Roger Federer again reclaimed the #1 ranking by virtue of his title in Stuttgart that came 6-4 7-6 in the final against a resurgent Milos Raonic. Federer had some tough matches to open his grass court season in Germany, but he got past Mischa Zverev in 3, Guido Pella in straights, and Nick Kyrgios in a tight third set tiebreak earlier in the week, along with the Raonic victory.
Raonic had his best run of the year defeating Mirza Basic, Marton Fucsovics, Tomas Berdych, and Lucas Pouille without dropping a set or having his serve threatened en route to the final.
Germany’s Petzschner and Puetz defeat Lindstedt/Matkowski in the Mercedes Cup doubles final.
31 year old Richard Gasquet defeated his fellow over 30 French countryman Jeremy Chardy to win the Libema Open title in the Netherlands on grass. Gasquet claimed his first championship of the season 6-3 7-6 after previously winning matches against Evgeny Donskoy, Stefanos Tsitsipas and surprise semifinalist Bernard Tomic to reach the final.
Chardy moved to 9-1 on grass this season after defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Adrian Mannarino, Mackenzie McDonald and Matt Ebden to reach the final, he could be a dark horse at Wimbledon.
Inglot/Skugor defeated Klaasen/Venus in the doubles final.
Grass Court Season Kicks off With Libema Open 250 in the Netherlands Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
If you are tired of the red clay, you’re in for a treat starting Monday. The ATP grass court season begins with the 250 stop in the Netherlands that is a joint event with the WTA. Here is your look at the field with predictions for the week ahead.
The second round match between Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Jeremy Chardy looks to be a great one. Chardy has to defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez first to get there. I’ll go with Mannarino to find his form back on a faster surface and reach the quarters. At that stage Italy’s Andreas Seppi should be his opponent. Seppi will need to edge Mackenzie McDonald and Vasek Pospisil or Alex Bolt to get that far. Mannarino is my pick to reach the semis.
Matt Ebden is my dark horse pick this week. Pierre-Hugues Herbert comes off a doubles final in Paris and Gilles Muller is struggling (his round 1 and 2 opponents). Presuming he beats Muller he should defeat fellow journeyman Yuichi Sugita in the quarters. Sugita gets Nikoloz Basilashvili in round 1 (he struggles on grass), with Marius Copil or Aljaz Bedene to follow, both beatable opponents.
Tournament favorite Richard Gasquet draws Evgeny Donskoy or qualifier Franko Skugor in round 2. Gasquet should win and also defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters. The Greek opens with local wild card Tallon Griekspoor, Malek Jaziri or Max Purcell will follow.
Ivo Karlovic vs. Robin Haase looks like a crucial round 1 match. I’ll back the struggling veteran Karlovic to win that and also defeat Marcos Baghdatis or Bernard Tomic to reach the quarters. Tomic has a great chance in theory, but he’s far from consistent these days. Look for Karlvoic to face Daniil Medvedev in the quarters. Medvedev is good on grass and should upset Fernando Verdasco in round 2 after defeating Yuki Bhambri in round 1. I’ll back Karlovic to reach the semis.
Pouille and Muller Claim Second ATP Titles of the Season Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
A great comeback for Frenchman Lucas Pouille secured his second ATP title of the season, the first final of the 2017 grass court season was decided 4-6 7-6 6-4, as Pouille was pushed to the limit in the second set tiebreak, and after taking that, battled hard in the third to break Lopez’s effective grass court serve and volley and hold his own serve to secure the title. Pouille barely got out of his opening match, winning close second and third set tiebreaks and saving a match point to defeat J.L. Struff, he went on to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber and Benoit Paire in close matches, showing his mental toughness this week.
Lopez chip and charge helped him reach his first tour final of the season, the Spaniard, happy to be on grass, got past Gilles Simon, Jeremy Chardy, Tomas Berdych, and Mischa Zverev, all of those matches going three sets except for his contest against Simon as the Mercedes Cup featured a lot of close matches this week.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic to take the doubles title.
34 year old Gilles Muller continued his best season on tour, winning a second title this year 7-6 7-6 in narrow fashion over fellow big server Ivo Karlovic at the Ricoh Open. Muller won tiebreaks this week against Andreas Seppi and Alexander Zverev, also winning in three sets against Aljaz Bedene to reach the final as his serve and volley game was lethal on grass.
Karlovic, 38, reached his first final this season, the veteran upset Marin Cilic in three sets in the semifinals, Daniil Medvedev and Stefan Kozlov were his other victims on the week, as both players will be difficult early round opponents at Wimbledon.
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo continued the trend of veteran success in Rosmalen as they defeated Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram.
2017 ATP Stuttgart and Rosmalen Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2017 ATP grass court season starts this week with two European tour stops that are on the 250 level of the tour. Clay season is over, so get ready for fast paced action on the green grass of Stuttgart and Den Bosch.
ATP World Tour 250
June 12-18, 2017
Prize Money: €630,785
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Roger Federer (5)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (12)
3: Tomas Berdych (14)
4: Lucas Pouille (16)
Stuttgart has a great field this week, highlighted by one of the best grass court players of all time, Roger Federer, along with a core group of solid tour players for a 250.
First round matchups to watch:
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs. (WC)Tommy Haas
A battle between solid grass court players, the 39 year old Haas has lost more than a step, but he’s a very crafty player at his age, and will give the big server Herbert plenty of trouble. Herbert has not been able to consistently compete at the tour level in singles, and Haas should get the win in his German homeland.
Florian Mayer vs. Jeremy Chardy
The unorthodox shotmaking of Mayer is a good fit for grass, and he’s the favorite in Germany against the higher ranked Chardy, who hits the ball hard and plays aggressively, but often racks up a high error count in the process. Mayer should find form and notch the win.
(7)Gilles Simon vs. Feliciano Lopez
Lopez has won both meetings these veterans have played on grass, Simon is in poor form, and Lopez, happy to be off of the slow, high bouncing clay, should be able to whip his serve in and advance forward enough to get the win and reach round 2.
Marcos Baghdatis vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Baghdatis has been in terrible form and hasn’t won a match since January, but he’s been good on grass against the German, who for his part has lost three straight matches and isn’t in the best form himself. Baghdatis badly needs this win, but in Germany, Kohlschreiber is a sensible favorite.
Roger Federer, the heavy favorite this tournament, will open his bid against the Haas/Herbert winner, look for Roger to tune up and get the win, before doing the same against serve and volleyer Mischa Zverev, who is happy to be off of clay, and should beat Malek Jaziri and either Yannick Hanfmann or Marton Fucsovics in round 2.
Tomas Berdych and Feliciano Lopez should contest the other quarterfinal in the top half, Lopez will face Mayer/Chardy in round 2, and should be the favorite in that match, if he defeats Simon. Berdych will get a dangerous contest against Bernard Tomic for his first match, presuming Tomic puts away the ageless Stephane Robert. Given Tomic’s awful form (four straight defeats), Berdych should make it to the quarters, where I have him knocking off Lopez to reach the semis. Berdych and Lopez have split the h2h 6-6.
Grigor Dimitrov will face Andrey Kuznetsov or Jerzy Janowicz in round 2, Janowicz is far removed from his success on grass, although he still has plenty of power. Kuznetsov has had a good season, but Dimitrov is a favorite in this section for a reason, having found a bit of form at Roland Garros. Viktor Troicki should beat Benoit Paire and Nikoloz Basilashvili/Peter Gojowczyk to reach the quarters. Dimitrov will be the favorite whether it’s Troicki or someone else in the quarters.
Lucas Pouille begins his tournament against either Jan-Lennard Struff or Lukas Lacko. Pouille isn’t perfect on grass by any measure but he should be good enough to reach the quarters before falling to Steve Johnson. The in-form American Johnson faces Max Marterer first up, then the Kohlschreiber/Baghdatis winner, a difficult but winnable path. Johnson’s game is built for fast surfaces.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
The unseeded Spaniard has every shot to at least make the quarters, and will have a punchers chance against Berdych. Federer is probably too much in the semis, but after a rough few months, Lopez could be back in winning form on grass.
Semis Federer d. Berdych
Dimitrov d. Johnson
Final Federer d. Dimitrov
Nothing suggests Federer will not win in Stuttgart, he should be fresh and focused, while Dimitrov looks to be solid enough to make the final with his all-court game.
ATP World Tour 250
S-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
June 12-18, 2017
Prize Money: €589,185
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Marin Cilic (7)
2: Alexander Zverev (10)
3: Ivo Karlovic (24)
4: Gilles Muller (28)
First round matchups to watch:
Yuichi Sugita vs. Janko Tipsarevic
Sugita has found form this year and just won a challenger on grass. Tipsarevic is a steady veteran who has a h2h win this matchup, but has yet to return to his tour level form. Fatigue may be an issue for Sugita, but it’s sensible that he’d be able to defeat Tipsarevic on grass.
(5)Steve Darcis vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
Two shotmaking specialists, Dolgo has a only won one out of three meetings against the Belgian veteran, but he’s still the favorite in this match. The serve and volleyer Darcis is my pick though, he’s had a great season and that should continue on grass.
Dustin Brown vs. (WC)Stefan Kozlov
Brown is a dangerous serve and volleyer and should teach the young Kozlov a thing or two on grass. Kozlov has the game to compete on this surface but he still has plenty to learn, and Brown should have too crisp of a performance to suffer a defeat in this one.
Mikhail Youzhny vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
The veteran Youzhny has a great history on grass, but at 34 his game has declined from its peak by a large margin. Kokkinakis is just getting his feet wet on tour after injury, he’s immensely talented but Youzhny should find a way to scrape through for a much needed win to further enhance his grass court record.
Jordan Thompson vs. Adrian Mannarino
Another battle between players who enjoy grass court tennis, Thompson comes off of a challenger final on the surface, and although Mannarino should challenge him, look for Thompson’s fast developing game to show out and get the win.
Marin Cilic is in good form after reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and should beat the Sugita/Tipsarevic winner, and then Darcis/Dolgopolov in the quarterfinals. Cilic didn’t drop a set in his Paris victories and looks setup to continue that trend on grass. The Darcis/Dolgopolov winner will face Vasek Pospisil or local wild card Tallon Griekspoor in round 2.
Ivo Karlovic‘s serve is a threat on grass, and he should defeat Brown/Kozlov, before facing Youzhny in the quarters. Youzhny faces Robin Haase or Daniil Medvedev in round 2 and has a winnable path to the quarters, although Haase is a competitive opponent. Karlovic should be solid enough to reach the semis on this surface.
11-6 in his career on grass, Alexander Zverev is a contender for this title, after breaking through on tour this season with a 27-10 record on the year. Zverev struggled at Roland Garros, but moving to grass may bring a refreshing change for him. Zverev should defeat Thompson/Mannarino to reach the quarters, Nicolas Mahut has won three Den Bosch titles and should defeat him there. Mahut opens with Dennis Novikov and then faces Rendy Lu/Evgeny Donskoy. Look for Mahut to show off his talents and reach at least the semifinals.
Gilles Muller also looks set for success, he’s had a great season and grass is perhaps his best surface. Muller should defeat Andreas Seppi/Tatsuma Ito, and then either Aljaz Bedene or Denis Istomin in the quarters. Rising young gun Hyeon Chung and improving American Ernesto Escobedo are also here in this section, and Chung could rise up and secure it. I have it Muller over Bedene, two players who have had good seasons, in the quarterfinals.
Dark Horse: Mikhail Youzhny
There are plenty of seeds with a shot at this title, but don’t count out Youzhny. The veteran still has enough game to find form for a week and take a title. In the very least, he should make the quarterfinals, with a good chance at beating Karlovic.
Semis Cilic d. Karlovic
Muller d. Mahut
Final Cilic d. Muller
Cilic should be the clear favorite to take the title this week. I’ll back Muller’s form over all of his opponents to make the final, and he could take the title as well.
2016 ATP Grass Court Season Recap: Murray and Thiem Soar Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The last four ATP grass court tournaments after the French Open featured most of the top players looking to get practice before Wimbledon, and a host of players making strong runs. Many of these players will likely find themselves wishing their was more grass court tennis after Wimbledon, while others are already ready for hard court action.
Austrian superstar Dominic Thiem has moved into the top 8 after his fourth title of the season was won in Stuttgart at the Mercedes Cup. Thiem has won titles on all of the surfaces (hard court, clay, and grass) already this season and has clearly demonstrated his all-court prowess. Thiem beat Sam Groth, Mikhail Youzhny, and grass court legend Roger Federer, before toppling Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final. Only against Groth did Thiem not drop a set, but he showed great fight to prevail in his matches. Kohlschreiber had defeated Thiem earlier this season in a clay final, so the Austrian got his revenge.
The German defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Denis Kudla, Radek Stepanek, and Juan Martin Del Potro to reach the final. Del Potro showed great form as he continues his return from serious wrist injuries.
Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak defeated Fabrice Martin and Oliver Marach in the doubles final.
ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)
Nicolas Mahut won a second consecutive, and a third overall Den Bosch title as he defeated fellow big server Gilles Muller in the final. Mahut defeated Lukas Lacko, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Bernard Tomic, and Sam Querrey en route to the final, surviving in three sets against all but Lacko and Muller. The Frenchman clearly enjoys playing in Holland.
Muller contested his second career ATP final as he defeated Robin Haase, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, David Ferrer, and Ivo Karlovic to get that far. Both Ferrer and Tomic disappointing. At 33 he’s still looking for an elusive first ATP title.
Mate Pavic and Michael Venus defeated Dominic Inglot and Raven Klaasen in the doubles final as New Zealanders won both doubles titles on offer last week.
Florian Mayer stunningly captured his first title since 2011 as the oft-injured German will return to the top 100. Mayer defeated countryman Alexander Zverev in the final, the passionate Zverev simply didn’t have consistency to prevail in the third set. Mayer with his funky game has seen a resurgence in his tennis on grass this season. The 32 year old defeated Brian Baker, got a walkover against Kei Nishikori, and then defeated Andreas Seppi, and the in-form Dominic Thiem to reach the final.
The 19 year old Zverev dropped his second career ATP final after posting wins over Viktor Troicki, Benjamin Becker, Marcos Baghdatis, and most surprisingly, Roger Federer in three sets. Federer will now enter Wimbledon without a grass court title, though he entered two events. The Swiss legend hasn’t won an ATP title this season.
Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram defeated Alexander Peya and Lukasz Kubot in the doubles final.
Andy Murray was a set and a break down against Milos Raonic before he fought back to capture a fifth career London Queen’s title. Murray defeated Nicolas Mahut, Aljaz Bedene, Kyle Edmund, and Marin Cilic, as he dropped sets against Edmund and Cilic, along with Raonic. Murray has been in tremendous form as he moved to 33-6 on the season with two ATP titles. Murray hasn’t lost a match before the final since Monte Carlo.
Raonic defeated Nick Kyrgios, Jiri Vesely, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Bernard Tomic to reach his third ATP final of the season. The Canadian has established himself as a possible Wimbledon dark horse.
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Chris Guccione and Andre Sa in the doubles final as they will perhaps be the Wimbledon men’s doubles favorites given their prowess on grass and great success this season as a team.
Lopez Heats Up With Eastbourne Win Before Wimbledon, Bautista Agut Wins Maiden Title at Den Bosch
After coming up just a point short of taking the title at Queens club, Feliciano Lopez repeated as Eastbourne champion with a three set victory over top seed Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-7 7-5.
Lopez was able to bounce back after having a chance to close out the match in straight sets and breaking for the win over the Frenchman.
Lopez has been on fire the past two weeks and he didn’t drop a set against Tobias Kamke, Jeremy Chardy and Sam Querrey this week.
Gasquet found some form with a three set win over Bernard Tomic, and straight set victories over Martin Klizan and Denis Istomin.
Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot won the doubles title, they beat Alex Peya and Bruno Soares in the final.
Roberto Bautista Agut won a much deserved first career ATP title in Den Bosch this week. The Spaniard has now moved into the top 30 and is having a career season. He improves to 1-1 in ATP finals in his career.
RBA beat former champion Benjamin Becker 2-6 7-6 6-4 in the final and he played some long matches this week, as his semifinal win over Jurgen Melzer had a 4-6 6-2 7-6 scoreline, and his quarterfinal win over Nicolas Mahut had a 6-3 4-6 6-3 scoreline. RBA also beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Matt Ebden this week.
The German vet Becker reached his third career ATP final and his first since 2009 with a three set win over Marcel Granollers, a straight sets drubbing of Dudi Sela, a three set victory over Vasek Pospisil and a two set win over Joao Sousa.
His play was a welcome surprise this week and Den Bosch was an entertaining event even without a lot of big names
in the field.
Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau won the doubles title over Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky.
2014 ATP Eastbourne, ‘s-Hertogenbosch Previews & Picks Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
It’s the week before Wimbledon and many players are choosing to make their final preparations for the next slam in the pair of 250 grass court tournaments this week.
ATP World Tour 250
Eastbourne, Great Britain
June 16-June 21, 2014
Prize Money: € 503,185
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Richard Gasquet (14)
2: Alex Dolgopolov (19)
3: Feliciano Lopez (29)
4: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (31)
It is the week before Wimbledon, so not the strongest field in Eastbourne, but the tournament should be competitive.
First Round matchups to watch:
Donald Young vs. (WC)James Ward
This is the only match of interest in round 1 that I see. Young comes off a successful string of play on clay, including a third round French Open appearance, and he will look to improve his relatively poor record on grass in Eastbourne. He faces the Brit wild card Ward who has had some success on grass, and they have never met before. It should be a close match and a good warm-up for Young.
Top seed Richard Gasquet is struggling and is perhaps carrying a shoulder injury into this tournament. He could quite possibly fall to Bernard Tomic in his first match and the draw would open up from there.
Gasquet comes off an opening match loss in Halle and Tomic showed some renewed play in Queens with a round 1 win and a 3 set loss in round 2. Tomic beat Gasquet at Wimbledon last year in 4 tight sets, though Gasquet is 4-0 in matches on other surfaces and crushed Tomic (even while not healthy) at the French a couple of weeks ago. Tomic must beat Andrey Golubev first, I might add, and one of those three players will face Young/Ward or Martin Klizan/Federico Delbonis in the quarters. Delbonis is a clay courter and Klizan has a very poor record on grass, but he appears to be in form as he had a strong clay court season.
Young or Ward have a great chance at the quarterfinals or better. Klizan beat Tomic on clay last month
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is another in-form player who is beginning his grass court campaign this season at a tournament where he is a former finalist. GGL will face Denis Istomin or Mikhail Kukushkin in round 2, and neither player looks overly imposing, so I’m tipping GGL vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a competitive quarterfinal. ERV won a couple of rounds in Queens and after a qualifier, he will face Jarkko Nieminen/Santiago Giraldo in round 2. Nieminen retired in his last match and Giraldo is sort of an unreliable player right now. He beat ERV on hard courts two years ago, but I don’t think that result matters that much. As for the predicted quarterfinal, GGL won a 10-8 fifth set against ERV at Wimbledon 2 years ago, but ERV beat him at the Aussie open this year (and GGL has two probably unimportant wins on clay as well), so it should be close and I’m leaning towards ERV to reach the semis.
Alex Dolgopolov will face Sam Querrey or Kyle Edmund in his first match. Dolgo gave a walkover in his last match in Queens and may not be entirely together.
I feel Querrey has a nice chance at the quarterfinals here. Dolgopolov leads the h2h 2-1 between them in all hard court meetings.
Dolgo/Querrey could face defending finalist Gilles Simon in the quarters or perhaps Julien Benneteau, who was upset in the opening round of Queens, or Yen-Hsun Lu, who reached the quarterfinals in Halle but gave a walkover in his last match. Simon plays a qualifier and then Benneteau/Lu. Gilles showed some renewed form at the French, unlike he has all season really and I like him as a semifinalist here.
Current Queens finalist Feliciano Lopez is the defending champ here in Eastbourne. If he doesn’t pull out because of fatigue, he will face Dan Evans or a qualifier in his first match. Should he not be exhausted, expect him in the quarters against one of Ivo Karlovic/Jeremy Chardy/Carlos Berlocq/qualifier. Karlovic lost in round 2 in Halle, but he is a two-time champion here and has a 12-1 record overall.
Given the other choices, the semifinalist should come down to Lopez/Karlovic and how fatigued is Lopez. His form has looked great in Queens and he could get on a winning a streak.
Dark Horse: Bernard Tomic/Edouard Roger-Vasselin
I feel one of these two players will be the finalist here from the top half of the draw: Tomic can play very well on grass but he’s horribly inconsistent, while ERV has a lower ceiling for peak play, but is less likely to see his game entirely collapse. In three head to head meetings, all on grass amazingly, Tomic has won twice and ERV has won once, the last meeting coming in 2011. Either one of them is a dark horse to take the title regardless.
Roger-Vasselin d. Tomic
Karlovic d. Simon
I just went over ERV-Tomic. While I like Karlovic by a hair over Simon (because he won a h2h grass meeting in 2007 between the two and also won their most recent meeting in 2011), I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Simon made the final again, but Ivo is who I’m picking.
Karlovic d. Roger-Vasselin
Ivo beat ERV in Newport last year and has a 2-1 overall h2h lead. The final could go either way, but I like the big serving Croat as a titlist this week.
ATP World Tour 250
‘s-Hertogenboch, the Netherlands
June 15-June 21, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: David Ferrer (7)
2: Fernando Verdasco (23)
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (28)
4: Marcel Granollers (30)
Holland just annihilated the Spanish in the World Cup and local celebrations cannot be sitting well with the four top seeds here, all Spanish players.
First Round matchups to watch:
Nicolas Mahut vs. (WC)Kimmer Coppejans
Defending champion Nicolas Mahut could have trouble against young Belgian wild card Kimmer Coppejans, who is untested on grass. Mahut comes off a round 2 loss in Queens that was close and though I still think he will prevail, this match is a good opportunity for Coppejans to show his mettle.
Kenny De Schepper vs Steve Johnson
Johnson leads the h2h 2-0 and their last meeting at the Le Gosier challenger, the final of it in fact, was a crazy 3 setter that ended with a 7-2 final set tiebreak. De Schepper is 4-2 on grass this year, Johnson is 3-2, as both players have shown they can do well on the surface, albeit with different styles. This match is a toss-up to me, but I’ll go with the rising and much improved Johnson to ride his forehand to victory over the big serving Frenchman for the third time.
Two time Den Bosch champion David Ferrer faces a qualifier in round 1 and then a qualifier or Alejandro Gonzalez in round 2. Ferrer should be safe for the quarterfinals against one of Igor Sijsling/Thiemo De Bakker/Bradley Klahn/Dmitry Tursunov. He should watch out for Tursunov as the Russian vanquished him twice last season in their only meetings.
Sijsling is also a bit of a home threat here, but given Tursunov just beat him in Queens I like Tursunov over Klahn and Sijsling over De Bakker and then Tursunov over Sijsling as the path to the quarterfinals. Ferrer to avenge his Tursunov defeats last year is my pick for semifinalist out of this section.
Marcel Granollers is not a good grass court player, but Benjamin Becker, a former champion here, has lost five straight matches and is in terrible form right now. Granollers should get through to round 2 to face Dudi Sela or Benoit Paire, both of whom are also struggling: Paire 2-6 since coming back from injury and Sela 2-8 since Indian Wells. One of these four out-of-form players will be able to win two matches and reach the quarterfinals as a much needed boost for their morale and ranking.
Strapped to a chair, I’d take Granollers by a hair.
One of Granollers/Becker/Sela/Paire will face one of Lukas Rosol/JL Struff/Dusan Lajovic/Vasek Pospisil in the quarters. Rosol is just starting his grass campaign. Struff was poor in Halle. Lajovic took a set off an in form Feliciano Lopez. Though Pospisil finally broke his post-AO losing streak, he was poor in his very next match.
I like Rosol to get through all the way to the semifinals from the top half.
Fernando Verdasco, who has had some success on grass, will face Paul-Henri Mathieu, who gave Andy Murray a competitive run in Queens. Dasco dominates PHM in the h2h, so he should be through to face either Jesse Huta Galung or Aleksandr Nedovyesov. Nedo is struggling, so I think JHG will be willed to victory by the home fans and Verdasco will reach the quarterfinals.
Verdasco should also be safe for the semis as his possible opponents are not overly imposing: Jurgen Melzer is struggling a bit and faces current and surprise Halle finalist Alejandro Falla, who will probably be gassed after playing so much in Halle, and then the winner gets Victor Hanescu or a qualifier.
The qualifier has a good chance for the quarters.
Bautista Agut will face his countryman Daniel Gimeno Traver and then the struggling Matt Ebden or a qualifier. Look for RBA to get a real test in the quarters against Mahut/Coppejans or Johnson/De Schepper. I like RBA vs Mahut. The h2h is split, with all of their meetings coming on indoor hard on the challenger tour.
Given this is grass, I tip towards Mahut a bit to reach the semis.
Dark Horse: Lukas Rosol
The in-form Czech I have making the semis. His match with Ferrer will be tough. Ferrer beat him twice last year and leads the h2h 3-0, so he probably comes up short from there, but I expect him to have a good showing this week.
Ferrer d. Rosol
Verdasco d. Mahut
I just broke down Ferrer-Rosol and Verdasco is 3-0 career against Mahut including a win on grass, so it should be an all-Spanish final.
Ferrer d. Verdasco
A super-weird h2h between a pair with no grass court meetings. Ferrer got a win on clay last year and is on a 5 match winning streak in the rivalry, but going back to 2010 Verdasco had winning streaks of as many as three straight matches in the rivalry with a whole bunch of meetings on clay. Down to the wire, I like Ferrer in 3 sets in the final.
Qualifier Mahut Wins 1st Career Title at 31 in s’Hertogenbosch, Lopez Wins Eastbourne
Qualifier Nicolas Mahut blitzed through both qualifying and the main draw to win his first career ATP title in the Netherlands. #240 Mahut beat Stan Wawrinka in the final 6-3, 6-4, and at the age of 31, surprised a whole lot of fans and pundits. In his post-match interview, he mentioned that just six months ago he wasn’t sure if he would play professionally again. He now his has his first title in three tries.
Mahut also beat Ricardas Berankis, Andrey Kuznetsov, Evgeny Donskoy and Xaiver Malisse in the main draw, while Wawrinka beat Steve Darcis (who replaced Igor Sijsling as a lucky loser), Paolo Lorenzi, Jeremy Chardy and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau beat Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich to take the doubles title.
Feliciano Lopez toppled Gilles Simon 7-6, 6-7, 6-0 and at the age of 31 wins his 3rd career title and his first title in 3 years. Lopez, who was also a finalist in Memphis, beat Jarkko Nieminen, Juan Monaco, Fernando Verdasco and Ivan Dodig before Simon. Simon, in his first final of the year, beat Kyle Edmund, Bernard Tomic, and Andreas Seppi.
Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares beat Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray to take the doubles title.
2013 ATP Eastbourne, ‘s-Hertogenbosch Previews Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The final grass court tune-ups before Wimbledon will be the joint event in Eastbourne and Den Bosch in the Netherlands.
June 17-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €468,460
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Milos Raonic
2: Gilles Simon
3: Philipp Kohlschreiber
4: Juan Monaco
A stronger field brings 4 of the top 20 and a seed cutoff overall of 31.
First round matchups to watch:
Jarkko Nieminen vs. Feliciano Lopez
Nieminen comes off a 2nd round loss at Queen’s club while Lopez lost in the 3rd round of the same event. The h2h is 6-2 in favor of the man from Finland and thus this match should favor him, but the style clash makes it a quality one to watch. Nieminen beat Lopez at Wimbledon last year in their only grass court meeting.
Bernard Tomic vs. (wc)James Ward
Tomic continues to struggle, as expected, having lost 4 straight and 5 of his last 6 matches. Still, this is a surface on which he excels. Ward is a likeable journeyman ranked outside the top 200 who lost a heartbreak 3 set match to Ivan Dodig in the opening round of Queen’s club, an event which also found him the recipient of a wild card. Tomic is far and above the better player, but with his personal circumstances, Wardy will have a shot at an upset.
Milos Raonic will look to recover from a crushing loss to Gael Monfils in Halle, a match in which he played some of his worst tennis in a long time. He opens with Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig, and the winner will get one of Fabio Fognini, Grega Zemlja, Martin Klizan or Viktor Troicki.
Juan Monaco will have the task of playing the Lopez/Nieminen winner and if he were to prevail he will get Alex Dolgopolov, Fernando Verdasco, Albert Ramos or a qualifier.
Gilles Simon will play wild card Kyle Edmund or a qualifier, then most likely Kevin Anderson (if Big Kev can beat Julian Benneteau and Tomic/Ward).
Halle quarterfinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber will play Radek Stepanek or Marinko Matosevic then a pair of qualifiers, Paul-Henri Mathieu or Andreas Seppi in a tailor-made section for the German.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
Lopez is one of the better grass court players, and if he can get past Nieminen he has a very open draw with the clay courter Monaco and then either Verdasco or Dolgo being the likely quarterfinal opponent. In the semis, Raonic or someone else is perfectly beatable and at least in theory he could win the whole tournament.
Lopez d. Raonic
Kohlschreiber d. Anderson
Lopez beat Raonic in their only meeting and Raonic isn’t playing that well. He simply has no one in his draw line to stop him early.
Kohlschreiber disappointingly only made the quarters in Halle, but he is still good on grass with nobody to stop him draw-wise. Anderson is having a good year and should get through his draw, but I’ll give the edge to Peppo since they have never played each other.
Kohlschreiber d. Lopez
The h2h actually favors Lopez 4-2, but Kohlschreiber seems to be the better player these days, and thus edge to him.
ATP World Tour 250
June 16-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €410,200
Top 8 seeds
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: John Isner
4: Benoit Paire
5: Jeremy Chardy
6: Marcos Baghdatis
7: Victor Hanescu
8: Daniel Gimeno-Traver
50 is the seed cutoff in a tournament without byes and 2 of the top 20 are here.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)David Ferrer vs. Xaiver Malisse
Ferrer has won Den Bosch twice and of course comes off his first ever slam final in Paris. He gets bad fortunes as the top seed in that he has to face Malisse, who is good on grass and pushed Del Potro to 3 sets at Queen’s club before losing. The h2h is 2-2 but they haven’t played in 3 years and never on grass. Ferrer is probably still the favorite but Malisse has to have some magic left.
(3)John Isner vs. Evgeny Donskoy
Isner and Donskoy will meet for the first time and it will be the only grass tune-up for either before Wimbledon. Donskoy is a solid ball striker who is on the rise, while Isner has had a roller coaster year but overall has disappointed. Isner should be a favorite on the fast surface but it could go 3 sets.
(4)Benoit Paire vs. Michael Llodra
Paire comes off a 2nd round loss to Denis Kudla at Queen’s Club while Llodra withdrew from his 2nd round match at the same event. This match is not only notable for the clash of styles on grass between the serve and volleyer Llodra and the drop shotter Paire, but also for the tension between these 2 players. When they met this year in Miami, Llodra taunted Paire, and Paire countered by firing verbal obscenities at his countryman. According to reports of the non-televised match, there was also a physical altercation that had to be broken up by the umpire and Paire said after, “I won’t ever talk to him again,” “He tried everything to upset me while I was dominating the game. He insulted me.” How this match will develop should be interesting.
(2) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Igor Sijsling
Wawrinka is playing Den Bosch for the first time since 2005, while Sijsling comes off the 3rd round at Queen’s club. They have never met before and both players are on hot streaks overall. Wawrinka is of course in the top 10, and Sijsling is at a career high of 60. Wawrinka will have a slight edge but I wouldn’t put an upset past Sijsling in his home tournament.
The Ferrer/Malisse winner will play Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Rendy Lu, then could face Marcos Baghdatis/Carlos Berlocq, a qualifier, or Roberto Bautista Agut,
Isner/Donskoy will face Leo Mayer or Robin Haase and then it will be a qualifier, Ricardas Berankis, Andrey Kuznetsov or Dani Gimeno-Traver in what is a rather porous section.
Wawrinka/Sijsling will take on Thiemo De Bakker or Paolo Lorenzi and then one of Jeremy Chardy, Marius Copil, Rogerio Dutra Silva or a qualifier in a section from which the seeds should escape.
Paire/Llodra will play a qualifier or David Goffin and then Victor Hanescu/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Daniel Brands/Jesse Huta Galung.
Dark Horse: Michael Llodra
This tournament is hard to pick without qualifiers placed, because it really is the type of event where a qualifier could make a deep run given the lower ranks of the players and a whole lot of guys who are uncomfortable on grass. That being said, of the main draw players, Llodra, if he isn’t injured, could very well make a deep run. If he can get past Paire, he gets D Goff or a qualifier and then probably Daniel Brands or even Huta Galung in the quarters. All winnable. In the semis, both Wawrinka or Sijsling are beatable and even in the final, Ferrer/Malisse/Baghdatis/Isner are all beatable.
Ferrer d. Isner
Llodra d. Sijsling
Ferrer should be able to cruise to the semis unless Baghdatis can catch fire. Isner really has nobody to stop him as well. Llodra, if uninjured, is dangerous and I think Sijsling upsets Wawrinka and wins from there.
Ferrer d. Llodra
Ferrer should make it the hat trick. He is 3-0 career against Llodra and beat Llodra last year in Paris on indoor carpet.