2017 ATP Kitzbuhel Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
ATP Kitzbuhel is on the calendar once again, and it’s a 250 level opportunity for some of the best dirtballers in tennis.
ATP World Tour 250
July 31-August 5, 2017
Prize Money: €482,060
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Pablo Cuevas (26)
2: Fabio Fognini (31)
3: Paolo Lorenzi (36)
4: Gilles Simon (39)
Kitzbuhel attracts a solid group of dirtballers this year.
Pablo Cuevas, 14-9 on clay this year, is on a three match losing streak that he should break against either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Sebastian Ofner. With Basilashvili playing poorly, I have Ofner pulling an upset at home before falling to Cuevas. Hamburg semifinalist Federico Delbonis should defeat Renzo Olivo. Horacio Zeballos or Rogerio Dutra Silva will follow, presuming Delbonis isn’t fatigued, he should reach the quarters before falling to Cuevas.
Paolo Lorenzi reached the final in Umag, he should beat Joao Sousa or Mikhail Youzhny in round 2. Sousa found a bit of form last week in Gstaad, but Lorenzi is the best player on clay in his section. Wild card Gerald Melzer should defeat a struggling Carlos Berlocq. Melzer comes off a challenger final, Gstaad semifinalist Robin Haase has never beaten qualifier Santiago Giraldo, but he should reach the quarterfinal with wins over Giraldo and Melzer, before falling to Lorenzi.
Gstaad champion Fabio Fognini should beat either Andrey Kuznetsov or Milijan Zekic. Kuznetsov is a dark horse, but I’ll back Fognini’s form. Jan-Lennard Struff faces a struggling Tommy Haas, Alexandr Dolgopolov could catch fire and beat him round 2, after defeating a struggling Thomaz Bellucci, but I have Struff falling to Fognini in the quarterfinals.
Gilles Simon is struggling, but he’s the favorite against Dusan Lajovic or the steadily improving Max Marterer. Jiri Vesely has reached consecutive ATP quarterfinals. Vesely opens with Gstaad finalist Yannick Hanfmann, who should be out of gas. Philipp Kohlschreiber or Facundo Bagnis await in round 2, Kohlschreiber’s health is in question, thus Vesely is my favorite to go as far as the semifinals, upsetting Simon in the quarters.
Dark Horse: Andrey Kuznetsov
Kuznetsov is talented enough to upset a tired Fognini and make a run all the way to the final, I don’t predict it, but he’s the most dangerous non-seeded player in the draw this week.
Lorenzi d. Cuevas
Vesely d. Fognini
It’s anyone’s title in Kitzbuhel this week, but I favor the Italian dirtballer Lorenzi to grab a key title.
Lorenzi d. Vesely