While you can’t find any of the Big Four playing in Winston-Salem this week, the 2017 Winston-Salem Open has no shortage of elite competitors with 40 of the world’s top 100 players seeing action there this week. With that said, let’s take a look at a handful of players who are likely to make wave in this event.
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2017 ATP Winston-Salem Open Men’s Singles Preview
Favorites: Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta
As the highest ranked player on the field, world No. 14 Bautista Agut has plenty of high expectations riding on his shoulders. The Spaniard is coming off a disappointing campaign at the Western & Southern Open, where he got bounced right out of the first round in upset fashion by 60th-ranked Jared Donaldson.
That shouldn’t diminish much of Bautista Agut’s value here in Winston-Salem, however. After all, he still is 18-5 on hard courts this year and was the runner-up in this event last year. Bautista Agut’s conqueror in the 2016 finals? That’s fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who has won two titles since topping the field here in North Carolina a year ago. That includes a championship in Estoril (clay) back in May. Carreno Busta reached the third round of the Western & Southern Open, where he was unfortunately eliminated by David Ferrer.
Sleeper: Pablo Cuevas
The fifth-seed Cuevas hasn’t been much of a force on the hard surface, as he’s just 4-4 on such courts this year and sports a career record of 47-62 on it. But the Winston-Salem Open has seen Cuevas achieve some measure of success in the past with Uruguayan reaching the quarters of this event last year. It’s not much on paper, but it just shows Cuevas is capable of going deep here in Winston-Salem.
Longshot: Viktor Troicki
Serbian Viktor Troicki is far from being on the same level as countryman Novak Djokovic, but the 31-year-old could rise to the occasion from time to time. While he hasn’t gone past the first round of each of his last four tournaments, it was just last May when he raced to the semifinals of the Paribas Istanbul Open, coming up short of making a finals appearance after losing to top seed Milos Raonic in the semis. Troicki is 9-9 on hard courts this year and boasts of a winning 176-147 career record on it.
Roberto Bautista Agut concludes his preparation for the US Open with a win.
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