The final grass court tune-ups before Wimbledon will be the joint event in Eastbourne and Den Bosch in the Netherlands.
June 17-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €468,460
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Milos Raonic
2: Gilles Simon
3: Philipp Kohlschreiber
4: Juan Monaco
A stronger field brings 4 of the top 20 and a seed cutoff overall of 31.
First round matchups to watch:
Jarkko Nieminen vs. Feliciano Lopez
Nieminen comes off a 2nd round loss at Queen’s club while Lopez lost in the 3rd round of the same event. The h2h is 6-2 in favor of the man from Finland and thus this match should favor him, but the style clash makes it a quality one to watch. Nieminen beat Lopez at Wimbledon last year in their only grass court meeting.
Bernard Tomic vs. (wc)James Ward
Tomic continues to struggle, as expected, having lost 4 straight and 5 of his last 6 matches. Still, this is a surface on which he excels. Ward is a likeable journeyman ranked outside the top 200 who lost a heartbreak 3 set match to Ivan Dodig in the opening round of Queen’s club, an event which also found him the recipient of a wild card. Tomic is far and above the better player, but with his personal circumstances, Wardy will have a shot at an upset.
Milos Raonic will look to recover from a crushing loss to Gael Monfils in Halle, a match in which he played some of his worst tennis in a long time. He opens with Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig, and the winner will get one of Fabio Fognini, Grega Zemlja, Martin Klizan or Viktor Troicki.
Juan Monaco will have the task of playing the Lopez/Nieminen winner and if he were to prevail he will get Alex Dolgopolov, Fernando Verdasco, Albert Ramos or a qualifier.
Gilles Simon will play wild card Kyle Edmund or a qualifier, then most likely Kevin Anderson (if Big Kev can beat Julian Benneteau and Tomic/Ward).
Halle quarterfinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber will play Radek Stepanek or Marinko Matosevic then a pair of qualifiers, Paul-Henri Mathieu or Andreas Seppi in a tailor-made section for the German.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
Lopez is one of the better grass court players, and if he can get past Nieminen he has a very open draw with the clay courter Monaco and then either Verdasco or Dolgo being the likely quarterfinal opponent. In the semis, Raonic or someone else is perfectly beatable and at least in theory he could win the whole tournament.
Lopez d. Raonic
Kohlschreiber d. Anderson
Lopez beat Raonic in their only meeting and Raonic isn’t playing that well. He simply has no one in his draw line to stop him early.
Kohlschreiber disappointingly only made the quarters in Halle, but he is still good on grass with nobody to stop him draw-wise. Anderson is having a good year and should get through his draw, but I’ll give the edge to Peppo since they have never played each other.
Kohlschreiber d. Lopez
The h2h actually favors Lopez 4-2, but Kohlschreiber seems to be the better player these days, and thus edge to him.
ATP World Tour 250
June 16-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €410,200
Top 8 seeds
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: John Isner
4: Benoit Paire
5: Jeremy Chardy
6: Marcos Baghdatis
7: Victor Hanescu
8: Daniel Gimeno-Traver
50 is the seed cutoff in a tournament without byes and 2 of the top 20 are here.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)David Ferrer vs. Xaiver Malisse
Ferrer has won Den Bosch twice and of course comes off his first ever slam final in Paris. He gets bad fortunes as the top seed in that he has to face Malisse, who is good on grass and pushed Del Potro to 3 sets at Queen’s club before losing. The h2h is 2-2 but they haven’t played in 3 years and never on grass. Ferrer is probably still the favorite but Malisse has to have some magic left.
(3)John Isner vs. Evgeny Donskoy
Isner and Donskoy will meet for the first time and it will be the only grass tune-up for either before Wimbledon. Donskoy is a solid ball striker who is on the rise, while Isner has had a roller coaster year but overall has disappointed. Isner should be a favorite on the fast surface but it could go 3 sets.
(4)Benoit Paire vs. Michael Llodra
Paire comes off a 2nd round loss to Denis Kudla at Queen’s Club while Llodra withdrew from his 2nd round match at the same event. This match is not only notable for the clash of styles on grass between the serve and volleyer Llodra and the drop shotter Paire, but also for the tension between these 2 players. When they met this year in Miami, Llodra taunted Paire, and Paire countered by firing verbal obscenities at his countryman. According to reports of the non-televised match, there was also a physical altercation that had to be broken up by the umpire and Paire said after, “I won’t ever talk to him again,” “He tried everything to upset me while I was dominating the game. He insulted me.” How this match will develop should be interesting.
(2) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Igor Sijsling
Wawrinka is playing Den Bosch for the first time since 2005, while Sijsling comes off the 3rd round at Queen’s club. They have never met before and both players are on hot streaks overall. Wawrinka is of course in the top 10, and Sijsling is at a career high of 60. Wawrinka will have a slight edge but I wouldn’t put an upset past Sijsling in his home tournament.
The Ferrer/Malisse winner will play Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Rendy Lu, then could face Marcos Baghdatis/Carlos Berlocq, a qualifier, or Roberto Bautista Agut,
Isner/Donskoy will face Leo Mayer or Robin Haase and then it will be a qualifier, Ricardas Berankis, Andrey Kuznetsov or Dani Gimeno-Traver in what is a rather porous section.
Wawrinka/Sijsling will take on Thiemo De Bakker or Paolo Lorenzi and then one of Jeremy Chardy, Marius Copil, Rogerio Dutra Silva or a qualifier in a section from which the seeds should escape.
Paire/Llodra will play a qualifier or David Goffin and then Victor Hanescu/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Daniel Brands/Jesse Huta Galung.
Dark Horse: Michael Llodra
This tournament is hard to pick without qualifiers placed, because it really is the type of event where a qualifier could make a deep run given the lower ranks of the players and a whole lot of guys who are uncomfortable on grass. That being said, of the main draw players, Llodra, if he isn’t injured, could very well make a deep run. If he can get past Paire, he gets D Goff or a qualifier and then probably Daniel Brands or even Huta Galung in the quarters. All winnable. In the semis, both Wawrinka or Sijsling are beatable and even in the final, Ferrer/Malisse/Baghdatis/Isner are all beatable.
Ferrer d. Isner
Llodra d. Sijsling
Ferrer should be able to cruise to the semis unless Baghdatis can catch fire. Isner really has nobody to stop him as well. Llodra, if uninjured, is dangerous and I think Sijsling upsets Wawrinka and wins from there.
Ferrer d. Llodra
Ferrer should make it the hat trick. He is 3-0 career against Llodra and beat Llodra last year in Paris on indoor carpet.