2019 Winston-Salem Open: Men's singles draw analysis, preview, and prediction
The field is set for the last ATP tournament before heading into the final Grand Slam of the year. The 2019 Winston-Salem Open will see the participation of some of the top players on tour, led by three-time major winner Andy Murray, top-seed Benoit Paire and former champion Pablo Carreno Busta.
While the top brass might have opted out of the ATP 250 tournament, there is still plenty of depth in the draw that promises to bring about some top-flight tennis action. With main draw action set to get underway on Monday, here is a look at the prospects of some of the top players in the draw.
Expected semifinal: Benoit Paire vs Jõao Sousa
This half of the draw features many in-form players such as Benoit Paire, the fourth seed Jõao Sousa, and seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego. With the absence of big names here, they will be looking to make the best of the opportunity to go deep in the tournament.
Paire might face resistance from the top-ranked Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran if he is to come through his opening encounter. Lorenzo and Sõusa will face tricky opponents in the form of Carreno Busta and Robin Hasse respectively. The seeds in this half of the draw, however, should not have too much trouble in coming through to the last four.
Prediction: Benoit Paire vs Lorenzo Sonego
Expected semifinal: Filip Krajinović vs Denis Shapovalov
Analysis: This half of the draw, unlike the top portion, is more open. There are quite a few potentially dangerous floaters, who can all be seen as title contenders this week.
Starting with the seeds, the second-seeded Shapovalov, sixth seed Sam Querrey, ninth seed Albert Ramos Viñolas, and tenth seed Frances Tiafoe have the reputation of playing out a big game to win titles and will be looking forward to nothing short of a title run at Winston-Salem.
And yet, it is the outsiders - on paper at least - who look even more formidable when seen in the context of their potential. Murray, Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez, Jeremy Chardy, and Andrey Rublev are all but easy opponents.
It is a very exciting lineup and one can expect a few big matches from this part of the draw. This is a difficult section to predict and a lot will depend on the form on these players on the given day. Otherwise, there is very little that separates one from the other.
Predicition: Feliciano Lopez vs Andrey Rublev