2016 ATP Hamburg Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 500 level tournament this week is in Hamburg, Germany as a host of top ATP players will transition from grass back to clay in search of prize money and ranking points. Here is your preview of the German Tennis Championships, along with predictions.
German Tennis Championships 2016
ATP World Tour 500
July 11-17, 2016
Prize Money: €1,388,830
Top 4 seeds (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Philipp Kohlschreiber (22)
2: Benoit Paire (23)
3: Pablo Cuevas (24)
4: Alexander Zverev (28)
For a 500 level tournament Hamburg has one of the weakest fields it’s ever had. The absence of a dominant favorite means a lot of ranking points are on offer for players outside of the level of ATP stars.
First round matchups to watch:
(3)Pablo Cuevas vs. (WC)Florian Mayer
Mayer is 2-0 in the h2h against the much higher ranked Cuevas, a solid clay court player himself. The veteran German recently won Halle, although he hasn’t been as good with his funky game on clay compared to grass. This could turn into quite the battle, on clay, Cuevas is the current favorite.
Despite a poor showing at Wimbledon, veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber is solid on clay, and tends to play well in Germany. Kohlschreiber’s path to the quarters is Carlos Berlocq, followed by Nicolas Kicker or Thomas Fabbiano. Berlocq has been in good form on clay, so I have him reaching the quarters if Kohlschreiber is still injured. However, Kohlschreiber over Kicker is the pick in my bracket.
Jeremy Chardy faces Maximo Gonzalez in round 1. The French veteran is solid enough on clay to get past Gonzalez, and the Mikhail Youzhny/Renzo Olivo winner to reach the quarterfinals, although I have him losing to Kohlschreiber at that stage.
Pablo Cuevas looks set to dominate his section if he can get past his opener with Mayer. The young Brazilian Thiago Monteiro qualified and looks set to defeat Mischa Zverev before facing Cuevas. Nicolas Almagro is Cuevas likely quarterfinal opponent. Although qualifier Jan Satral is on a winning streak, he’s likely not up to Almagro’s level, and he’s making his ATP debut. In round 2, Gerald Melzer or Paul-Henri Mathieu await, and neither are top players compared to Almagro on clay. Cuevas over Almagro is my pick in the quarters given Cuevas is better on clay than Almagro these days.
The streaky Benoit Paire has an interesting opener with veteran Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Traver has been solid on the challenger tour as of late, and he’s a steady dirtballer. Paire could crash and burn, but I have him winning his round 1 match, then going on to defeat J.L. Struff (or Daniil Medvedev) in round 2. Struff is in poor form, while Medvedev lacks ATP seasoning. Look for a finally healthy Martin Klizan to find form again and defeat Igor Sijsling and qualifier Steve Diez or wild card Louis Wessels, in his ATP debut, to reach the quarters. I have Klizan upsetting Paire as well. The Slovak got off to a hot start in 2016 before suffering an unfortunate injury that kept him off the tour for months.
Alexander Zverev is a solid young player and the highlight of the German tennis championships this year. Zverev opens with journeyman dirtballer Inigo Cervantes, with Leonardo Mayer or Stephane Roberto follow. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez should reach the quarters as well, he opens with Kenny De Schepper, with Grega Zemlja or wild card Marvin Moeller to follow. Mayer has been in terrible form, and GGL isn’t in great form either, so the challenger star Cervantes is most likely Zverev’s toughest test. He should pass it with flying colors.
Dark Horse: Martin Klizan
Klizan could burst through and win the title, but I do have him reaching as far as the semifinals. He has a game well suited for success in many ATP matches, and he showed highlights of his great skill and power game earlier this year before he was injured. With Paire one of the weaker #2 seeds in tournaments this year, conditions are ripe for an upset.
Cuevas d. Kohlschreiber
Zverev d. Klizan
With injury concerns an issue for Kohlschreiber, I have Cuevas reaching the final, while little stands in the way of Zverev doing the same.
Zverev d. Cuevas
After reaching two ATP finals this year, Zverev has to hope the third time is the charm if he reaches the final in Hamburg. With the home crowd cheering him on, Zverev should take his first ATP title at the same venue he made his ATP breakthrough a couple of years ago.