2016 ATP Moscow Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
There are three 250 level stops on the ATP World Tour this week, it’s one of the final chances for the players of the ATP World Tour to earn points at the end of the 2016 season. The indoor hard court tournament in Moscow is the second of two ATP stops in Russia.
VTB Kremlin Cup
ATP World Tour 250
October 17-23, 2016
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize Money: $717,250
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP Rankings in parentheses)
1: Roberto Bautista Agut (19)
2: Albert Ramos (27)
3: Philipp Kohlschreiber (30)
4: Viktor Troicki (31)
Moscow doesn’t have a strong field but that does give a chance for lower ranked players to get a good result.
Shanghai finalist Roberto Bautista Agut gets a much needed first round bye, Wild card Konstantin Kravchuk is his likely round 2 opponent. Kravchuk faces qualifier Alexander Bublik in round 1. Presuming RBA isn’t exhausted, the Spaniard should slip into the quarterfinals to face another Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta. PCB opens with qualifier Jurgen Melzer, with Karen Khachanov or Damir Dzumhur to follow. Melzer is returning from injury, while PCB has been improving on hard courts this year. Khachanov is a home player to watch, he won Chengdu, but I still think PCB will knock him off in round 2. RBA over PCB is my pick for the quarters.
Viktor Troicki is 7-3 indoors this year and looks set to defeat either Daniil Medvedev or Mikhail Kukushkin in round 2. Medvedev, a young gun 20 year old, is in good form, but the experienced Troicki should reach the semifinals, after defeating a quarterfinal opponent, either Marcel Granollers/Stephane Robert, or Lukas Rosol/Gerald Melzer. Rosol over Granollers is my pick for round 2, Troicki should beat Rosol in the quarters.
Albert Ramos isn’t a great hard court player, but he still has a shot at defeating either Aslan Karatsev or Evgeny Donskoy. Ramos is just 9-13 on hard courts this year, Donskoy is struggling, but I have Ramos over Karatsev for a spot in the quarters. I have Paolo Lorenzi, who has had a career year, upsetting Fabio Fognini in round 2 before falling to Ramos in the quarters. Fognini faces Ricardas Berankis, while Lorenzi faces lucky loser Federico Gaio. This is an incredibly weak section for a hard court tournament.
A struggling Philipp Kohlschreiber just lost to Janko Tipsarevic, he will face Tipsarevic again if Tipsarevic faces Dusan Lajovic in round 1 . Russia’s own Andrey Kuznetsov looks set to make the semis, he opens with dirtballer Guido Pella, with Cem Ilkel or Thomaz Bellucci to follow. The big hitting Bellucci should fall to the more consistent Kuznetsov, and then Kuznetsov should beat Tipsarevic in the quarters.
Dark Horse: Konstantin Kravchuk
The wild card Kravchuk has had challenger success, if RBA is fatigued or slipped up he could translate that into a career best ATP result in a home tournament.
Bautista Agut d. Troicki
Kuznetsov d. Ramos
RBA is the favorite in the top half while Kuznetsov should be the favorite to reach the final in a home tournament for him. RBA beat Troicki in the ATP Sofia final.
Kuznetsov d. Bautista Agut
Kuznetsov has had some tough draws this year, this is not one of them, and the Russian has a great chance to win his first career ATP title.