The ATP Auckland Open, the only ATP event to be held in New Zealand, is crucial for preparing for the first Grand Slam of the season set to begin on January 20.
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Italy’s Fabio Fognini will lead the seeded players at the tournament in Auckland. The world no.13 who won his first ATP Masters title this year at Monte Carlo reached his career-high rank of nine too last year.
And Fognini, who had a win-loss record of 12-9 on hard courts last season, also reached the quarterfinals at the tournament twice in 2016 and 2019.
Fognini will face stiff competition from second seed Denis Shapovalov currently ranked at world no.14. Shapovalov’s performance at the ATP Cup has been notable as he defeated Next-Gen stars Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Stitsipas and held up a tough fight against Alex de Minaur and Novak Djokovic.
Third seed at the tournament is Karen Khachanov who has been in an exemplary form so far, having had a no-loss record at the ATP Cup until his semi-final match against Dušan Lajović. Khachanov’s performance on hard courts the past year has been positive with a 15-12 win-loss record. Ranked at 17 in the world, Khachanov slipped out of the top 10 and will look to regain some of his lost form this year.
With the cohort of players moving from the ATP Cup to the Auckland Open are John Isner, Benoit Paire and Hubert Hurkacz.
Hurkacz shocked the world with his performance winning in three of his singles matches against Borna Coric, Diego Schwartzman and most importantly world no. 4 Dominic Thiem. Hurkacz will debut at this event with excellent form and the odds strongly in his favour.
Adrian Mannarino and youngster Jannik Sinner round of the remaining seeded players at the event. One of the youngest players in the top 100, Sinner is the bearer of the ATP Next-Gen title. In the duration of one season, Sinner moved up from world no. 553 to 78. Named the ATP ‘Player of the Year’, the teen star is sure to reach more incredible milestones this season.
With schedules overlapping with the introduction of the ATP Cup, world no.5 Daniil Medvedev was forced to pull out of the tournament in Auckland as he was scheduled to play against Novak Djokovic.
Defending champion Tennys Sandgren will return to Auckland facing off against Kiwi wildcard Michael Venus who is also a doubles specialist at the ASB Tennis Centre ahead of the Australian Open.