2016 ATP Stockholm Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP World Tour returns to Sweden with a 250 level stop in Stockholm. Here is a preview with predictions.
IF Stockholm Open
ATP World Tour 250
October 17-23, 2016
Surface: Indoor Hard
Prize Money: €566,525
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Gael Monfils (8)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (18)
3: Ivo Karlovic (20)
4: Alexander Zverev (21)
The top two seeds are former champions as Stockholm boasts a strong field for a 250.
First round matchups to watch:
Gilles Muller vs. Dustin Brown
Muller should ease past Brown, but Brown won’t go down without a highlight reel. Both are serve and volleyers who should battle hard, and Muller’s superior serving should win the day.
(7)John Isner vs. (WC)Juan Martin Del Potro
Isner has won his last two matches against Del Potro, but the former American #1 has had a poor year, while Del Potro is rising up the rankings. Isner’s poor form could turn around against Del Potro if he serves his best, but the Argentine is the favorite to knock off the seed.
(8)Marcos Baghdatis vs. Kevin Anderson
Baghdatis has split meetings against Anderson, both are veterans who could use a win in this match. Anderson may have a slight edge due to his serving, but I have Baghdatis picking his way to a close win.
Gael Monfils is competing in the race for London and looks set to face Jack Sock in the quarters after beats Ivan Dodig or a struggling Gastao Elias. The Shanghai quarterfinalist Sock opens with Malek Jaziri, a streaky challenger, with the Muller/Brown winner to follow. It’s not an easy draw for Sock, but I have him falling to Monfils in the quarterfinals.
Alexander Zverev looks set to face Steve Johnson in the quarters. Zverev will face Donald Young or Adrian Mannarino in round 2, Johnson will face Radu Albot, then Tobias Kamke or Elias Ymer. The home Swede Ymer will have crowd backing, but Johnson should win until he faces an in-form Zverev in the quarters.
Grigor Dimitrov will face Benjamin Becker or Jurgen Zopp in round 2, with the Baghdatis/Anderson winner set to make the quarters. Qualifiers Adam Pavlasek and Ryan Harrison are also in this section with the former Stockholm champion Dimitrov. Dimitrov should defeat Becker, then Baghdatis, if Baghdatis can beat Anderson and Harrison in his first two matches. Dimitrov reached the Beijing final and is still looking for his first ATP title this season.
Ivo Karlovic is 15-10 on hard courts this season, which isn’t great for a player who is at his best on fast surfaces with his powerful serve. Karlovic should face Del Potro in the quarters if he can serve past Fernando Verdasco or wild card Mikael Ymer. Verdasco has been struggling this season. Del Potro over Karlovic is my pick in the quarters. Del Potro will face Nicolas Almagro or Yuichi Sugita in round 2.
Dark Horse: Jack Sock
Sock could take home the title if he can upset Monfils and then most likely beat Zverev in the semifinals. Stockholm isn’t an easy draw for the American, but if his forehand is clicking he’s a dark horse.
Monfils d. Zverev
Del Potro d. Dimitrov
Monfils needs wins to qualify for London, while Del Potro has the most upside in the draw.
Monfils d. Del Potro
Monfils would secure his World Tour Finals spot if he can serve and return with the consistency he found this Summer. He has all the talent, but he’ll need to focus in Stockholm.