2016 ATP Shenzen Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The other ATP 250 this week takes place in Shenzen, China, it’s also a hard court tournament that is part of the 2016 Asian swing. Here is a preview with predictions.
ATP World Tour 250
September 26-October 2, 2016
Prize Money: $641,305
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Tomas Berdych (9)
2: David Goffin (14)
3: Richard Gasquet (17)
4: Bernard Tomic (22)
Shenzen boasts three top 20 players and is another solid 250.
First round matchups to watch:
(Q)Ryan Harrison vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Harrison qualified after doing the same in Canada, and at the US Open. The American continues to flirt with being an ATP regular, while the Spanish veteran GGL has never beaten him (0-2) and is in the midst of a slump. Garcia-Lopez would love to break out of that slump in Asia, but Harrison should prevail.
(6)Benoit Paire vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili
Paire has a h2h win and should easily win this, but he’s been terrible in recent tournaments. The Frenchman has lost two straight and is just 2-5 in his last seven matches. Both come from Metz, where Basilashvili qualified and reached the round of 16. I’m still going with Paire, but he could lose control and get knocked off in this one.
St. Petersburg semifinalist Tomas Berdych is 33-16 on the season and will face Mikhail Kukushkin or Lukas Rosol first up. Kukushkin isn’t fit and Rosol has been struggling, so Berdych should ease into the semis against Jiri Vesely, his Czech countryman. Presuming he’s fit Vesely should ease past dirtballer Pablo Andujar and either Inigo Cervantes or a young Akira Santillan in round 2. Berdych over Vesely is my pick for the quarters.
St. Petersburg champ Alexander Zverev faces fellow young gun Yoshihito Nishioka in round 1. Fatigue could be a factor, but if Zverev isn’t jet lagged he should get past the struggling Japanese player. Bernard Tomic over Zverev is my pick for the quarters. The Aussie faces the Harrison vs. GGL winner in round 2, while Zverev will face Thomaz Bellucci or Gastao Elias, both of whom are struggling. A fresher Tomic should beat Zverev if he’s motivated.
Metz semifinalist David Goffin will face Malek Jaziri or Stephane Robert. Jaziri is in great form and Goffin should watch out. In the quarters it should be much easier as Janko Tipsarevic, who has struggled at the ATP level this year, is perhaps the favorite. The Serbian faces China’s Ze Zhang, with Paire/Basilashvili to follow in round 2. Goffin over Tipsarevic is my pick for the quarters.
Richard Gasquet has 26 wins on the season and should earn his 27th against qualifier Andrew Whittington, 7 seed Fabio Fognini beat Dudi Sela in round 1. Gasquet should face either Fognini or qualifier Mischa Zverev in the quarters. Zverev beat China’s Zhe Li in round 1. The elder Zverev is my pick over Fognini, and Gasquet over Mischa Zverev is my pick in the quarters.
Dark Horse: Ryan Harrison
If Harrison can knock off Tomic and Zverev, two players he should be able to matchup evenly with if he’s going to improve his ATP ranking, he’d be in the semis, and he could go as far as the final. His recent form is a good sign, but he can’t be trusted yet to perform when it counts.
Tomic d. Berdych
Goffin d. Gasquet
Both players need a good showing in this 250 and they should beat veteran rivals in the semis. Both Gasquet and Berdych haven’t played their best this season.
Goffin d. Tomic
Goffin seems like a better, more consistent ball striker than Tomic on hard court these days and their ranking difference reflects that.