2013 Dallas Tennis Classic (Dallas Challenger-2) Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
For those who weren’t aware, Dallas holds a couple of challengers every year not that far apart from each other. The field at the Dallas Tennis Classic, as the Dallas-2 challenger is so aptly called, is even better than the field at the previous Dallas Challenger, benefiting from its comfy spot on the calendar in-between Indian Wells and Miami. In many ways, this challenger is stronger than many ATP 250 events. The event is held at the Four Seasons resort.
Dallas Tennis Classic
ATP Challenger Tour
March 12-March 17, 2013
Prize money: $125,000
Top 8 seeds
1: Marcos Baghdatis
2: Thomaz Bellucci
3: Denis Istomin
4: Viktor Troicki
5: Jurgen Melzer
6: David Goffin
7: Alejandro Falla
8: Lukas Rosol
The seed cutoff is 62 and the main draw entry cutoff was 82. As you can see, the field is made up of almost all ATP world tour regulars from the young to old.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)Marcos Baghdatis vs. Igor Sijsling
Baghdatis comes off a drubbing at the hands of Daniel Brands in Indian Wells and has lost two straight matches going back to Dubai. He will get a heavy hitting match with Sijsling, who lost to Nieminen in Indian Wells and Haas in Delray, but has shown signs of promise all year. These two have never met before.
(5)Jurgen Melzer vs. Jan Hajek
Jurgen Melzer is in a slump and desperately trying to stay in the top 50 as he has lost three straight matches to lower ranked players (Zverev, Sijsling, Sousa). He now gets a match he should win against the journeyman Hajek who is just inside the top 100. A match he should win, but nothing is a guarantee with Melzer right now.
(6)David Goffin vs. Michael Russell
Speaking of slumping players, we have former wonderkid David Goffin, who did manage to beat Viktor Troicki in Indian Wells and snap a losing streak but then followed that up with a loss to the ice cold Florian Mayer. Goffin has a 3-8 record on the year. He will face Russell, who he beat twice last year, but Muscles is playing pretty good right now and could give the youngster a serious run for his money and knock him off in Dallas.
The Baghdatis/Sijsling winner will play Tatsuma Ito or Bobby Reynolds, who just lost to Mardy Fish in Indian Wells in 3 sets. In the quarters it could be Lukas Rosol, who lost to Lleyton Hewitt in Indian Wells, a qualifier, Mathias Bachinger or Alex Kuznetsov.
Viktor Troicki opens with Tobias Kamke and then will play Indian Wells qualifier Phillip Petzschener or Go Soeda. In the quarters, the winner could get Alejandro Falla (who suffered a bad loss to Bjorn Phau in Indian Wells), Gilles Muller (who lost to Paolo Lorenzi in Indian Wells), Guido Pella or a qualifier.
Bellucci opens with Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has had an up and down year and then will face Steve Darcis or a qualifier. In the quarters, he could get the Russell/Goffin winner, Guillaumane Rufin or a qualifier.
The Melzer/Hajek winner will face Benjamin Becker or Robby Ginepri before running into Denis Istomin, who was playing well before losing to Federer in Indian Wells. Istomin will open with Tim Smyczek, who lost in Indian Wells to Rendy Lu after winning the 1st set, and then could face Flavio Cipolla or a possibly still injured Lukas Lacko, who lost to Gimeno-Traver in Indian Wells.
Rosol d. Petzschener
Istomin d. Russell
This draw is really hard to pick, because it is threading hairs between all these very similar players in terms of ranking and form, but Rosol should be able to do damage on hard courts while Sijsling and Baghdatis are in questionable form and Petzschener has a good draw with some struggling players in it.
Istomin was playing well before getting walloped by the Federer machine and should get through his draw, while Russell should be able to provide some local flavor to the Dallas Challenger with a nice dark horse run.
Istomin d. Rosol
A couple of big, lanky hitters could meet in the final and I’ll go with Dynamite Denis to take the title.