The top seed in Sydney this week is burgeoning talent Stefanos Tsitsipas. He’ll likely have to get past local talent Matt Ebden (or Nicolas Jarry) in his first match, while I expect Martin Klizan or Brisbane semifinalist Jeremy Chardy to be up in the quarterfinals (Andreas Seppi is also in this section). After starting his season at the Hopman Cup, I expect Tsitsipas to reach a semifinal or better ahead of AO 2019.
Diego Schwartzman has a clear path into the semifinals as well, his weak section features out of form players Ryan Harrison and Lucas Pouille. Pouille lost all his singles matches at the Hopman Cup and his form has fallen off a cliff. A qualifier could also make a run, but expect Schwartzman to find form ahead of the AO.
Gilles Simon reached the semis in Pune and after a win against Malek Jaziri or Sam Querrey, he should get Marton Fucsovics or John Millman in the quarters. Fucsovics nearly knocked off Novak Djokovic in Doha, but Simon’s experience should see him through to the semis.
Brisbane finalist (and potential champion) Daniil Medvedev will likely seek rest ahead of the AO so I expect him to reach the quarterfinals before falling to home favorite Alex De Minaur (or Doha quarterfinalist Dusan Lajovic). De Minaur should be motivated to make a run here.
Tsitsipas d. Schwartzman
De Minaur d. Simon
These two young guns should be motivated under the circumstances and their games should excel on this hard court surface, Tsitsipas is the best player in the field and will be favored to lift the trophy.
Tsitsipas d. De Minaur
The Auckland tournament features American #1 John Isner as the top seed. He should get past Taylor Fritz in his first match before running into Denis Shapovalov or Cam Norrie. Both players would love to have a breakthrough in the quarters, but Isner will be favored to reach the semis or better in his opening tournament of the season.
David Ferrer has had significant success in Auckland over his long career and I expect the soon to be retired player to turn back the clock and have a solid run as a wild card. Ferrer played well at the Hopman Cup and should get past Robin Haase and Pablo Carreno Busta, before defeating Hyeon Chung in the quarters.
Doha semifinalist Marco Cecchinato should benefit from the withdrawal of Roberto Bautista Agut. His path to a consecutive ATP semifinal is Max Marterer/Tennys Sandgren, and then most likely Steve Johnson in the quarters. Johnson faces Leonardo Mayer with Matteo Berrettini or qualifier Mackenzie McDonald on deck.
The final section features some talented, but inconsistent, shotmakers. Fabio Fognini is the #2 seed, he’ll get Guido Pella or Peter Gojowczyk before running into Gael Monfils or Philipp Kohlschreiber. Kohli and Monfils open with qualifiers Ugo Humbert and Bradley Klahn before facing off. I expect Monfils will find some form and peat Kohli and Fognini before running into Cecchinato/RBA in the semis.
Isner d. Ferrer
Monfils d. Cecchinato
Expect a veteran final in Auckland with Isner the heavy favorite to take the trophy.
Isner d. Monfils