2017 ATP Sao Paulo Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP Golden Swing wraps up this week with a 250 stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the country’s second ATP World Tour stop.
ATP World Tour 250
Sao Paulo, Brazil
February 27-March 5, 2017
Prize Money: $455,565
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Pablo Carreno Busta (24)
2: Albert Ramos (25)
3: Pablo Cuevas (30)
4: Joao Sousa (39)
A lack of top 20 players will dampen enthusiasm for the Sao Paulo clay court tournament.
First round matches to watch:
Gerald Melzer vs. Victor Estrella
Melzer isn’t in bad form, but Estrella is a difficult opponent. The veteran won Quito and badly needs to finish the Golden Swing with momentum. This is a battle of steady dirtballers that is likely to go three sets.
(6)Diego Sebastian Schwartzman vs. Thomaz Bellucci
Schwartzman reached the semis in Rio, but trails Bellucci in the h2h, and the Brazilian is playing at home. The big hitting Bellucci could overpower DSS, but Schwartzman should be able to find his focus and reach the second round.
Rio finalist Pablo Carreno Busta is 6-2 on clay in 2017 and should ease past either a struggling Horacio Zeballos or Joao Souza to reach the quarterfinals. Italy’s Fabio Fognini should beat his countryman, qualifier Marco Cecchinato, while Italian Alessandro Giannessi should defeat Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva to reach round 2. Fognini has a great opportunity to upset Carreno Busta to reach the semifinals, however PCB has a 3-0 h2h advantage, making him the favorite to reach the semis.
Pablo Cuevas has won two straight titles in Sao Paulo, he’ll go for a third straight with an opening match against Facundo Bagnis or Dusan Lajovic. The winner of Melzer/Estrella has a shot at the quarterfinals, but the Bellucci/Schwartzman winner should be the one in the quarters opposite Cuevas. Cuevas has been struggling, and DSS has a 3-1 h2h edge, Schwartzman should reach the semifinals from this section, ending Cuevas title bid.
7-3 on clay in 2017, Albert Ramos is in good form and should defeat Gastao Elias/Orlando Luz, and then face Thiago Monteiro in the quarterfinals. Monteiro has made two straight quarterfinals, and is playing at home in Brazil. He’ll open against Carlos Berlocq, a semifinalist in Buenos Aires. Monteiro’s round 2 opponent will be Guido Pella or qualifier Guilherme Clezar. Both players are struggling, as are Elias and Luz. Ramos will be the favorite over Monteiro and has a great shot at the title.
Federico Delbonis should defeat qualifier Jozef Kovalik, then face Rio semifinalist Casper Ruud. The young Ruud opens with fellow teenager Akira Santillan, despite his possible fatigue he should win that clay court match, then fall to Delbonis. Joao Sousa should defeat the winner of Inigo Cervantes/Renzo Olivo to reach the quarters as well. Sousa and Delbonis have split meetings, I give Sousa a slight edge to reach the semis.
Dark Horse: Thiago Monteiro
Brazil’s Monteiro has a great shot at winning a title on home soil. He’s posted solid results on clay this year, and has a reasonable draw, with Ramos and Sousa/Delbonis in his path to the final. Look for this young gun to make a run this week.
Carreno Busta d. Schwartzman
Ramos d. Sousa
PCB is in better form than Schwartzman, Ramos has a slight h2h edge over Sousa despite Sousa’s h2h win this season in Auckland. On clay Ramos is the favorite.
Carreno Busta d. Ramos
PCB has a 2-0 h2h against Ramos and has a great shot at a third career ATP title after losing the final in Rio last week.