realize what I did but I am extremely happy,” Humbert commented on winning his maiden title. “It was tough, really tough, and emotional as well. It was a lot of work, a lot of improvement with my coach, in the pre-season and the months before.”

Humbert is currently ranked 57th in the world but did break into the top 50 last July. Besides his triumph in New Zealand, he has also won six Challenger titles since 2018. 

The Australian Open will be only the sixth grand slam main draw the Frenchman has featured in. He will play home favorite John Milman in the first round. Should he make it through to the last 32 in Melbourne, he could play Roger Federer. 

ATP

‘On This Surface I’m Only Inferior To Nadal’ – Pablo Carreno Busta Fires Warning at French Open

The world No.18 explains why he has very high expectations for Paris this year.

Avatar

Published

on

Pablo Carreno Busta in action against Alexander Zverev during a men's singles Semifinal match at the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Simon Bruty/USTA)

Pablo Carreno Busta believes he has what it takes to pose a serious threat at this year’s French Open following his recent success in North America.

 

The world No.18 heads into Paris less than a month after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time in his career. Carreno Busta boasted a two-set lead over Alexander Zverev to close in on his first major final before the German fought back to clinch the match. Prior to the run, he also won the men’s doubles title at the Western and Southern Open alongside Alex de Minaur.

Taking to the court at Roland Garros on Monday, Carreno Busta eased to a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, win over Australia’s John Milman in the first round. Producing 34 winners and breaking his opponent eight times en route to the win in the night-time encounter. Speaking to reporters afterwards, the 17th seed believes he has what it takes to go deep in the draw.

“I have a very high level, on this surface I am not inferior to anyone, except perhaps Rafa,” EFE quoted Carreno Busta as saying.
“If I am one hundred percent and I am brave and aggressive I am dangerous and it is not easy for them (other players) to beat me. It is what I have to try to do.”

It was at Roland Garros where the 29-year-old made his Grand Slam debut back in 2013. Since then his best run in the tournament was to the quarter-finals in 2017. Overall, Carreno Busta has won 11 out of 18 main draw matches played but has only managed to progress to the second week once in his seven previous attempts.

The next test for the Spaniard will be Argentina’s Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, in his opening match. Pella achieved a ranking high of 20th last year and his only title was on the clay was in Sao Paulo.

“It will be a very difficult game, perhaps more than today (Monday),” he previewed.
“I have to face the game the same, be solid and aggressive. It will be long, but I have played matches like that.”

Regardless of what happens over the coming days, Carreno Busta says he is happy to be playing once again following the break. The ATP Tour was stopped for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why the French Open is taking place later than usual in trickier conditions due to the cooler weather.

“It has been a very complicated year for all of us, there were moments when we did not know if we were going to be able to play. The important thing is that we are playing,” he states.

Carreno Busta is one of three Spanish players to be seeded in the men’s draw this year along with Nadal (2) and Roberto Bautista Agut (10).

Carreno Busta’s French Open record

2013 – R1
2014 – R1
2015 – R2
2016 – R2
2017 – QF
2018 – R3
2019 – R3

Continue Reading

ATP

Felix Auger-Aliassime Blasts Own Performance After French Open Misery

The Canadian says he didn’t play good enough in what was his main draw debut at the event.

Avatar

Published

on

Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime said he failed to ‘step up’ after crashing out in the first round of the French Open.

 

The 19th seed struggled to find a range throughout his 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, loss to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in what was his first ever main draw appearance at Roland Garros at the age of 20. A below-par Auger-Aliassime produced six double faults and hit 58 unforced errors During what was a frustrating encounter. The Canadian also had 13 chances to break the Nishioka serve but only managed to convert twice.

“He played good. Also, I wasn’t good, and I could have been better on many of those opportunities,” the world No.22 said after the match.
“I give him credit and I take responsibility for that because I just felt like there were too many times where I just didn’t step up and played a decent point.”

Trying to find an explanation for his latest defeat on the Tour, Auger-Aliassime admits that he is unable to provide a specific reason. It is his fourth first round loss at a Grand Slam.

“The issue wasn’t technically. The issue could have been mentally, tactically,” he reflected.
“You always see what you could do better but when you’re in the moment you try your best. You try to win, but sometimes it’s not enough, you’re not good enough on the day.’
“Now it’s past me and I’ve got to accept that. It’s not easy. It’s tough. I felt like today I was just not playing good enough.”

Monday’s loss caps off what has been a somewhat disappointing clay court swing for the Next Gen star. Since reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, Auger-Aliassime has only won one match in three tournaments played on the clay. Doing so at the German Open against Lorenzo Sonego.

“I had some good moments last clay-court tournaments in juniors, challengers, etc. This year there have been three tournaments, three complicated tournaments for me,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played on clay, I haven’t had time to adjust and train.
“I could have done better, there was no reason. It’s obvious to everyone and myself that I haven’t been able to adapt and do what it takes to play better and win matches.”

Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player currently ranked inside the top 50 on the ATP Tour. The French Open was only his sixth appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

Continue Reading

ATP

Marin Cilic Undeterred By French Open Loss But Wary Of The Next Generation

The former Grand Slam winner was in a reflective mood following his exit from Roland Garros.

Avatar

Published

on

Despite a brief stay at this year’s French Open an upbeat Marin Cilic believes there are more positives than negatives when it comes to his current form.

 

The former top 10 player crashed out in the first round on Monday to recently crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem. The showdown saw the Austrian prevail in straight sets to hand Cilic his earliest loss in the tournament since 2016. A bitter pill to swallow for a player who reached back-to-back quarter-finals in 2017 and 2018.

Although Cilic, who turned 32 on Monday, believes there is a silver lining to his latest match and he has ironically gained some confidence. It is the second time he has lost to Thiem in as many months after also doing so in New York.

“I feel that I’m not playing too bad. I’m feeling that I’m playing quite good,” Cilic told reporters.
“The match I played against Dominic at the US Open, the last two sets were really high quality. I was not far from extending it to a fifth set.’
“Here (at Roland Garros) I felt that I played still quite well considering it’s the first round, obviously I was gonna be a bit rusty but I felt I played quite solid.”

Whilst there are positives, questions are starting to mount about if Cilic has what it takes to once again be a contender at the major tournaments. He is currently ranked 40th in the world and was last inside the top 10 in February 2019. Furthermore, it has been more than two years since he won an ATP title with his last triumph occurring on the grass at the Queen’s Club.

It isn’t just the Big Three that is posing a threat, it is also the resurgence of the Next Generation of players. Both Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have reached a major final and Stefanos Tsitsipas is a former semi-finalist. All of those players are under the age of 25.

“In the last 12 months you can see that these youngsters, there are so many. I was looking the other day to see how many under the age of 25 there are in the top 50 and there are 18,” Cilic said.
“You have that great generation that came up (the ranks) and are getting more experience. They are playing better and better. Seeing possibilities with their game that they can go forward in these tournaments.”

Whilst in the larger view the Big Three remain the dominant forces on men’s tennis, Cilic believes a shift in power is starting to gradually happen. Which he admits is going to hinder his own chances of winning titles again in the future.

It is definitely becoming tougher to win these kinds of tournaments and you have to at the top of your game to win a grand slam,” he concluded.

Cilic’s win-loss record for the season now stands at 12-8.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending