2016 ATP Istanbul Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The third ATP tournament this week is a clay 250 in Istanbul, Turkey. This tournament is in the second year of its existence, and is one of the few tournaments in the Middle East.
TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open
ATP World Tour 250
April 25-May 1st, 2016
Prize Money: €426,530
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Bernard Tomic (21)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (28)
3: Ivo Karlovic (29)
4: Federico Delbonis (40)
This is the weakest ATP tournament this week with two of the top four seeds likely to exit early.
First round matchups to watch:
Facundo Bagnis vs. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman
Schwartzman leads the h2h with Bagnis 2-1, and it’s a battle of rising Argentines. Bagnis has a quarterfinal in Casablanca on his recent record, while DSS has just one win in his last five matches. I favor Bagnis to prevail in a tough battle.
Bernard Tomic is the top seed, but he’s terrible on clay and I have him losing to either DSS or Bagnis in the second round. Current Bucharest finalist Lucas Pouille has to play Monday in Romania, and then travel to Istanbul to face Illya Marchenko. He should win that match and continue his good form, but I have Damir Dzumhur beating Teymuraz Gabashvili, and then Pouille, for a spot in the quarterfinals, due to fatigue for Pouille. Dzumhur isn’t a great player, but Gabashvili is in poor form, and Bagnis is my semifinalist from an open first section.
Federico Delbonis is 10-5 on clay this season and just made the semis in Bucharest, after taking the title in Casablanca. Delbonis will open with Dudi Sela, or qualifier Andrey Rublev in round 2. Rublev is better on clay than Sela, but Delbonis has the edge to reach the quarterfinals. Albert Ramos isn’t in great form, but he’s better on clay than Adrian Mannarino, he’ll have a tough match wild card Karen Khachanov in round 2, after Khachanov defeats Aljaz Bedene. Given it’s clay, I have Delbonis defeating Ramos for a semifinal spot.
Grigor Dimitrov is the most talented player in this field, and he should roll to the quarterfinals, with a win over Filip Krajinovic, or qualifier Adrian Ungur. Jiri Vesely is 5-2 in recent clay court matches, and stands in the way of Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. Vesely opens with Thiemo De Bakker, with Roberto Carballes Baena, or wild card Marsel Ilhan to follow. Dimitrov beat Vesely on clay last year, and thus I have him reaching the semifinals of a tournament for the third time this season.
Ivo Karlovic is 0-6 on the season and thus I have qualifier Renzo Olivo defeating Dusan Lajovic, and then Karlovic for a quarterfinal spot. Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Marcel Granollers should defeat local favorite Cem Ilkel and then qualifier Carlos Berlocq, or Hyeon Chung to reach the quarterfinals. I have Granollers showing his veteran talent to reach the semis over Olivo.
Dark Horse: Facundo Bagnis
Bagnis could win the title here, but I do have him going as far as the semifinals, given he’s in a very winnable section. This young Argentine could have a breakthrough this week.
Delbonis d. Bagnis
Dimitrov d. Granollers
Delbonis leads Bagnis 3-2 in the h2h, Dimitrov has a clay win over Granollers and should prevail in that matchup as well.
Dimitrov d. Delbonis
Delbonis could win the title, but Dimitrov has to be the favorite this time.