The inaugural ATP tournament in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is underway this week, it’s a 250 on clay as French Open preparations continue across Europe.
Gazprom Hungarian Open
ATP World Tour 250
April 24-30, 2017
Prize Money: €482,060
Monte Carlo semifinalist Lucas Pouille begins his campaign against Jiri Vesely, who knocked off Borna Coric round one and has won five of his last seven. Pouille on clay looks solid enough to reach the quarters opposite Martin Klizan. The draw opened up for Klizan, who has been struggling, after qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo stunned a jaded Gilles Simon in straight sets in round 1. Fratangelo could follow that up with another win, but Pouille over Klizan seems like a sensible prediction.
Fabio Fognini is usually competitive on clay and could use a boost against Andrey Kuznetsov, who is seeking a breakthrough of his own. Kuznetsov is a dangerous dark horse, but I have Fognini through to face dirtballer Paolo Lorenzi. Lorenzi will face Sergiy Stakhovsky in round 2, and is the favorite to reach the semifinals in my book. He’s more consistent than his counterpart Fognini.
The big serving Ivo Karlovic has struggled this season and is not great on clay, thus Damir Dzumhur, who beat Steve Darcis round 1, looks set to go through to the quarterfinals against in-form qualifier Aljaz Bedene. Bedene is red hot, with a 21-0 record below the tour level right now. His second round opponent Robin Haase did upset Diego Schwartzman in round 1, but Bedene’s form indicates he’s due for a great week and I have him winning in round 2 then beating Dzumhur to make the semifinals.
Viktor Troicki won his opening match and looks set to defeat Laslo Djere, a qualifier, in round 2. Houston quaterfinalist Fernando Verdasco is the favorite in this section, Marton Fuscovics is a local favorite but unlikely to beat the veteran Spaniard in round 2. Verdasco on clay is the favorite to reach the semifinals.
Dark Horse: Aljaz Bedene
Bedene has lurked on the cusp of being a solid ATP player and after great results below the tour level he looks set to step up to the big stage and cement his place among the players who compete week to week on the ATP Tour.
Pouille d. Lorenzi
Verdasco d. Bedene
Pouille vs. Verdasco
Pouille and Verdasco look set to make the final of this somewhat weak 250, any outcome is possible but their form seems good enough to prevail, with Pouille as the favorite.