2017 ATP Barcelona Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The second clay level 500 of the season is underway in Barcelona with a host of top players competing. Here is your preview with predictions.
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
ATP World Tour 500
April 24-30, 2017
Prize Money: €2,324,905
Andy Murray is struggling but he’s never lost to Bernard Tomic (5-0), and Tomic won his first match in months against Dustin Brown in round 1. Murray should also find his way past Feliciano Lopez (or Albert Montanes) in the third round, as this is not the most difficult section with no one else in better form, despite Murray’s current issues. Surprise Monte Carlo finalist Albert Ramos faces young gun Casper Ruud in round 2, Ruud has won three straight matches having come through qualifying, but presuming Ramos is rested enough he should continue his good run of play. Jan-Lennard Struff is also playing well, but I have Roberto Bautista Agut reaching the quarterfinals with wins over Struff and Ramos, before falling to Murray.
A solid clay courter, Dominic Thiem should clear out Dan Evans while Pablo Carreno Busta looks set to end Yuichi Sugita’s remarkable run, as a lucky loser he stunned Richard Gasquet on clay in one of the upsets of the year, and also has a win against Tommy Robredo thus far. Carreno Busta defeated Andreas Seppi already, but Thiem should prove too much in the quarters given the result of the Rio final on clay earlier this year that Thiem won.
Benoit Paire and Joao Sousa look set to face off in the bottom half, Paire already beat Marcel Granollers, while Sousa is a reasonable favorite against Horacio Zeballos. Look for Paire to sneak into the quarterfinals and face either Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Pablo Cuevas or semifinalist David Goffin, most likely Goffin. Goffin is in great form and should defeat qualifier Nikolosz Basilashvili, while Cuevas beats Karen Khachanov before falling to Goffin. Goffin is the clear favorite to reach the semis here.
Rafael Nadal will play all of his matches in Barcelona on the court named after him, the nine-time and defending champion of this tournament comes off a title in Monte Carlo on clay, and should ease past Rogerio Dutra Silva in round 2, then defeat Kevin Anderson round 3, after Anderson upset a struggling David Ferrer in round 2, also posting a win over Carlos Berlocq round 1. Casablanca finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber needs to defeat Hyeon Chung before facing off with his countryman Alexander Zverev. The younger Zverev will be the favorite, but Kohli is in good form and I have him falling to Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Dark Horse: Pablo Carreno Busta
PCB has a shot at upsetting Thiem and making a run in the top half section, he’s a home player and clearly has the ability on clay, especially with Gasquet already knocked out, to reach the semis or beyond.
Thiem d. Murray
Nadal d. Goffin
Nadal d. Thiem
Murray’s poor form on clay suggests Thiem has a great shot at making this final, Nadal is the clear favorite to win yet again in Barcelona though, especially after dominating Monte Carlo.