ATP Cup group stage: 10 matches to watch out for

From Djokovic's clash against Kevin Anderson to Zverev's clash against Tsitsipas, here are the top clashes to look out for in the 2020 ATP Cup.

Novak Djokovic will face off against France's Gael Monfils and South Africa's Kevin Anderson in the 2020 ATP Cup.   -  Getty Images

The inaugural edition of the ATP Cup, the new 24-nation team tournament, will begin on Friday in Australia. Three cities – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney – will host the group stage before the teams progress to the next round called the “Final Eight” in Sydney. As the world’s top players begin their year and preparations for the 2020 Australian Open, here are a some mouth-watering group-stage matches lined up.

Alexander Zverev vs Alex de Minaur

Alexander Zverev has never lost a match to Alex de Minaur.   -  Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

 

The evening session of day one will see world No. 7 Alexander Zverev and No. 18 Alex de Minaur in action when Germany plays host Australia in Brisbane. The 22-year-old Zverev has never lost to the de Minaur, having won all of their four meetings on outdoor hard court. But the 20-year-old Australian is coming off a hot streak, having finished as runner-up at the ATP Next Gen Finals for the second year in a row.

Daniil Medvedev vs Fabio Fognini

Daniil Medvedev made a Tour-leading nine finals, including his first at a major, the US Open, and captured four titles.   -  Getty Images

 

Fabio Fognini and Daniil Medvedev will square off against each other when third seed Russia takes on eighth seed Italy on day one in Perth. The 2019 US Open runner-up and world No. 4 Medvedev has a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head match-ups, and he will meet the 32-year-old Italian for the fourth time on outdoor hard courts.

Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson

Novak Djokovic had beaten South African Kevin Anderson to the title in the Wimbledon 2018 title.   -  Getty Images

 

Old foes Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson will meet once again when Serbia will lock horns with South Africa on day two in Brisbane. World No. 2 Djokovic currently leads their head to head 8-2, which includes a win over the South African in the 2018 Wimbledon final.

Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas heads into the inaugural ATP Cup, ranked sixth.   -  Getty Images

 

Two months after their meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals, world No. 7 Alexander Zverev will face world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas during Germany’s clash against Greece on day three in Brisbane. The Greek star Tsitsipas had beaten Zverev in the round-robin stage of the Tour Finals before going on to lift the trophy. While the 22-year-old Zverev was the first of the Next-Genners to make it big (except at the Grand Slams), the 21-year-old Tsitsipas leads their head to head 4-1.

Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in their only clash at the Queens in 2018.   -  Getty Images

 

Host Australia will square off against 16th seed Canada on day three in Brisbane, and the first singles match will be between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nick Kyrgios. The two have only faced each other once on the ATP Tour, with the world No. 21 Auger- Aliassime, then just 18, prevailing 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5 over the Australian at Queen’s Club in June.

Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils has been unable to beat Novak Djokovic in 15 encounters.   -  Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

 

Top seed Serbia will battle it out with ninth seed France on day four in Brisbane. The second singles match promises to be entertaining one as world No. 2 Novak Djokovic plays no. 10 Gael Monfils. The 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic enjoys a whopping 15-0 lead in their head-to-head count, but the French maverick has a tendency to throw him off balance.

Dominic Thiem vs Diego Schwartzman

Dominic Thiem, by far the oldest Next Genner at 26, has improved greatly on hard courts this year.   -  AFP

 

Two names that have been touted for greatness in the future are Austria’s Dominic Thiem and – to a lesser extent – Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. World No. 4 Thiem beat No. 14 Schwartzman in the final of the 2019 Vienna Open in their most recent meeting and leads the head-to-head count 5-2.

Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov will lock horns with Alexander Zverev for the fifth time on the ATP Tour.   -  Getty Images

 

Brisbane on day five will witness an Alexander Zverev-Denis Shapovalov battle when Germany locks horns with Canada. Zverev and Shapovalov will meet for the fifth time on the ATP Tour, with the former leading their head to head 3-1. This will only be their second meeting on outdoor hard courts, the first coming two years earlier.

Fabio Fognini vs John Isner

John Isner came very close to reaching the final at Wimbledon 2018.   -  Getty Images

 

Eighth seed Italy’s Fabio Fognini will square off against the towering American John Isner on day five in Perth. Despite being ranked lower in the world currently, Isner enjoys a 2-0 lead over Fognini in their head-to-head count. However, little can be predicted about this particular fixture as the two last met in 2016 and the Italian has just gotten better with age.

Gael Monfils vs Kevin Anderson

Wimbledon 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson will face off against France's Gael Monfils at the 2020 ATP Cup.   -  Getty Images

 

Gael Monfils will play 2018 Tata Open Maharashtra winner Kevin Anderson when France faces 14th seed South Africa in the evening session of day six in Brisbane. The swashbuckling Frenchman leads their head to head 5-1. Anderson, who was ranked 18th when the ATP Cup draw was made, faced a major slump in form and was marred by injuries in 2019, and is now ranked 91st in the world.

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