ATP Stockholm betting preview: Andy Murray vying with two top youngsters for spotlight

As the ATP Tour prepares to welcome the close season, Andy Murray has one last chance to bid farewell to 2021 on a high.

The ATP season races to a conclusion in November, with Stockholm the last meaningful stop before the big finale of the ATP Finals.

That has meant the top stars have stayed away as they prepare for Turin next week, but there are still a few impressive names and sub-plots to follow in Sweden.

Most significantly perhaps is the latest chapter from Andy Murray and his bid to overcome the hip injury that crippled his career, but he will have to work very hard if his season is to end on a high.

Another tough draw for Andy Murray

Andy Murray's potential path to the final looks like a very tough one, but that is what happens when you are relying on wild cards.

Top seed and world number 11 Jannik Sinner awaits in round two if he can get there, with Taylor Fritz a possible opponent in the quarter-finals.

He could then face Dan Evans or Frances Tiafoe in the semis, before world number ten Felix Auger-Aliassime or Denis Shapovalov in the final.

Sinner aside, they are all just potential opponents, but there is not great depth in this tournament so you'd be surprised to see results deviate too much from the projections.

Andy Murray vs Viktor Durasovic

Before Murray can even hope to get a shot at those more established names, he will have to come through a match against Viktor Durasovic.

If you have never heard of him, don't worry about it - no one would expect you to.

The Norwegian is a qualifier and currently holds a world ranking of 354, so not someone who has grabbed any real spotlight so far in his career.

Andy Murray profile

Age: 34

Height: 6'3"

Plays: Right-handed

Backhand: Two-handed

Turned pro: 2005

2021 W/L: 13/13

Career W/L: 689/213

Career titles: 43

Recent tournament results (ATP level)

Paris Masters: R1

Vienna: R2

Antwerp: R2

Indian Wells: R3

San Diego: R2

Metz: QF

Viktor Durasovic profile

Age: 24

Height: 6'1"

Turned pro: 2016

2021 W/L: 0/0

Career W/L: 6/12

Career titles: 0

Recent tournaments (ATP level)

None

Clearly, there is a huge gulf in class here. Durasovic is has not played an ATP level event yet this season and he has not been excelling at Challenger level either.

All the big questions here, though, surround Andy Murray. He has been incredibly inconsistent this season and beaten himself as often as an opponent has beaten him. That was never more apparent than when he spurned seven match points in his last match to find a way to lose against Dominik Koepfer.

If he is in that mood again when he can't get a first serve in play, then Durasovic could record a shock.

However, the Norwegian simply doesn't possess the weapons to beat Murray if the Brit is anywhere near his best.

Ones to watch

Felix Auger-Aliassime forehand

With the big names giving Stockholm a miss, it is two highly impressive youngsters who are taking centre stage - and they both have plenty to play for.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner, both 20-years-old, currently sit just outside the top ten and they can book their spots at the ATP Finals at first and second alternates.

That essentially just means that if one of those who have already qualified get a late injury - and Stefanos Tsitsipas retired hurt from Paris last week so it's a real possibility - they will get a shot.

Sinner is the most heralded of the two, but Aliassime has some real pedigree behind him. He is coached by Toni Nadal. Yes, that Toni Nadal. Rafael Nadal's uncle who masterminded most of the Spaniard's career.

Taylor Fritz is in fine form too, and keep your eye on Denis Shapovalov too. He is not playing all that great right now, but he is the defending champion and has points and pride to protect.