After St. Petersburg, Cologne and Antwerp, the European indoor hardcourt swing now switches its focus to Vienna. The capital city of Austria will host the Erste Bank Open, an ATP 500 series tournament, from 26 October - with a slew of big names in the mix.
Wildcard entrant and top seed Novak Djokovic headlines the top half of the draw, whereas home favorite and second seed Dominic Thiem leads the way in the bottom half. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov make up the rest of the seedings.
Joining those stars are equally talented players such as Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud, Borna Coric, Cristian Garin, Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz. In fact, the only absentees from the top 20 are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Fabio Fognini, Matteo Berrettini, Milos Raonic, David Goffin and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Main draw action will begin this Monday, and here is a look at the prospects of the top players:
Top half: Novak Djokovic on the hunt for 500 ranking points at Vienna
Seeded players:  Novak Djokovic,  Stefanos Tsitsipas,  Diego Schwartzman,  Denis Shapovalov
Expected semifinal: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Dark horse: Grigor Dimitrov
Analysis: Novak Djokovic is in action for the first time since his French Open defeat at the hands of Rafael Nadal. The Serb was a late entrant to the Vienna draw, which is why he was given a wildcard.
With the chance to earn 500 ranking points and strengthen his chase of Roger Federer’s weeks at No. 1 record, Djokovic has made this tournament a priority. He has even decided to withdraw from the Paris Masters - where he can't gain any points - so that he can play both Vienna and the ATP Finals.
Djokovic will face compatriot Filip Krajinovic in the opening round, and could lock horns with the in-form Borna Coric in the second. Needless to say, both matches could be tricky for the Serb; Krajinovic and Coric possess exactly the kind of solid baseline game that can trouble a player coming off a break.
Should Djokovic go past these hurdles, Diego Schwartzman could potentially be waiting in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also playing for the first time since the French Open, where he came close to knocking out Novak Djokovic in the semis. The Greek has a terrific record on indoor hardcourts, and he will look to begin his Vienna campaign with a win against Jan-Lennard Struff.
At the time of writing, sixth seed Diego Schwartzman was scheduled to play his semifinal at the Cologne 2 event against Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Argentine would have close to no rest if he makes the final in Germany, which in turn would make his opening round match against Dusan Lajovic a real task.
One of Grigor Dimitrov or Karen Khachanov could be in store for Schwartzman in the second round if he gets past Lajovic. In other words, it's a pretty brutal draw for Schwartzman in Austria.
Denis Shapovalov starts his campaign against Jurij Rodionov, and could have to stare down a resurgent Dan Evans in the second round. The young Canadian has played two tournaments over the last two weeks and is showing signs of fatigue, so he wouldn't come into Vienna with a lot of expectations.
Semifinal prediction: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Bottom half: US Open champion Dominic Thiem is back in action after the French Open
Seeded players:  Dominic Thiem,  Daniil Medvedev,  Andrey Rublev,  Gael Monfils
Expected semifinal: Dominic Thiem vs Daniil Medvedev
Dark horse: Jannik Sinner
Analysis: The bottom half is arguably more competitive than the top one, filled as it is with a wide array of top and in-form players.
Home favorite and defending champion Dominic Thiem kickstarts his campaign against Kei Nishikori, and is expected to face one of Cristian Garin or Stan Wawrinka in the second round.
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev is not in the best of form right now, having lost early in both Paris and St. Petersburg. The Russian faces an exceptionally difficult opening round encounter against Alex de Minaur, who is currently in the semis of the European Open.
Two of the brightest young prospects in tennis - Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud - face each other in the first round. The winner is likely to face another top youngster, in the form of Andrey Rublev.
The Russian won the event at St. Petersburg and is easily the most in-form player in this half of the draw.
Seventh seed Gael Monfils has had a woeful campaign since the resumption of the tour. And his Vienna draw has done him no favors either; the Frenchman has a mountain to climb in his opening round fixture as he takes on Pablo Carreno Busta.
Felix Auger-Aliassime is drawn to play a qualifier. Given the Canadian's recent form, he could possibly be the player best positioned to make the semis from his quarter.
Semifinal prediction: Dominic Thiem vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Dominic Thiem
Dominic ThiemPublished 24 Oct 2020, 17:56 IST