2015 ATP Munich Preview
Steen Kirby and Marc Imperatori, Tennis Atlantic
Completing the trio of ATP World Tour events this week is the clay court event in Munich, with the strongest field of all tournaments this week. Alongside Estoril and Istanbul, Tennis Atlantic is pleased to have on-site credentialed coverage for the week from Marc Imperatori, who will be reporting on all the action from Bavaria, so keep checking the site for that, in the meantime, here is the preview.
BMW Open by FWU AG
ATP World Tour 250
April 27-May 3, 2015
Prize Money: € 439,405
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Andy Murray (3)
2: Gael Monfils (15)*
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (16)
4: David Goffin (21)
*Monfils withdrew and was replaced by a lucky loser
All 8 seeds are top 30 players, as Munich has the strongest field by ranking this week.
First round matchups to watch:
Lukas Rosol vs. (WC)Florian Mayer
A good form test for funky Flo Mo, still working his way back from injury, he has beaten Rosol on clay before at a challenger, but he’s lost two straight matches now in Monte Carlo and Bucharest, and will be looking to regain positive momentum on home soil. Rosol is just 1-2 on European clay this year, and is also badly in need of a win in this matchup. It’s hard to predict, but I have Mayer winning myself.
(6)Bernard Tomic vs. (WC)Janko Tipsarevic
Tomic is favored against Tipsarevic, who is also working his way back from injury, that said, Janko has a good chance at an “upset” in this one, Tomic is not a clay court player, and if Tipsarevic was even at half of his peak level he would be the favorite. They have never played before, and Tipsarevic is 2-2 since his comeback, while Tomic lost in round 2 of Monte Carlo. He’s had a reliable season so far, in fact the bets of his career in terms of consistency, but his play in Monte Carlo was worrisome, and I have Tipsarevic in an upset in this one, as he seems to be improving in every match he plays back on tour.
(5)Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Jiri Vesely
Kohli won a 4 setter against Vesely at the French in 2013, when Jiri was still a raw youngster, now though he’s reached his second career ATP final, coming off last week in Bucharest. His form has been incredibly streaky this season, where he is either winning matches (Auckland, Bucharest) or losing back to back to back (AO-Miami). That said, his form seems to have picked up with clay, while Kohlschreiber has not had a good season, and at 31 he may be slowing down. He did reach the quarters in Barcelona, and perhaps the ace in his pocket in this matchup is he’s a two time champ, so he knows the venue and plays well here. I expect three sets, and Kohlschreiber to edge out a fatigued Vesely in the end.
Newlywed Andy Murray is making his European clay debut in Munich as the top seed, and I’d expect him to defeat German JL Struff or qualifier Mischa Zverev in his opening match. After that, Rosol/Mayer or Sergiy Stakhovsky/lucky loser Mikhail Ledovskikh will also be underdogs against him in the quarters. Stako is not a clay courter, and the lucky loser will have a chance to defeat him, that said, I have Murray over Mayer in the quarters.Of note, though Murray is 2-0 on clay against Flo, Mayer actually beat Murray when he was coming back from back surgery in 2014 in Doha, only this time it’s Mayer coming back from an injury. Overall, with this 250 level event, Murray shouldn’t drop a set before the semis, as it’s an easy draw for him.
3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut will open with Farrukh Dustov, who hasn’t played in a bit, or qualifier Radek Stepanek a fading veteran, like Murray, I’d expect him to get off to an easy start against a weak opponent probably Stepanek, and then have more of a test in the quarters with either Tipsarevic/Tomic, or Viktor Troicki/Victor Estrella. Estrella continues to impress given his age, he beat Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic in Barcelona to reach the round of 16, and also won a round in Monte Carlo, while Troicki has lost two straight matches. Troicki has a h2h win on indoor hard over Estrella, but I have VEB winning and then beating Tipsarevic as well to reach the quarters, before falling to the Barcelona quarterfinalist RBA who is 4-2 in last two clay court tournaments with a pair of top 30 wins. The seeds should hold and a Murray-RBA semi is likely.
2 seed Gael Monfils withdrew with a knee injury, and thus qualifier Gerald Melzer will take his place. Melzer is likely to matchup with Barcelona finalist Pablo Andujar who made a shock run to the final there (7-4 on clay in 2015), depending if Andujar is tired, and we’ll know based off of how he plays against the struggling Joao Souza, he should reach the quarters, and he’s likely to face Fabio Fognini, who he routined in the Barcelona quarters at that stage. Fognini beat Nadal in Barcelona (for the second time this year), but he’s been pedestrian all season against players not named Nadal, not to mention incredibly erratic. That said he was a finalist here last year so he’s had success, and thus should beat lucky loser Bastian Trinker, and then the Vasek Pospisil/Dominic Thiem winner. Thiem has talent, and he’s done well on clay, but he’s struggling right now, and thus look for Fognini to win, and also beat a fatigued Andujar to reach the semis.
David Goffin will face qualifier Dustin Brown, or Simone Bolelli in his opening match, Bolelli beat Goffin this year on hard courts, and he reached the quarterfinals in Bucharest, while Goffin will seek to improve his clay prospects in just his second tournament on the surface this season. That will be a tough match to pick, and I have Bolelli going through to face the Vesely/Kohlschreiber winner, as Kohli should beat Alex Zverev/Benjamin Becker in round 2, a battle of the German young gun against a veteran German.
Kohli is 2-0 against Bolelli on clay, and given his previous success here, I have the veteran German into the semis.
Dark Horse: Simone Bolelli
Bolelli has a chance to reach the final presuming he can upset Goffin, Kohlschreiber/Vesely, and perhaps Monfils (or Fognini/Thiem) in the semis. He just lost to Monfils in Bucharest, and would have to flip the script to do that, that said he’s a talented shotmaker who can have good runs of success on clay, consistency has been his primary issue.
Murray d. Bautista Agut
Kohlschreiber d. Fognini
Murray has never played RBA on clay, that said, even though clay is his worst surface, the Spaniard hasn’t been a world beater as of late and thus I’d give a consistent Murray, who has been great against all but elite players the edge.
Kohli has a 2-1 h2h against Fognini, and their clay court h2h is split 1-1, Fognini may be in better form, but he’s terribly unreliable, and Kohlschreiber tends to play well in Munich, thus I have him through.
Murray d. Kohlschreiber
Look for Murray to get his first clay court title this week with the withdrawal of Monfils, he beat Kohli in a thriller at RG last year, and he’s outperformed the German in terms of level of play this season.