2017 ATP Halle Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Halle is the other 500 level grass court tournament on the ATP calendar. Roger Federer has reigned supreme at this German tour stop, will that change this year?
Gerry Weber Open
ATP World Tour 500
June 19-25, 2017
Prize Money: €1,836,660
Top 4 seeds (ATP Ranking in parentheses)
1: Roger Federer (4)
2: Dominic Thiem (9)
3: Kei Nishikori (7)
4: Alexander Zverev (21)
First round matches to watch:
Mischa Zverev vs. (Q)Lukas Lacko
The qualifier Lacko is a difficult test for the Stuttgart semifinalist Zverev. The German has advanced beyond the tour fringes, while Lacko has not, but the quality of ball striking between these two is much closer than their ranking. I have Zverev winning, but I don’t count Lacko out.
Jan-Lennard Struff vs. (6)Lucas Pouille
Struff lost after having a match point, coming up just short in his bid to upset the Stuttgart champion Pouille. Fresher than his French rival, and hungry for revenge, Struff could knock off the Frenchman. Pouille’s form has been rising though, and he’s a deserving favorite.
(3)Kei Nishikori vs. Fernando Verdasco
Nishikori has two wins against Verdasco this season, and should be good to go in this one, Verdasco is no slouch on grass though, and if he gets to firing winners, Nishikori could get exposed on his serve. Nishikori has been somewhat of a disappointment as of late, and although he has the skillset to change that, I’ll go with Verdasco to pull off a surprising upset.
Bernard Tomic vs. (WC)Tommy Haas
A quarterfinalist in Stuttgart, Haas has refused to go quietly into retirement, Tomic by contrast has faded from being a serious ATP contender, and is an afterthought on tour at this point. Haas on paper should be close in terms of quality with Tomic, but his fighting spirit and wise play should help him slide past the Australian.
The eight-time Halle champion Roger Federer was shocked by Haas in Stuttgart, he didn’t play that poorly though, and Federer should kick off the rust and defeat the challenging Zverev/Lacko winner in round 2. Pouille should beat his quarterfinal opponent, after Struff, The Frenchman will face Benoit Paire or defending champion Florian Mayer. Mayer is in terrible form and is unlikely to come close to repeating. Federer could fall at any stage, but he loves playing in Halle and I have him making at least the semifinals this week.
Nishikori/Verdasco will square off with Karen Khachanov/Gilles Simon in round 2, Simon is in awful form, so I have Verdasco beating Khachanov before falling to Ivo Karlovic in the quarters. Dr. Ivo comes off the Rosmalen final and will face qualifier Mikhail Youhzny in a tricky round one match, before running into either Andrey Rublev or Albert Ramos. This isn’t an easy prediction to make, but I’ll go with Karlovic over Verdasco in this section.
Dominic Thiem has made huge strides this season, and that success should transfer onto grass. The Austrian faces Max Marterer first up, with David Ferrer or Robin Haase to follow. I have Thiem defeating Tommy Haas in the quarters, after facing Tomic, Haas will look to continue his success against either Richard Gasquet or Gael Monfils, both of whom could use some form before Wimbledon.
Roberto Bautista Agut will begin against dirtballer Carlos Berlocq, he should face an in-form Vasek Pospisil in round 2, presuming Pospisil’s bid isn’t ended by shotmaker Dustin Brown. Pospisil, 6-1 on grass this year, is a dangerous opponent, but RBA is the safer bet. I have Rosmalen semifinalist Alexander Zverev defeating Paolo Lorenzi, and then Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in round 2, after Kohli defeats Joao Sousa. German fans should enjoy that round 2 match, and they’ll like Zverev’s win over RBA in the quarterfinals even more.
Dark Horse: Vasek Pospisil
11-1 in his last twelve matches, the big serving Canadian Pospisil is a fallen ATP star that is looking to move his way back to the tour level. Although I don’t have him getting past round 2 in Halle, he has every chance to upset Bautista Agut, and possibly Zverev to reach the semifinals.
Federer d. Karlovic
Thiem d. Zverev
I’ll go with Federer’s consistency, and Thiem’s improvements this season, picking them both to make the final. Zverev will have every chance, but I feel Thiem is slightly more developed than his counterpart right now. Federer should take home another Halle title.
Federer d. Thiem