Kyle Edmund came back from a set down and needed two tiebreaks to defeat veteran Gael Monfils in the Antwerp 250 final. Edmund got a walkover against Ilya Ivashka in the quarters but needed straight set wins against Albert Ramos and Richard Gasquet to make the final. It’s Edmund’s first title of 2018.
Monfils, who has suffered through a poor season, defeated Ruben Bemelmans, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (in 3 sets), Vasek Pospisil, and Diego Schwartzman to reach the final.
Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin teamed up to defeat Demoliner/Gonzalez in the doubles final.
Home hero Karen Khachanov won his second ATP title of the season, defeating Adrian Mannarino in a 6-2 6-2 drubbing. Lukas Rosol, Mirza Basic, and Daniil Medvedev also lost to Khachanov, with Medvedev dropping the semifinal match in three sets.
Mannarino blitzed past Evgeny Karlovisky, Marco Cecchinato, Egor Gerasimov, and Andreas Seppi to reach the final, continuing his credible run of results after hitting age 30.
Americans Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram combined to win the doubles title defeating Mirnyi/Oswald.
Young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his rise on the ATP tour, defeating Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-4, after previously scoring wins against John Millman, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Fabio Fognini. The win is the maiden ATP title for Tsitsipas.
Gulbis making the final is a blast from the past, now 30, he reached his first ATP final since 2014. He came through qualifying then defeated Mikael Ymer, Denis Shapovalov, Jack Sock, and John Isner showing he can still be a factor at the ATP level.
Brits Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara combined to win the doubles title defeating Koolhof/Daniell
7-6 6-4 was the scoreline as Roger Federer won ATP title #99, this one in his home country of Switzerland against Marius Copil after previously dropping sets against Filip Krajinovic and Gilles Simon. Federer was hot and cold this week as he also scored wins against J.L. Struff, and Daniil Medvedev. In the end though he once again lifted the trophy in Basel and now has a shot to take title 100 before the year’s end.
Copil reached his second career ATP final, as he’s had a breakthrough 2018. Copil qualified then defeated Ryan Harrison, Marin Cilic, Taylor Fritz, and Alexander Zverev to reach the final. The wins against Cilic and Zverev both of elite quality, as we should see Copil burst into the ATP top 50 next season.
Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor defeated the Zverev brothers in the doubles final.
Tour veteran Kevin Anderson won his second ATP title of 2018, defeating Kei Nishikori in straight sets after previously defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili, Borna Coric, and Fernando Verdasco to reach the final, Jurgen Melzer surrendered a walkover in round 2. Nishikori continued his solid season with wins against Frances Tiafoe, Karen Khachanov, Dominic Thiem, and Mikhail Kukushkin. The win against Thiem was a big one as Thiem was playing in his home tournament in Vienna.
Joe Salisbury and Ken Skupski defeated Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the doubles final.
American @MackieMackster McDonald to Face “Rusty” @Andy_Murray Tonight @CitiOpen; Interview Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Mackenzie McDonald is loving the hard courts summer. And he had some confidence headed into tonight’s showdown with two-time grand slam champion Andy Murray when we spoke with him on Sunday afternoon at the Citi Open in Washington.
“I love that (hard court season) is in the states so we get a good crowd cheering on all the Americans,” he said. “I definitely grew up on hard courts and I love hardcourts and I think it suits my game. It’s definitely a good time to be in the States during the Summer.”
As far as battling Murray in his next match, McDonald said, “He’s obviously a great player, has had a great career so far. He’s a grand slam champion so it’s gonna be pretty cool sharing the court with him.”
McDonald seems to like his chances against Murray. “He’s a little rusty. I think there are definitely some positives for me going into the match. I think I’m playing really good tennis so it should be a good match.”
Sascha Zverev. 2017 Citi Open (Photo: TennisAtlantic.com)
WASHINGTON (June 19, 2018) — Reigning Citi Open® champions, ATP World No. 3 Alexander Zverev and WTA Star Ekaterina Makarova have committed to the 50th edition of the Washington tournament, along with a stacked list of former champions and next generation players. The tournament will be held July 28 – August 5, 2018, at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Along with Zverev on the men’s side, Aussie Nick Kyrgios and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych return to the Citi Open, as well as 2015 and 2016 Citi Open semifinalist Steve Johnson. Last year’s breakout star, Yuki Bhambri, along with 2012 Citi Open champion Alexandr Dolgopolov also join a thrilling men’s field, which includes former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion Andy Murray; three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner; 2015 Citi Open Champion Kei Nishikori; 2017 Citi Open and U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson; World No. 9 David Goffin; 2018 Australian Open semifinalist and 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung; youngest player in the Top 30 of the ATP rankings Canadian Denis Shapovalov; Washington-area native, Frances Tiafoe; and Bob and Mike Bryan, who claimed their 116th title in Monte Carlo.
Joining Makarova on the women’s side, 2014 Citi Open champion and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will also return to the tournament. They join World No. 2 and 2018 Australian Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki; 2017 U.S. Open Champion and 2015 Citi Open Champion Sloane Stephens; and 2018 Indian Wells Champion Naomi Osaka.
“This field delivers on a longstanding legacy of tennis greats competing in Washington,” said Keely O’Brien, Tournament Director. “With six of our Past Champions, six Top 10 Players, Grand Slam Champions, Former World No. 1’s, and notable rising stars, we are in for a thrilling week.”
Along with the incredible field on this momentous year, the tournament is hosting its 50th Celebration to commemorate five decades of professional tennis in Washington at the Tournament Site on Friday, July 27, from 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Former World No. 1, eight-time Grand Slam champion, and three-time tournament champion Jimmy Connors, as well as many other special guests to be announced, will attend. Tickets are available now at www.citiopentennis.com.
CITI OPEN® WELCOMES RISING STARS HYEON CHUNG, NAOMI OSAKA,
DENIS SHAPOVALOV AND FRANCES TIAFOE TO FIELD Next generation of tennis stars join Murray, Wozniacki, Stephens and more at 50th edition of Washington’s Tennis Tradition
WASHINGTON (May 30, 2018) — The next generation of tennis stars are joining a highly accomplished field in this summer’s Citi Open® Tennis Tournament, July 28-August 5, 2018.
The 50th edition of the Washington Tournament will feature World No. 20, 2018 Australian Open semifinalist and 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung; 2018 Indian Wells Champion Naomi Osaka; youngest player in the Top 50 of the ATP rankings and No. 1 Canadian Denis Shapovalov; and Washington-area native, Frances Tiafoe, who became the youngest American male since Andy Roddick in 2002 to win an ATP World Tour championship when he captured February’s Delray Beach title.
These young stars are hoping to build off sensational wins at this summer’s tournament, joining an incredible field at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center this summer. Previously announced players include former World No. 1 and 2018 Australian Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki; former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion Andy Murray; 2017 U.S. Open Champion and 2015 Citi Open Champion Sloane Stephens; World No. 10 and three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner; 2015 Citi Open Champion Kei Nishikori; World No. 7, 2017 Citi Open and U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson; World No. 9 David Goffin; and Bob and Mike Bryan, who clinched their 116th doubles title in Monte Carlo.
“This young, talented group are some of the hottest names in tennis right now. They are quickly rising up the rankings and making headlines with their big performances. What they have been able to accomplish on the court at 19, 20 and 22 years old is incredible,” said Keely O’Brien, Tournament Director. “Their personalities are also quite engaging. From their on-air interviews to their social media, you see bright, humble and often funny individuals sharing their stories from on and off the court. So, while we celebrate 50 years of history here in DC, I hope this Tournament continues to be a storyline in their careers.”
The Washington tournament has been Washington, D.C.’s premier tennis event since 1969 and benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation(WTEF), the tournament’s non-profit owner and beneficiary. The organization provides underserved children in the D.C.-area with a safe environment to learn critical life skills both on and off the courts through academic and athletic enrichment.
Founded by Donald Dell and John Harris, the Washington tournament celebrates its 50th edition in 2018. The Citi Open Tennis Tournament is one of only 13 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. The tournament also features a WTA International Tournament, which provides fans the opportunity to watch simultaneous competitions of both world-class men’s and women’s tennis throughout the nine-day event. It is one of only five U.S. tournaments that include both men’s and women’s fields. Main draw matches of the tournament will be broadcast starting Monday, July 30, on Tennis Channel.d
Ticket packages and all single session tickets are available now. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.citiopentennis.com. Follow the news on http://www.facebook.com/citiopen, @CitiOpen on Twitter, or CitiOpen on Instagram. The Citi Open Tennis Tournament is a Lagardère Sports production, and Citi Open is a registered service mark of its title sponsor Citigroup Inc.
2017 ATP Barcelona Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The second clay level 500 of the season is underway in Barcelona with a host of top players competing. Here is your preview with predictions.
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
ATP World Tour 500
April 24-30, 2017
Prize Money: €2,324,905
Andy Murray is struggling but he’s never lost to Bernard Tomic (5-0), and Tomic won his first match in months against Dustin Brown in round 1. Murray should also find his way past Feliciano Lopez (or Albert Montanes) in the third round, as this is not the most difficult section with no one else in better form, despite Murray’s current issues. Surprise Monte Carlo finalist Albert Ramos faces young gun Casper Ruud in round 2, Ruud has won three straight matches having come through qualifying, but presuming Ramos is rested enough he should continue his good run of play. Jan-Lennard Struff is also playing well, but I have Roberto Bautista Agut reaching the quarterfinals with wins over Struff and Ramos, before falling to Murray.
A solid clay courter, Dominic Thiem should clear out Dan Evans while Pablo Carreno Busta looks set to end Yuichi Sugita’s remarkable run, as a lucky loser he stunned Richard Gasquet on clay in one of the upsets of the year, and also has a win against Tommy Robredo thus far. Carreno Busta defeated Andreas Seppi already, but Thiem should prove too much in the quarters given the result of the Rio final on clay earlier this year that Thiem won.
Benoit Paire and Joao Sousa look set to face off in the bottom half, Paire already beat Marcel Granollers, while Sousa is a reasonable favorite against Horacio Zeballos. Look for Paire to sneak into the quarterfinals and face either Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Pablo Cuevas or semifinalist David Goffin, most likely Goffin. Goffin is in great form and should defeat qualifier Nikolosz Basilashvili, while Cuevas beats Karen Khachanov before falling to Goffin. Goffin is the clear favorite to reach the semis here.
Rafael Nadal will play all of his matches in Barcelona on the court named after him, the nine-time and defending champion of this tournament comes off a title in Monte Carlo on clay, and should ease past Rogerio Dutra Silva in round 2, then defeat Kevin Anderson round 3, after Anderson upset a struggling David Ferrer in round 2, also posting a win over Carlos Berlocq round 1. Casablanca finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber needs to defeat Hyeon Chung before facing off with his countryman Alexander Zverev. The younger Zverev will be the favorite, but Kohli is in good form and I have him falling to Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Dark Horse: Pablo Carreno Busta
PCB has a shot at upsetting Thiem and making a run in the top half section, he’s a home player and clearly has the ability on clay, especially with Gasquet already knocked out, to reach the semis or beyond.
Semis Thiem d. Murray
Nadal d. Goffin
Final Nadal d. Thiem
Murray’s poor form on clay suggests Thiem has a great shot at making this final, Nadal is the clear favorite to win yet again in Barcelona though, especially after dominating Monte Carlo.
Barcelona continued it’s trend of not creating new champions as Kei Nishikori repeated in the Catalan heartland over surprise finalist Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-4. Nishikori only had one difficult three setter all week, as he rolled past Teymuraz Gabashvili and Santiago Giraldo, overcame Roberto Bautista Agut with a breadstick third set, and then dispatched Martin Klizan to reach the final. Even with the large field of players, he was clearly a cut above the rest this week, and continues in his quest to have top 4 Roland Garros seeding.
Pablo Andujar boosted his ranking back up to 42 with a run to the final. The unseeded 29 year old, nicknamed Picasso, reached his first 500 level final (3 250 titles on clay, and an additional three 250 level finals on clay). Pablo beat his compatriot Albert Ramos in round 1, and then got past Leo Mayer in 3 sets, to setup a match against another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. He won that one, and then upset Fabio Fognini, and David Ferrer in consecutive matches, without dropping a set to reach the final, in a remarkable week for him. Fognini had previously beaten Rafael Nadal for the second time this season, as he continues to struggle.
Henri Kontinen and Marin Draganja beat Jamie Murray/John Peers for the doubles title in three close sets.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez won a nailbiting final over Jiri Vesely, who was playing for his second ATP title of 2015 (and the second of his young career), 7-6 7-6. The veteran Spaniard used his variety to get the win and has nearly returned to the top 30 in the rankings, with his second ATP title of the season (won Zagreb). GGL has now added three titles to his trophy case over the past two seasons, and appears to be having a late career resurgence.
GGL beat Lorenzi Giustino, Marcos Baghdatis, and Lukas Rosol without dropping a set, and then upset Gael Monfils in a three set battle reach the final. Vesely came out of the 7 seed slot in the draw and beat Diego Schwartzman, Malek Jaziri, Ivo Karlovic, and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, an in-form player who upset Gilles Simon in the previous round, to reach the final with a three set win. Vesely is rapidly improving, all be it inconsistently, and he’s a force to be reckoned with these days on tour.
Romanians won the doubles title, but it wasn’t their normal top doubles players, as the underdog team of Marius Copil and Adrian Ungur beat Artem Sitak/Nick Monroe for the title.
2015 ATP Barcelona and Bucharest Preview/Prediction Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The European spring journey continues for the players of the ATP world tour with clay court events in both Barcelona, Spain, and Bucharest, Romania, with Barca a 500 series event, and Bucharest, one of the few ATP events in Eastern Europe, a 250.
2015 ATP Barcelona Preview
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
ATP World Tour 500
April 20-April 26, 2015
Prize Money: €1,993,230
Top 8 seeds (top 16 seeds receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Kei Nishikori (4)
2: Rafael Nadal (5)
3: David Ferrer (7)
4: Marin Cilic (10)
5: Feliciano Lopez (12)
6: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14)
7: Roberto Bautista Agut (16)
8: Ernests Gulbis (18)
Four of the top 10 will be playing in Barcelona, and the top 8 seeds are all top 20 players for a strong 500 level field.
First round matchups to watch:
Alex Dolgopolov vs. Joao Sousa
Dolgopolov has played relatively well in the past few weeks, but he remains a streaky highlight reel generator, he’s the favorite against the streaky Portuguese player Joao Sousa, who can struggle for weeks, but puts together a great tournament from time to time. Both these players hit the ball relatively hard from the ground, and they are solid movers, thus creating an interesting matchup, I have Dolgo winning in straights but upset potential is there.
Thiem is the favorite without a doubt, but don’t count the veteran Estrella out, as he’s known for the ability to put up the occasional heroic performance. He’s a great mover, while Thiem, though he rounded into form in Miami, lost his opening match in Monte Carlo on clay, and has been unpredictably poor this year. Estrella retired in his last match in Monte Carlo against David Ferrer, so his physical condition is in question. As I said, I expect Thiem to prevail, but it’s still an interesting matchup.
Benoit Paire vs. (Q)Jaume Munar
Benoit Paire, who used to be considered a young gun, will take on one of the unheralded young guns coming onto the tour slowly but surely, 17 year old Spaniard Jaume Munar, who qualified to reach the main draw. Munar just recently turned pro, and was a former top 5 junior who reached the French Open Junior final in 2014, I’m interested to see what he can do against the technically talented but mentally weak Paire, who has a world class backhand, but a futures level forehand. It’s a winnable matchup for sure, though Paire has played well on the challenger tour in 2015.
Fernando Verdasco vs. (Q)Andrey Rublev
Former Barcelona champion Fernando Verdasco will take on the player Munar lost to in that RG junior final in 2014, Andrey Rublev, a more recognizable young gun who won ATP matches in both Delray Beach and Miami, and then qualified to reach the main draw here. At 17, the combustible Rublev may be less mentally stable than even Verdasco, but he has all the weapons to make this a match, and he could at least take a set. Verdasco of course has the world class forehand and he reached the semis in Houston, along with a round 1 loss to Grigor Dimitrov in Monte Carlo. Once again, look for the favorite to win but the challenger to put up a more competitive contest than expected.
Kei Nishikori snapped Rafael Nadal’s chokehold on this tournament last year, as the defending champion, who is also ranked higher than the king of clay, will begin his clay court season in Barcelona and work on keeping his ranking trending upwards. It should be a relatively easy start for Nishikori, who went 10-2 on clay last year, as he will open with Pablo Carreno Busta or Teymuraz Gabashvili, both of whom have struggled in 2015. After that, Nishikori could get a shotmakers match with Alex Dolgopolov in the round of 16.
Dolgo will need to beat Sousa, and then defending finalist Santiago Giraldo, who has struggled in 2015 to set that up. Giraldo has their lone clay h2h win, but is 1-3 in the overall h2h, and he comes off quarterfinals in Houston, while Dolgopolov won a round in Monte Carlo before losing to the in-form Gael Monfils in a close contest. Regardless, Nishikori beat Giraldo in the final here last year, and he is a perfect 3-0 with no sets dropped against Dolgopolov, including a win this year in Acapulco against the man from Ukraine.
In the quarters the road is unlikely to get easier for Nishikori to defend his title, as Pablo Cuevas and Roberto Bautista Agut are the primary contenders in the section below. Cuevas won an ATP title on clay in Sao Paulo earlier in the year, and is making his European debut this year, he should be able to ease past either the struggling JL Struff or the struggling Roberto Carballes Baena, a wild card in the second round. RBA won a pair of matches in Monte Carlo, and appears to be playing a bit better than he was earlier this year, where deficiencies in his game were evident. He will open with most likely Thomaz Bellucci, one of the dangerous non-seeds in this draw who beat RBA on clay in Davis Cup last year.
Bellucci will need to beat qualifier Yuichi Sugita in round 1, and is a poor 3-6 on clay in 2015, that said, hes a streaky player who can catch form, so though I picked RBA to face off with Cuevas, Bellucci has a chance here. In that match between Cuevas-RBA, I’m going with an upset and have Cuevas into the quarters, he makes his living on clay and his game has steadily been improving over the past few months.
As for the match between Cuevas-Nishikori, Nishikori has a h2h win on clay, and he’s the better player, nothing indicates to me he will struggle presently, even though he hasn’t been red hot, and I don’t think Cuevas will have the weapons and skill needed to win that matchup, thus putting Kei into the semis.
4 seed Marin Cilic, who reached the quarters in a Monte Carlo surprise, will open with the Estrella/Thiem winner, if he struggles, Thiem could very well pull an upset and give him trouble, however his solid play in Monte Carlo gives me the confidence to say he will win that, given Thiem has likewise been erratic this season, and one would have to think Cilic, who is coming off of injury, can only improve as he gets more matches under his belt.
Casablanca champ Martin Klizan could stop Cilic in his tracks in the third round though, Klizan will need to beat Juan Monaco, who cooled down in Monte Carlo, and lost in the second round after previously showing good form. Monaco should defeat the struggling Alejandro Gonzalez however in round 1. What bodes well for Cilic’s chances is he’s 3-0 against Klizan, but they have never met on clay, and that’s a swing matchup to me, but I’m picking Cilic to go into the quarters.
Cilic/Klizan/Monaco/Thiem are almost certain to face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tommy Robredo in the quarters, as the section below Cilic is a weaker one. Robredo will face either Joao Souza or Mikhail Kukushkin, neither of whom are in good form, in round 2, while Tsonga has Marinko Matosevic or Marcel Granollers, two more out of form players. Tsonga is 3-2 this year, while Robredo won a pair of matches in Monte Carlo but has overall not played that great this year, it’s a hard match to pick, but Tsonga has more upside potential, and thus I’m going with him to reach the quarters and face Cilic in a rematch of their Monte Carlo match that Cilic won, given that result, a Nishikori vs. Cilic semifinal seems most likely in the top half.
Rafa Nadal is the undisputed king of Barcelona with a 42-2 record at the tournament, and 8 titles, but he lost here last year and right off the bat he has a chance to get revenge against the player he lost to, Nicolas Almagro, who opens with journeyman Paolo Lorenzi in round 1. Nadal comes off the semis in Monte Carlo, where he did well against all of his opponents except the world number 1 Djokovic, while Almagro was last a quarterfinalist in Casablanca. Nadal beat Almagro in Miami 4 and 2, and as I said should be hungry for revenge, so I really don’t expect that to be much of a match, given that the performance Almagro turned in 2014 was once in a lifetime.
Look for Nadal against Verdasco/Rublev in round 3, the seed is Fabio Fognini, but his singles game is challenger level right now (1-6 since reaching the Rio final), and Verdasco is solid enough to win especially given the 3-1 h2h. Verdasco of course shocked Nadal in Miami, and he will do his best to try do it again, however, on clay the advantage should swing further towards Nadal, and thus he should be able to reach the quarters at one of his best events.
Feliciano Lopez will player either qualifier James Ward or Marsel Ilhan, though he’s not elite on clay, he still should be good enough to win that round 2 match and setup a match with either Leo Mayer or Albert Ramos/Pablo Andujar. Ramos has been in good form in the past few tournaments, while Mayer has been struggling. Ramos leads the h2h with Mayer 3-2, but Mayer beat him in Sao Paulo this year.
Andujar has beaten Ramos before as well and they are similar ball spinning dirtballers as an aside and Ramos has been in better form, giving him the edge. I have Ramos beting Mayer, and then Lopez to reach the quarters, Ramos has a 2-0 h2h edge with Lopez, and he is a better clay court player, so given the surface, the lower ranked Spaniard has to be the favorite. Nadal has beaten Ramos twice before in Barcelona, and he should do so again to reach the semis.
David Ferrer will face wild card Albert Montanes, a journeyman veteran, or Ricardas Berankis, a former top junior turned journeyman, in the opening round. He has never won in Barcelona but he’s reached the final four previous times, and he comes off a quarterfinal loss to Nadal in Monte Carlo. Ferru has been peak this season and I expect him to blow past Montanes/Berankis and also Nick Kyrgios, the 16 seed, to reach the round of 16. Kyrgios is returning to tour from a back injury, and has limited experience on clay. In fact, the young gun may well lose to qualifier Thiemo De Bakker, or fellow young gun wild card Elias Ymer in round 2, De Bakker has been reliable in ATP qualifying this season an seems breakthrough ready. I have Ferrer beating Montanes, and De Bakker to reach the round of 16.
12 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber is the favorite for the quarterfinals in the weakest section of the draw. The wheels have come off for the 8 seed Ernests Gulbis, who badly needs to be back gaining confidence and form with his new coaching team on the challenger tour, rather than continuing to self-destruct at the ATP level. He was a cacophony of errors in a blowout loss in Monte Carlo, and I don’t see the bleeding stopping against the Munar/Paire winner, though it could. The 17 year old Munar actually has a realistic path to the third round, but I have it Paire vs. Kohlschreiber, after Kohli beats Andrey Kuznetsov, who will face Marton Fucsovics, a qualifier, in round 1. Kuznetsov qualified in Monte Carlo, while Kohli is 2-2 in his last four matches, and won a round in Monte Carlo.
Paire and Kohli have a 2-2 h2h, though Paire won the last two meetings, and Paire has a dark horse chance to reach the quarters if his game is on, he qualified in Monte Carlo and has played well at the challenger level, as mentioned. No matter if it’s Kohlschreiber or Paire in the quarters, Ferrer should reach the semis, he’s 2-0 against Kohli on clay (8-2 overall), and 3-0 overall against Paire.
Dark Horse: Benoit Paire
Albert Ramos, who I have reaching the quarters, is another dark horse candidate, but Paire gets the official designation because his run would be less likely, but more interesting. He has all the talent and the tools, but with his weak mental approach to the game, he slipped down the rankings, and now newly focused he seems to be working his way back, a run to the quarters in a weak section would be a great way to announce to the rest of the tennis world that he’s back in the game.
Cilic famously won the US Open final over Nishikori, but Kei won their clay court meeting in Barcelona, and he’s an overall 5-3 h2h leader, given the fact Nishikori is stroking the ball, while Cilic is just returning from injury, Kei is the fave.
Nadal just beat Ferrer in Monte Carlo, and almost always has, so again he’s the pick.
Nadal d. Nishikori
This is the matchup just about everyone wants this week, and I have a feeling they will get it, Nadal has a 7-0 h2h on his side, though their only clay court meeting was basically a draw as Nishikori took the first set and then hurt himself and had to retire midway through the third set in Madrid. He also has all the positive history in Barca on his side, and home fans, but Nishikori has been rising while Nadal has been in decline over the past 18 months, and Nishikori is now ranked higher than the Spanish veteran. Both players are pure ball strikers, while Nadal hits with tons more spin of course, and both fly movement wise, it’s a more even matchup than the h2h would suggest, but I feel like Nadal, who showed signs of improvement in Monte Carlo, will find a way to get it done and take the title this week.
Troicki is more accomplished than Gimeno-Traver, who just reached his first ATP final in Casablanca and he has a 5-0 head to head edge (3-0 on clay including 2-0 last year), but still DGT playe some surprisingly good tennis to reach that Casablanca final, and should have some positive momentum. Troicki is an even 2-2 in his last four, and that pretty much sums up his 2015 season thus far, some good results with losses mixed in, and he’s still looking to do better. He should win, but an upset is possible.
Borna Coric vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky
Stako crushed a listless Coric in Zagreb 2 and 4 earlier this season, but Coric has been improving since that loss, and he comes off a tough loss to Alex Dolgopolov in 3 sets in Monte Carlo. Stako lost to Tomas Berdych and is 1-3 in his last four, though he was playing some of the best tennis of his career earlier in the year. Given this is clay, Coric should win, but who knows if that h2h will hang over his head.
(7)Jiri Vesely vs. Diego Schwartzman
Vesely and Schwartzman, two young guns, have never met, and both can play their best tennis on clay. Vesely snapped an atrocious losing streak an reached the semis in Casablanca, but he promptly lost in Monte Carlo to Juan Monaco, while Schwartzman qualified and lost to Jeremy Chardy in the opening round. Vesely is favord, and more accomplished, but DSS has a great chance and I have him winning this matchup personally.
Ivan Dodig vs Andreas Haider-Maurer
AHM is nearly a top 50 player now, as the Austrian journeyman has been outdoing himself, primarily on clay, this year. Dodig, who has won twice, and lost twice to the Austrian, is still languishing just inside the top 100, though he has the skill to be much better than that. AHM is 4-2 in his last six, while Dodig is playing his first tournament since a gut wrenching loss to David Ferrer in an Indian Wells thriller. Dodig showed flashes of renewed top 50 ability in that match, and it will be intriguing to see if that shows up in Bucharest,even with AHM the favorite.
Three time champ Gilles Simon is likely to get an interesting opening match with Janko Tipsarevic, who gets a wild card for this tournament, his second since returning to the tour after a lengthy injury layoff. Tipsarevic will need to beat a qualifier, but if the reaches the second round, just as he did in Houston, he’ll have a shot at upsetting Simon for just the third time in what would be their eleventh meeting. The clay h2h is 1-1, but Simon leads 8-2 in the overall h2h, and given form, Simon will be a strong favorite. Simon is 6-3 in his last three tournaments, and has only lost to top 10 players (Ferrer x2 including Monte Carlo, and Nadal) in that span. Look for Simon to beat another Serb, Viktor Troicki, who he has a 5-0 h2h with, in the quarters. Troicki will need to beat DGT and the struggling Denis Istomin or a qualifier.
3 seed Ivo Karlovic isn’t the favorite to reach the semis in his section, that would be Borna Coric most likely, presuming he can beat Stakhovsky. While he isn’t going to be used to the Karlovic serve, as one would expect, clay slows it down to some extent, and thus it’s Dr. Ivo’s worst surface, and the one Coric is most likely to beat him on. Below Coric/Stakhovsky/Karlovic is Vesely/Schwartzman, along with former champ Florian Mayer, and Malek Jaziri. Mayer won his comeback match against Mikhail Youzhny in Monte Carlo before losing to Marin Cilic in 3 sets, and given he played pretty well, I have him beating both Jaziri an Schwartzman to setup a quarterfinal with Coric. It will be youth and form against experience, and wit, as funky flo is a difficult player to deal with given his wonky, tactically smart gamestyle. I’m going with the youth and talent of Coric to shine through at this 250, and have him reaching the semis.
Monte Carlo semifinalist Gael Monfils, who beat both Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov in the rich man’s paradise will start his Bucharest campaign against a player in terrible form, either the should be retired Mikhail Youzhny, or the challenger player Marius Copil awaits. Even if he’s fatigued, as it seems he was in his Monte Carlo semi, I still expect him to win that. Either AHM/Dodig or Simone Bolelli/Andrey Golubev await in the quarters. Given this is clay, Bolelli should prevail over Golubev. Bolelli and AHM have a 1-1 h2h, but Bolelli lost to Victor Estrella in Monte Carlo and is playing poorer than AHM at the moment, so I have a Haider-Maurer vs. Monfils quarter, with Monfils advancing unless he injures himself or is too tired to stand.
Former champ Lukas Rosol will open against Dusan Lajovic or a qualifier, with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez likely in the quarters. Rosol beat GGL in the 2013 final and he comes off a round 1 loss in Monte Carlo. GGL was shocked by Lamine Ouahab in Casablanca and is on a two match losing streak, in fact hes just 2-5 since winning the Zagreb title. GGL will need to snap that losing streak an beat a qualifier, then Steve Darcis/Marcos Baghdatis to reach the quarters. In an interesting stats note, Baghdatis hasn’t won a clay match since 2012, and Darcis, though he’s a serve and volleyer, is actually relatively solid on the surface. GGL is 3-1 against Darcis, and thus he’s still the fave even with his struggles. Rosol is streaky and very unreliable, but I’m going with the h2h and have him beating GGL for a spot in the semis.
Coric could take the title this week, Stakhovsky, a serve and volleyer, Karlovic, a big server, and possibly Mayer, a funky finesse technician all present unique matchup challenges, but Coric has a well rounded game, and the youthful energy to confront ech challenge and at least reach the semis. The reliability, yet blandness of Simon, is its own frustrating challenge, and he’s had such success at the tournament before, but you never know with Gillou, and likewise, Monfils, or anyone else on the bottom half is beatable if Borna plays well and his opponents do not, we could well see a teenage ATP champion this week.
Simon d. Coric
Monfils d. Rosol
As mentioned, Coric will need to be patient against Simon, and I’m not sure he can manage that quite yet, in their Marseille h2h meeting, Coric struggled at the start, took the second, but then lost in three, plus he should be more fatigued, thus I give Simon the edge.
Monfils won a Davis Cup match against Rosol, and this tournament is on his racquet given how well he played in Monte Carlo, if he shows interest, he should be a near lock to reach the final, as nobody is near his level on the bottom half.
Simon d. Monfils
Simon beat Monfils in Marseille this year, and also won their clay court meeting (5-1 h2h), they play what is one of the highest average rally length matchups in tennis, and though Monfils should win Bucharest this week given his level, I don’t trust him enough, and I’m going with the more reliable Simon, especially given the h2h, and the win this year.
Tennis Atlantic 2015 ATP Draw Challenge Week 8 (Acapulco, Dubai, Buenos Aires) Staff, Tennis Atlantic
Two 500 pointers are at stake with Acapulco and Dubai, while 250 points can be gained from the clay court tournament in Buenos Aires, as a vast majority of the ATP World Tour’s stars are in action this week.
Round 2 Matches: Nishikori vs. Estrella, Haase vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Johnson, Troicki vs. Giraldo, Gabashvili vs. Kokkinakis, Young vs. Dimitrov, Becker vs. Tomic, Granollers vs. Ferrer Quarterfinals: Nishikori vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Troicki, Kokkinakis vs. Dimitrov, Tomic vs. Ferrer Semifinals: Nishikori vs. Anderson, Dimitrov vs. Ferrer Final: Nishikori vs. Dimitrov Champion: Nishikori
Courtney Massey’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nishikori vs. Estrella, Haider-Maurer vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Johnson, Troicki vs. Qualifier, Karlovic vs. Kokkinakis, Young vs. Dimitrov, Becker vs. Tomic, Matosevic vs. Ferrer Quarterfinals: Nishikori vs. Haider-Maurer, Anderson vs. Troicki, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov, Becker vs. Ferrer Semifinals: Haider-Maurer vs. Troicki, Dimitrov vs. Ferrer Final: Haider-Maurer vs. Ferrer Champion: Ferrer
Chris de Waard’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nishikori vs. Lu, Haider-Maurer vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Johnson, Troicki vs. Giraldo, Karlovic vs. Kokkinakis, Young vs. Dimitrov, Kamke vs. Tomic, Granollers vs. Ferrer Quarterfinals: Nishikori vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Troicki, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov, Tomic vs. Ferrer Semifinals: Nishikori vs. Troicki, Dimitrov vs. Ferrer Final: Nishikori vs. Ferrer Champion: Nishikori
Jeff McMillan’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nishikori vs. Lu, Haider-Maurer vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Johnson, Troicki vs. Giraldo, Karlovic vs. Kokkinakis, Young vs. Dimitrov, Kamke vs. Tomic, Matosevic vs. Ferrer Quarterfinals: Nishikori vs. Dolgopolov, Johnson vs. Troicki, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov, Tomic vs. Ferrer Semifinals: Nishikori vs. Johnson, Dimitrov vs. Ferrer Final: Nishikori vs. Dimitrov Champion: Nishikori
Niall Clarke’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nishikori vs. Lu, Haider-Maurer vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Johnson, Troicki vs. Giraldo, Karlovic vs. Kokkinakis, Young vs. Dimitrov, Becker vs. Mannarino, Granollers vs. Ferrer Quarterfinals: Nishikori vs. Dolgopolov, Anderson vs. Troicki, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov, Mannarino vs. Ferrer Semifinals: Nishikori vs. Anderson, Karlovic vs. Ferrer Final: Nishikori vs. Ferrer Champion: Nishikori
Opinions are mixed on how David Ferrer will fare coming off his Rio title, but Kei Nishikori is the consensus pick to win his second ATP title of the year, while defending champ Grigor Dimitrov is predicted to come up just short by most of our analysts.
Round 2 Matches: Djokovic vs. Golubev, Zverev vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Bolelli, Stakhovsky vs. Istomin, Baghdatis vs. Kohlschreiber, Sousa vs. Murray, Bautista Agut vs. Gasquet, Garcia-Lopez vs. Federer
Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Stakhovsky, Baghdatis vs. Murray, Gasquet vs. Federer Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Murray vs. Federer Final: Djokovic vs. Federer Champion: Djokovic
Courtney Massey’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Djokovic vs. Martin, Ilhan vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Bolelli, Stakhovsky vs. Gulbis, Baghdatis vs. Kohlschreiber, McGee vs. Murray, Bautista Agut vs. Seppi, Verdasco vs. Federer
Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Stakhovsky, Baghdatis vs. Murray, Seppi vs. Federer Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Murray vs. Federer Final: Djokovic vs. Federer Champion: Federer
Chris de Waard’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Djokovic vs. Martin, Ilhan vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Bolelli, Stakhovsky vs. Gulbis, Goffin vs. Kohlschreiber, Sousa vs. Murray, Bautista Agut vs. Gasquet, Garcia-Lopez vs. Federer
Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Stakhovsky, Goffin vs. Murray, Gasquet vs. Federer Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Murray vs. Federer Final: Djokovic vs. Murray Champion: Djokovic
Jeff McMillan’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Djokovic vs. Golubev, Ilhan vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Bolelli, Rosol vs. Gulbis, Goffin vs. Kohlschreiber, Sousa vs. Murray, Bautista Agut vs. Seppi, Verdasco vs. Federer
Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Gulbis, Goffin vs. Murray, Seppi vs. Federer Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Murray vs. Federer Final: Djokovic vs. Murray Champion: Murray
Niall Clarke’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Djokovic vs. Golubev, Zverev vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Bolelli, Stakhovsky vs. Istomin, Goffin vs. Kohlschreiber, Sousa vs. Murray, Bautista Agut vs. Gasquet, Garcia-Lopez vs. Federer
Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Lopez, Berdych vs. Istomin, Goffin vs. Murray, Gasquet vs. Federer Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Berdych, Murray vs. Federer Final: Djokovic vs. Federer Champion: Federer
2 people have Fed as champ, 2 people have Novak as champ, and everyone has the same semifinal pairings this week, in a draw that is expected to remain true to form late into the tournament.
Round 2 Matches: Nadal vs. Montanes, Bellucci vs. Delbonis, Fognini vs. Berlocq, Qualifier vs. Vesely, Mayer vs. Monaco, Qualifier vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Ramos, Olivo vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Delbonis, Fognini vs. Vesely, Monaco vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Olivo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Vesely, Cuevas vs. Almagro Final: Nadal vs. Cuevas Champion: Nadal
Courtney Massey’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nadal vs. Qualifier, Lorenzi vs. Delbonis, Fognini vs. Schwartzman, Qualifier vs. Vesely, Mayer vs. Monaco, Qualifier vs. Cuevas, Andujar vs. Zeballos, Nieminen vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Lorenzi, Fognini vs. Vesely, Mayer vs. Qualifier, Andujar vs. Nieminen Semifinals: Nadal vs. Fognini, Mayer vs. Nieminen Final: Nadal vs. Mayer Champion: Nadal
Chris de Waard’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nadal vs. Qualifier, Bellucci vs. Carreno-Busta, Fognini vs. Schwartzman, Qualifier vs. Vesely, Mayer vs. Monaco, Andreozzi vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Ramos, Olivo vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Carreno Busta, Fognini vs. Vesely, Monaco vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Olivo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Fognini, Cuevas vs. Almagro Final: Nadal vs. Cuevas Champion: Nadal
Jeff McMillan’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nadal vs. Qualifier, Bellucci vs. Delbonis, Fognini vs. Berlocq, Qualifier vs. Rola, Mayer vs. Gonzalez, Qualifier vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Zeballos, Nieminen vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Bellucci, Fognini vs. Qualifier, Mayer vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Robredo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Fognini, Cuevas vs. Robredo Final: Nadal vs. Cuevas Champion: Nadal
Niall Clarke’s predictions
Round 2 Matches: Nadal vs. Montanes, Bellucci vs. Delbonis, Fognini vs. Berlocq, Qualifier vs. Vesely, Mayer vs. Monaco, Qualifier vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Zeballos, Nieminen vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Delbonis, Berlocq vs. Vesely, Monaco vs. Cuevas, Almagro vs. Robredo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Berlocq, Monaco vs. Almagro Final: Nadal vs. Monaco Champion: Nadal
Nobody appears to be comfortable picking against Nadal on clay, with Pablo Cuevas a favorite for the final.
Courtney blew the rest of the field out of the water this week in Delray, taking the title as her favorite Ernests Gulbis has before, she was the only one to correctly predict Ivo Karlovic as champion.
David Ferrer took advantage of a relatively easy draw for a 500 level event in Rio, and captured his second title of the 2015 season with a 6-2 6-3 drubbing of Fabio Fognini. Ferrer broke early on against Fognini, and shellacked him the rest of the way. Though a few games were close, Ferrer broke Fognini’s desire by the time he got his first break of the second set and went up 6-2 5-1, eventually closing it out 6-3. His movement and shotmaking were top quality, while Fognini lacked consistency.
Previously in the tournament, Ferrer, who has lost just once this year, defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straights, Thiemo De Bakker via retirement from a set up, Juan Monaco in 3 sets, 6-2 in the third, and surprise semifinalist Andreas Haider-Maurer in straights. Haider-Maurer upset Tommy Robredo en route to the semis in a great week for the veteran dirtballer.
Fognini, who was in atrocious form going into this tournament, recaptured some of his previous top 15 ability on clay and scored wins over Jiri Vesely in 3 sets, Pablo Andujar in straights, and Federico Delbonis in 3 sets, before shocking Rafael Nadal 7-5 in the third set to reach the final. With the exception of the Andujar match, all of Fognini’s contests were remarkable to watch this week. He got breadsticked in the opening set against Vesely, and looked listless, but stormed his way back to win a second set tiebreak 9-7, after which Vesely collapsed. Against Delbonis he generated more than a half dozen match points over two sets (he lost the second set tiebreak 10-8 after taking the first set), in the third he took the tiebreak 11-9 in the longest match of his career that ended after midnight in Rio. Again Nadal he was also breadsticked in the opening set, in a match that appeared routine, but stormed his way back to win the final two sets.
Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald formed a winning partnership in the doubles, they defeated Pablo Andujar and Oliver Marach in the doubles final, as Oswald beat his countryman Marach.
Gilles Simon won his first title in over a season, and his second career Marseille title (the other came in 2007) with a nailbiting 6-4 1-6 7-6 victory over his countryman Gael Monfils. The win will help Simon stay in the top 20, and he beat Monfils even while winning 7 fewer total points, and generating fewer break point chances (8 compared to 11). In the third, both players broke once, and Simon took the final set tiebreak 7-4.
Simon beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert from a set up via retirement, and then beat Borna Coric in 3 sets, Jeremy Chardy in 2 sets, and Sergiy Stakhovsky from a set down, in 3 sets. Stakohovsky upset Stan Wawrinka this week in a massive win for him.
Monfils again played well on home soil, beating Alex Zverev, Andrey Kuznetsov, Simone Bolelli and Roberto Bautista Agut without dropping a set.
Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen won the doubles title over UK duo Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray.
Ivo Karlovic joined Simon as a veteran champion this week, the old school, big serving 35 year old beat an in-form Donald Young 6-3 6-3 with 13 aces and 3 breaks of serve. Young generated 7 break point chances against the Croat but no success at taking them as he lost his second career ATP final. The title is the sixth of Karlovic’s career, and his first since 2013, Karlovic moves to 6-7 in ATP finals and did one better than his 2010 final in Delray.
Dr. Ivo performed successful surgeries against Dustin Brown in 3 sets, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Steve Johnson, and Adrian Mannarino all in straights.
Young continued his strong run of play with wins over Ivan Dodig, Alejandro Gonzalez, Alex Dolgopolov and Bernard Tomic this week, the latter two wins coming in 3 sets. Also notable is Yoshihito Nishioka, the Japanese teenager reached his first ever ATP quarterfinal, by qualifying and defeating Igor Sijsling and Marinko Matosevic in straight sets, before losing to Tomic.
The Bryans won a doubles title on home soil over Raven Klaasen and Leander Paes.
On an interesting sidenote, a total of 7 main draw singles retirements took place in one day (2 in Delray, 4 in Rio, 1 in Marseille), 8 total retirements took place on tour this week, in what seems like a high number for a week on the ATP tour.
Borna Coric stunned as James Ward and Lucas Pouille move into the 2015 ATP Dubai main draw Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
World 349 Fabrice Martin caused the biggest shock of the entire qualification tournament at the 2015 ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-3 6-7(5-7) 7-6(7-5) win over second seed Borna Ćorić in their final round qualifying encounter. Going into the final qualification round Martin had beaten 7th seed Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets. At the start of the match Martin swiftly took control of things as he took the first set 6-3 after only 30 minutes against world number 85 Coric. Coric, one of the most promising young players on the ATP tour, responded more positively in the second set as he charged to a 4-1 lead. The lead was then gradually evaporated by Martin as he clawed his way back to level the set at 5-5 before forcing it into a tie-break. The tie-break consisted of a series of lost of service points for both players (7/12 points played) before Coric was finally able to take the tie-break with his second set point. Fortunately the serving issues in the tie-break wasn’t prevalent in the final set as both players remained solid on their serve throughout to force it into yet another tie-break. In the final tie break there was one break of serve, however, it was the most vital point. Serving 3-4 down Coric was broken by Martin to open up a mini lead. Coric was unable to narrow this lead as the Frenchman went on to take the match. This is now the first time in Martin’s career that he has qualified for the main draw of any ATP event (250 and over) at the age of 27. He also broke a 7 match losing streak in all tournament matches going into the tournament.
The UK’s James Ward continued his quest to reach the top 100 in the ATP rankings for the first time in his career with a hard fought win over Marius Copil. The British number two had to come from a set down before edging Copil out 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4 during a match lasting just over two hours. After being edged out in the first set tie-break, Ward remained consistent on his serve as he didn’t drop a single service game in the following two sets. Ward is currently ranked 106 in the world and is edging tantalizingly close towards his top 100 goal.
Like Ward, 20-year-old Frenchman Lucas Pouille also had a testing match against world 256 Laslo Djere. In the first round Djere stunned the top seed, Jürgen Melzer, in three sets to set up a showdown against Poullie. Djere looked once again on course to produce another upset as he took the first set in a tie-break and was 3-1 up in the second set. Things then started to rapidly unravel for the Serbian as Pouille broke back and won five consecutive games to force the match into a deciding set. In the final set both players serves were fragile with three consecutive breaks of serves (two for Djere and once for Pouille). Pouille finally held his serve as he edged to a 3-1 lead to at last get a strong foothold in the match. Then yet another falter on the Djere serve gave the Frenchman yet another break as he cruise to take the match 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-2.
Finally joining Martin, Ward and the in-form Pouille in the main draw will be Marsel İlhan. Ilhan is the only player to have qualified for the main draw without dropping a single set. In the final round Ilhan faced 35-year-old Jan Hernych. The Turkish tennis player dropped his serve only once as he took the match 6-4 6-4.