2012 Estoril Open Preview
by Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
ATP World Tour 250
April 30-May 5, 2012
Prize Money: € 398,250
One of the most celebrated small clay court tournaments, the Estoril Open in Portugal begins today with one top ten player and a bevy of others vying for the title in the picturesque setting of Estoril, which is nearby the capital city of Lisbon. This a combined event and WTA action will also be taking place.
Top 4 Seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Juan Martin Del Potro
2: Richard Gasquet
3: Stanislas Wawrinka
4: Albert Ramos
1st round matchups to watch:
Atilla Balazs vs. Bobby Reynolds
Bucharest semi-finalist Balazs will take on American Bobby Reynolds. Can he continue the momentum?
Matt Ebden vs. Albert Montanes
The big serving Aussie Ebden will try to knock off 7 seed Spanish grinder Albert Montanes.
Denis Istomin vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
The 5 seed Istomin will have to deal with the still dangerous Mathieu.
Bjorn Phau vs. Fredrico Gil
The Portugese favorite and hometown player Gil will try to get off to a good start against the veteran Phau.
Top Seed Juan Martin Del Potro opens up his title defense against either wildcard Pedro Sousa or Rui Machado, both of Portugal. He could then face dangerous 7 seed Albert Montanes before a possible semi-final match up with 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka or 5 seed Robin Haase. Atilla Balazs and Igor Andreev also lurk in the top half of the draw among others.
Wawrinka will face either a qualifier or Daniel Gimeno-Traver before a possible match-up with the Dutchman Haase or the veteran Russian Andreev. Haase opens up against Simone Bolleli of Italy.
2 seed Richard Gasquet opens up his quest against either fellow Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Italian Paolo Lorezni. He will then have to deal with 8 seed Flavio Cipolla, Argentina Diego Junquiera or a qualifier before a possible semi-final match-up with Albert Ramos or Denis Istomin.
Ramos, the 4 seed, will open against either Gil or Phau before a possible match-up with Istomin, Mathieu or one of the Portuguese wild cards (Joao Sousa or Gastao Elias).
Dark Horse: Paolo Lorenzi
The veteran Italian who has reached two clay court challenger level finals this year in Sarasota and San Luis Potosí opens up with Edouard Roger Vasselin, and if he advances, will face the notoriously inconsistent Richard Gasquet. If he can knock off Gasquet, the rest of his matches should be manageable as he could face fellow Italian Flavio Cipolla and Casablanca finalist Albert Ramos (or 5 seed Istomin).
Wawrinka d. Del Potro
Wawrinka d. Lorenzi
Wawrinka, who has reached two semi-finals on clay this year (Acapulco and Buenos Aires), will try to earn his first ATP title in over a year.