Dirtballers unite! The last clay court event of 2013 has arrived!
I’m talking about the ATP 250 event in Kiztbuhel, Austria.
bet-at-home Cup Kitzbuhel
ATP World Tour 250
July 28-August 3, 2013
Prize Money: €467,800
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Phillip Kohlschreiber
2: Juan Monaco
3: Fernando Verdasco
4: Jurgen Melzer
First Round matchups to watch:
Carlos Berlocq vs. Daniel Brands
Berlocq comes off a bad 2nd round loss in Umag to the poor form Horacio Zeballos, but has performed very well on clay post-Wimbledon. He will get a tough opening round meeting with Daniel Brands, who he has never played before. Brands topped Roger Federer en route to the Gstaad quarters, and I give a slight edge to Argentine Berlocq in this match.
Kohlschreiber hasn’t played since Stuttgart, where he reached the final, and he will play the winner of Leo Mayer/Kenny De Schepper in his opening match. In the quarters, Kohli will most likely face Gstaad quarterfinalist Marcel Granollers, if Granollers can beat Mate Pavic and Horacio Zeballos/Qualifier. Zeballos retired in his last match in Umag with a back problem.
Fernando Verdasco comes off quarters in Hamburg and will take on Thomaz Bellucci or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Bellucci lost his opening match in Gstaad, and GGL lost in the 2nd round of the same event. Verdasco should face Berlocq/Brands or current Gstaad finalist and twice defending champ Robin Haase. Haase opens with Guillaume Rufin in Round 1.
Gstaad quarterfinalist Pico Monaco will face Andreas Haider-Maurer or a qualifier. Haider-Maurer retired from his last match in Umag. In the quarters, Monaco should face Roberto Bautista Agut, if RBA can beat a qualifier and Dani Gimeno Traver/Qualifier.
Jurgen Melzer will be in his first tournament back since Wimbledon, hopefully fresh and healthy, as he takes on Andrey Kuznetsov or up-and-coming Austrian wildcard Dominic Thiem. The winner will get one of Gstaad semifinalist Victor Hanescu/Umag quarterfinalist Aljaz Bedene/Umag quarterfinalist Albert Montanes/Adrian Ungur, in a stacked section.
Dark Horse: Albert Montanes
Montanes can play very well periodically and does his best on clay. I mostly picked him as a darkhorse becuase of his draw. After Ungur, he will get Hanescu or Bedene. Hanescu may be tired and Bedene was honestly lucky to make the Umag quarters. With Melzer the seed in the quarterfinals section, the semifinals or even a final is possible, depending on Melzer’s form (and Monaco’s).
Verdasco d. Kohlschreiber
Monaco d. Montanes
Verdasco, assuming he can get past Kitzbuhel GOAT Haase.
If Robin makes it that far, he is 4-5 career against Peppo but they haven’t played since 2010.
I still give the Spaniard an ever-so-slight edge to advance.
Monaco isn’t in the greatest form, but beyond Bautista-Agut, I see nobody to stop him until the final.
Montanes, Melzer or perhaps Hanescu probably won’t. Montanes is 2-1 against Monaco, but his 2 wins were back in 2006 and 2009. Monaco won the 2012 meeting in 3 sets on clay.
Verdasco d. Monaco
Monaco is 4-2 against Verdasco on clay, and 5-4 overall.
But given their current form, I still like Verdasco if this is the final.