2013 ATP Munich, Estoril Previews
A pair of clay 250s will be the ATP tour entree offerings this week.
ATP World Tour 250
April 29-May 4, 2013
Prize money: EUR 410,200
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Janko Tipsarevic
2: Marin Cilic
3: Tommy Haas
4: Philipp Kohlschreiber
First round matchups to watch:
Ernests Gulbis vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Gulbis suffered a disappointing loss to Milos Raonic in Barcelona, but hasnhad a an excellent year, while Nieminen only made the 2nd round in Bucharest but played 2 excellent matches against Evgeny Donskoy and Gilles Simon, both going 3 sets. Gulbis has won all 3 of their meetings, including this year in Marseille, but all 3 meetings have been on hard courts. Expect a lot of action and some excellent ball striking from both players.
Janko Tipsarevic is still struggling, even after winning a match in Bucharest, as his quarterfinal loss to Garcia-Lopez was uncharacteristic and typical for this year. Tipsy is still a top 10 player ranking wise, but he certainly isn’t playing like one. He opens with Thomaz Bellucci, who will be trying to recover from a hip injury incurred in Barcelona, or Grega Zemlja. Afterward, he could face Jurgen Melzer, Daniel Brands or wildcards Tobias Kamke and Gael Monfils. Monfils continues to carry on hobbled by injuries and very little should be expected from him right now as he fell to Brands in Bucharest via retirement.
Peppo Kohlschreiber, the defending champ, made the semis in Barcelona, which is certainly a great result on paper. Looks can be a bit deceiving, as he got a walkover in the quarters (a match that would have been against Bellucci) and he got through his first two matches against Andrey Kuznetsov and Martin Klizan by the skin of his teeth, both in nail-biting 3 set fashion. Before that, and before Monte Carlo, Kohli had not been playing great, but his ball striking and court sense seem to be slowly improving and coming back now.
Peppo opens against a qualifier or Marcos Baghdatis, who hasn’t played since Davis Cup. He could then face Mikhail Youzhny, a slumping Radek Stepanek, a qualifier, or Viktor Troicki, who was struggling but did make quarters in Bucharest last week.
The top half of the draw is a mixed bag of icy players and injured players.
Marin Cilic, a finalist in Munich last year, will play Nikolay Davydenko or Ivan Dodig before meeting Alex Dolgopolov, Paul-Henri Mathieu, a qualifier, or Dmitry Tursunov, who shocked David Ferrer in Barcelona.
Tommy Haas is back in action and back in Germany, where he will play the winner of Gulbis/Nieminen and then a qualifier, Bucharest semifinalist Florian Mayer (who seemed to find his Flo last week), wild card Kevin Krawietz or Marinko Matosevic. If Haas meets Nieminen round two, he will be looking to avenge his loss at the Australian Open to the Flying Fin.
The bottom half is much more in form than the top half.
Dark Horse: Daniel Brands
It’s difficult to call him a dark horse in such a jumbled half, but Brands is on fire this year, up to 67 in the rankings. That’s one off his career high and means that he has qualified (or in one case gotten a lucky loser) in every ATP event he has entered this year. He made quarters in Bucharest, his 2nd quarterfinal showing this year, and now will be playing in his native country in front of home fans, many of whom are anxious to get on the Brandswagon.
Brands should beat Kamke, and Melzer and Monfils are both struggling. After that, Tipsarevic is obviously very beatable, as is Bellucci or Zemlja. In the semis, Kohlschreiber has also shown weaknesses and a final is very well possible for him.
Brands d. Kohlschreiber
Haas d. Dolgopolov
There is really nothing in the way of Kohlschreiber making the semis. Meanwhile Mayer, Gulbis/Nieminen or Haas could all make the semis in that tough section, but I’ll go with Haas and the other section should come down to Dolgopolov or Cilic. Dolgopolov is inconsistent but I’ll go with him. Haas won their meeting this year in Miami in straights.
Brands d. Haas
Rosol won his first title last week. Brands, who plays somewhat similarly, is almost tracking in his footsteps. Thus, I’ll hop on the Brandswagon and say he takes the title here.
ATP World Tour 250
April 29-May 4, 2013
Prize Money: (euro sign) 410,200
This event changed it’s name, formerly known as the Estoril Open, it is now called the Portugal Open, and the official city was switched from Estoril to Oeiras, but it is the same joint ATP/WTA event for the same points. They aren’t exactly a blogger-friendly tournament.
Top 4 seeds: (who all receive first round byes)
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: Andreas Seppi
4: Fabio Fognini
First round matchups to watch:
Carlos Berlocq vs. Albert Ramos
They are ranked closely together, at 64 and 57. Berlocq is 5 years older, and both have positive records on the ATP tour this year. Furthermore, they are both enjoyable players to watch if you like traditional clay court tennis. Berlocq won their only meeting ever, this year in Sao Paulo, while Ramos comes off quarters in Barcelona.
David Ferrer suffered a shocking 2nd round loss to Dmitry Tursunov in Barcelona, and will be looking to recover. He took a wild card here, and will play Gilles Muller or Edouard Roger-Vasselin followed by Benoit Paire/Igor Sijsling, Victor Hanescu or a qualifier.
Andreas Seppi will be looking for a good showing as he will face Alejandro Falla or Andrey Kuznetsov, and then could play Pablo Andujar, a qualifier, Dani Gimeno-Traver or Tommy Robredo, who is really showing some form once again (making the quarters in Barcelona).
Stan Wawrinka will play the Berlocq/Ramos winner in what could be a tough match and then could face Evgeny Donskoy, Denis Istomin, Horacio Zeballos or wild card Gastao Elias.
Fabio Fognini is at a career high ranking of 24, and will play a qualifier or countryman and Davis Cup teammate Paolo Lorenzi. After that it could be a qualifier, a struggling Julien Benneteau (who has lost 4 straight), Pedro Sousa, or the inconsistent but talented David Goffin.
Dark Horse: David Goffin
Goffin is a disappointing 6-11 this year on the ATP tour, but did show some signs of betterment in Bucharest, dispatching his first round opponent Adrian Ungur easily, and pushing eventual semifinalist Florian Mayer to 3 sets. Otherwise, he has only won consecutive matches this year in Miami. Still, he’s a young talent and maturing into the highest level of professional tennis.
D Goff gets an easy start against wild card Pedro Sousa, then a struggling Benneteau or a qualifier. If he gets Lorenzi or Fognini in the quarters, they are indeed beatable.
Ferrer d. Robredo
Fognini d. Wawrinka
Ferrer boasts a 6-2 record against Robredo, including a win on clay this year in Buenos Aires. In additions, he has to be motivated to get past his Barcelona loss and get back to his winning ways on clay.
Wawrinka has the H2H edge against Fognini 3-1 but Fognini won their match this year in Acapulco on clay and he is playing very sharp right now.
Ferrer d. Fognini
I would really love to pick Fognini in this projected meeting, as Fogna is playing some of his best tennis right now and as I mentioned is looking razor sharp. That being said, Ferrer has beaten Fognini 6 times, including 3 times this year and twice on clay. That kind of record speaks for itself.
I’m not totally certain Ferrer is 100% but this field isn’t the most punishing around.