Will Diego Schwartzman defend his Istanbul title? Or will Raonic finally claim his first tournament of the year?
The 3rd edition of the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open is all set to kick start on the 1st of May at the Koza World of Sports Arena, Istanbul, Turkey. 28 singles players and 16 doubles pairs make it to the main draw of this ATP 250 tournament. Diego Schwartzman from Argentina will look to clinch the title second year running in Turkey's lone clay court tournament in the ATP World Tour.
World no.6 Milos Raonic, Croatian Marin Cilic, defending champion Diego Schwartzman and Paolo Lorenzi make up the top four seeds and by virtue of which receive byes in the opening round. As with many ATP 250 tournaments, there aren't many top-tier players in the draw, with only seven attendees from the Top 50 in the ATP rankings.
Who are the favourites?
Top seed Milos Raonic is the tournament favourite and will look to clinch his 1st ATP title of the 2017 season. He made it to the final of the Delray Beach Open, but that's the only final he's reached in a year that's been hugely disrupted by injury. This will be just Raonic's fifth tournament of the year, and that's had an effect on his ranking, dropping from third in the world at the year's start to sixth. A win here is crucial to getting his season back on track.
A potent threat to him could come in the form of Marin Cilic who has had a very shaky firs quarter of the year. His only good performance came in Acapulco, where he made it to the semi finals and eventually lost to Rafael Nadal. He will require much better performances in order to make a bid for a Top 5 finish at the end of the year. He may finally be finding his form on clay, though, and this tournament is a big opportunity for him to get his second career clay title.
Dark horse pick
Croatian Borna Coric is worth keeping an eye on. Coric claimed his first career title in Marrakech at the start of April, topping four higher-ranked players on the way – Schwartzman, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Jiri Vesely and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final. While many expected his Grand Prix Hassan II to propel the youngster on to greater things, he's been knocked out in the first round of each of his next two tournaments, falling at the hands of Jeremy Chardy to open Monte-Carlo and being ousted by Vesely in Hungary. Despite the disheartening results in the last two tournaments, Coric has proven that he can win on clay, and it would be a foolish opponent who sleeps on him.
With none of the players entering into the tournament with a string of good runs, you could expect Milos Raonic to have a slight edge over the others which might well see him lift the trophy at the end of the tournament.