By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds: Dominic Thiem, Pablo Carreno Busta, Tomas Berdych, Albert Ramos-Vinolas
- 2017 Champion: Novak Djokovic
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
DOHA, QATAR – With the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem rises to the top of the field.
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Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
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 Dominic Thiem
Fresh from getting his court legs under him at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, the sudden withdrawal of Novak Djokovic puts Thiem in pole position to start the year with a win. His performance at the World Tour finals was not impressive, once more giving rise to concerns about scheduling so it is a genuine surprise not to see him put himself into the Sydney field.
He could meet outgoing Brit-to-Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the second round and is scheduled to meet Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals – and that could be his biggest challenge having never managed to get past the Frenchman.
He made it through three rounds of qualifying in 2013 to fall in the opening round, and should be good for a couple of wins.
After the highs of reaching the US Open semi-final, Carreno Busta has picked up a few good fortunes along the way. He got a couple of matches as an alternate at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals and was also in the Mubadala field, but the question is was his US Open run a fluke?
He has played Doha just once, losing in the opening round, and has some potential banana skins in his path – he opens against Borna Coric, and couple have fellow Mubadala alumni this year, Andrey Rublev on his way to the quarter-finals.
 Tomas Berdych
Another of 2017’s walking wounded, Berdych has become a bit of a forgotten man in terms of challenging any more for the big titles. He might have had a bit of hope in reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals this year, but having seemingly lost his instinct to adjust from his ‘game plan’ under Dani Vallverdu, he seemed to lose touch with the Big Five and now the chasing pack.
He has the showmanship of Gael Monfils lurking in his section of the draw and with a 6-1 record over the flamboyant Frenchman, he ought to picture himself in the quarter-finals at least, and certainly the semi-finals. If he finds his form, he could be a looking at a title.
After some solid performances on the clay last year, and a flurry in Shanghai to reach the quarter-finals, Ramos-Vinolas has slipped a bit from reaching a career high in 2017. He has quite a light draw and with a solid record against his possible quarter-final opponent Feliciano Lopez, he could be looking at starting the year with a solid run.
The Qatar ExxonMobil Open takes place between 1-6 January.
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