By a score of 6-4 0-6 7-6 Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili claimed his maiden ATP title, lifting the Hamburg 500 crown against finalist Leonardo Mayer, a player who has made great improvements in his career standing thanks to the Hamburg tournament.
Basilashvili had to battle this week as he came through qualifying with a pair of wins. He then upset Phillipp Kohlschreiber on home clay in three sets, defeated accomplished clay courters Pablo Cuevas and Pablo Carreno Busta in straights, and then edged Nicolas Jarry in three sets in the semis. Against both Jarry and Mayer Basilashvili was bageled in the second set but won anyway as he showed streaky form this week.
Mayer defeated Albert Ramos, Gael Monfils, Diego Schwartzman, and Jozef Kovalik to reach the final, he needed three sets against both DSS and Kovalik, with the win against Kovalik coming in a third set tiebreak.
Peralta and Zeballos defeated Marach/Pavic in the doubles final, concluding the ATP 500 series on clay for 2018.
In the Gstaad 250 rapidly rising Italian Matteo Berrettini claimed his first title, upsetting Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 6-4. Berrettini completed the double this week as he won the doubles title with his Italian partner Bracciali against Molchanov/Zelenay in straights.
The 22 year old from Rome has built himself this season and last on the challenger tour and in qualifying. This tournament he got past Radu Albot, Andrey Rublev, Feliciano Lopez, and Jurgen Zopp without dropping a set. The final win meaning he didn’t drop a set all week despite being an underdog in a couple of matches.
RBA put in a solid performance defeated Jaume Munar in three sets, Taro Daniel in straights, and Laslo Djere in three sets to reach the final.
Right now Italian tennis is having a resurgence as Fabio Fognini, Marco Cecchinato, and Berrettini are in good form, particularly on clay, and should form a formidable Davis Cup trio in the ties to come.
ATP Hamburg 500 Favorites are Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman, and Marco Cecchinato Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP Hamburg 500 is the final 500 level on clay for the season. Some of the ATP’s best descend upon Germany for a week of battles on the clay. Here is your preview, with predictions.
Dominic Thiem is the top seed and he’ll begin his quest for the title against Corentin Moutet. Moutet is no pushover on clay but Thiem should be renewed after a poor Wimbledon. Thiem should also be favored against John Millman or J.L. Struff in the second round. Bastad finalist Richard Gasquet should defeat Benoit Paire and Nicolas Jarry or Peter Gojowczyk to setup the quarterfinal matchup with Thiem as the favorite.
Pablo Carreno Busta is a good clay court player and should get past Florian Myer and Aljaz Bedene/Henri Laaksonen to reach the quarters. Phillip Kohlschreiber should get past Nikoloz Basilashvili and Marton Fucsovics/Pablo Cuevas to reach the quarters as well, where his run at home should end at the hands of PCB.
I have Diego Schwartzman falling in an upset against Casper Ruud, Ruud reached the quarters of Bastad and other than a nice run at Roland Garros, DSS has nod had the best of seasons. Ruud should beat Daniel Masur or Max Marterer in the second round. A finalist in Umag, Marco Cecchinato will be tested by Gael Monfils. GIven the fatigue factor I’ll back Monfils to beat the Italian and also Leonardo Mayer/Albert Ramos to reach the quarters, where he should be favored over Ruud.
Look for qualifier Jozef Kovalik to have a good week, Kovalik will open with Damir Dzumhur, who isn’t at his best right now. David Ferrer or Rudolf Molleker will be next, both players are struggling and thus the in-form Kovalik has the inside track. Gilles Simon should defeat Thiago Monteiro but the Fernando Verdasco/Dusan Lajovic winner has the edge in this section, and I have the Bastad semifinalist Verdasco reaching the semis in Hamburg.
30 year old Leonardo Mayer lost in qualifying in Hamburg, but came back to win the title 6-4 4-6 6-3 over home hero Florian Mayer of Germany. Mayer was under pressure on serve in the third set, and got nipped in the second, but fought hard on clay to get the win. The Argentine has two career ATP titles and they have both come in Hamburg. After taking a lucky loser spot he defeated Albert Ramos from a set down, needing a third set tiebreak to grab the upset. Jan-Lennard Struff, Jiri Vesely, and Federico Delbonis, his countryman, fell to him prior to final. The elder Mayer, 33, defeated Marco Cecchinato, Andrey Kuznetsov, Diego Schwartzman, and Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the final. The result for both Mayer’s boosts their rankings, as Hamburg is probably the weakest 500 level stop on tour.
Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic won the doubles final over Pablo Cuevas and Marc Lopez.
Fabio Fognini won his fourth ATP title, defeating qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, a first time ATP finalist, 6-4 7-5. It was a long week for Fognini, he needed three sets against Norbert Gombos, Ernests Gulbis, and Roberto Bautista Agut. Hanfmann, 25, won six matches to reach his first career final, and needed three sets in all of his main draw wins, a rare feat that both players needed the maximum number of sets in their matches to reach the final. Hanfmann has 7 ATP wins this year, prior to this year he had none.
Olivier Marach and Philipp Oswald beat Jonathan Eysseric and Franko Skugor in the doubles final.
2017 ATP Hamburg Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Hamburg is on the calendar again this year, it’s a 500 level stop, meaning making a deep run can meet quite the rankings boost.
German Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 500
July 24-30, 2017
Prize Money: €1,499,940
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Albert Ramos (24)
2: Pablo Cuevas (26)
3: Karen Khachanov (32)
4: Gilles Simon (39)
Spain’s Albert Ramos should get past Leonardo Mayer, a lucky loser, and either J.L. Struff or Evgeny Donskoy, Fernando Verdasco is the favorite in the top section though. He reached the semis in Bastad and presuming he can get past a tough opening round match with Jiri Vesely, he should ease past Horacio Zeballos or wild card Daniel Altmaier.
David Ferrer just won his first title in two years, he should continue his form on clay and defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili, Federico Delbonis, presuming Delbonis defeats Carlos Berlocq, should pose trouble in round 2, but I’ll tip Ferrer. and he should also beat Karen Khachanov, who is having a great season. The Russian opens with Rudolf Molleker, making his ATP debut, then should face Aljaz Bedene, presuming Bedene defeats Rogerio Dutra Silva.
Pablo Cuevas will face Andrey Kuznetsov to start off, and I’ll back the in-form Kuznetsov to get the upset. Marco Cecchinato should be next up for Kuznetsov, Florian Mayer is also a possibility. Diego Schwartzman is the favorite for the quarters above, he opens with Andreas Haider-Maurer, a qualifier, either Cedrik-Marcel Stebe or Damir Dzumhur will follow. I’ll back Kuznetsov to reach the semis.
Everyone but Umag champion Andrey Rublev has struggled in the third quarter of the draw, Gilles Simon and Philipp Kohlschreiber have plenty of elite experience, but are not playing well, Max Marterer is a wild card, Tommy Haas and Dmitry Tursunov are aging veterans in poor form, Benoit Paire lost in the opening match of his last tournament, and Nicolas Kicker has yet to make real inroads on the ATP tour. I’ll back Kohlschreiber over Paire at home in the quarters, as Rublev should be gassed.
Dark Horse: Andrey Kuznetsov
Kuznetsov should score the early upset against Cuevas, and go as far as the final from that point.
Semis Verdasco d. Ferrer
Kuznetsov d. Kohlschreiber
I can’t predict Ferrer to go back to back in consecutive weeks given his age, Kuznetsov is playing well enough to make the final, but Verdasco should be a slight favorite in Hamburg.
Martin Klizan won his second ATP 500 title of the season in Hamburg. In a big boost since returning from injury, Klizan upset Pablo Cuevas in straight sets 6-1 6-4, after defeating journeyman Stephane Robert in the semifinals in straight sets. Klizan also posted wins over Igor Sijsling, Louis Wessels, and Daniel Gimeno-Traver last week, all without dropping a set, with a textbook power tennis performance.
Cuevas beat Renzo Olivo, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Thiago Monteiro, and Florian Mayer this week, as he continued his great clay court season. Henri Kontinen and John Peers took home the doubles title over Daniel Nestor and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
37 year old Ivo Karlovic served well for four straight matches and took home the title in Newport, adding a big result to his poor season overall. Karlovic defeated fellow big server Gilles Muller 6-7 7-6 7-6 in the final, after posting previous wins against Frank Dancevic, Marco Chiudinelli, and Marcos Baghdatis earlier in the week. Muller defeated Victor Estrella, Adrian Mannarino, and Donald Young to reach the final. Sam Groth and Chris Guccione beat Jonathan Marray and Adil Shamsadin in the doubles final. Karlovic continues to be a tremendous threat on fast surfaces.
Albert Ramos won his first ever ATP title in Bastad, upsetting Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4. Ramos beat multiple Spaniards last week in Sweden, Roberto Carballes Baena was his first victim, then he defeated Andrea Arnaboldi in three sets, and David Ferrer in straights to reach the final. Ferrer had never lost to Ramos before, but he upped his game, and his spin, to defeat his higher ranked countryman.
Verdasco defeated Henri Laaksonen, Albert Montanes, Facundo Bagnis, and Gastao Elias, all without dropping a set. Marcel Granollers and David Marrero defeated Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner in the doubles final to make it all-Spanish champions in Bastad.
2016 ATP Hamburg Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 500 level tournament this week is in Hamburg, Germany as a host of top ATP players will transition from grass back to clay in search of prize money and ranking points. Here is your preview of the German Tennis Championships, along with predictions.
German Tennis Championships 2016
ATP World Tour 500
July 11-17, 2016
Prize Money: €1,388,830
Top 4 seeds (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Philipp Kohlschreiber (22)
2: Benoit Paire (23)
3: Pablo Cuevas (24)
4: Alexander Zverev (28)
For a 500 level tournament Hamburg has one of the weakest fields it’s ever had. The absence of a dominant favorite means a lot of ranking points are on offer for players outside of the level of ATP stars.
First round matchups to watch:
(3)Pablo Cuevas vs. (WC)Florian Mayer
Mayer is 2-0 in the h2h against the much higher ranked Cuevas, a solid clay court player himself. The veteran German recently won Halle, although he hasn’t been as good with his funky game on clay compared to grass. This could turn into quite the battle, on clay, Cuevas is the current favorite.
Despite a poor showing at Wimbledon, veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber is solid on clay, and tends to play well in Germany. Kohlschreiber’s path to the quarters is Carlos Berlocq, followed by Nicolas Kicker or Thomas Fabbiano. Berlocq has been in good form on clay, so I have him reaching the quarters if Kohlschreiber is still injured. However, Kohlschreiber over Kicker is the pick in my bracket.
Jeremy Chardy faces Maximo Gonzalez in round 1. The French veteran is solid enough on clay to get past Gonzalez, and the Mikhail Youzhny/Renzo Olivo winner to reach the quarterfinals, although I have him losing to Kohlschreiber at that stage.
Pablo Cuevas looks set to dominate his section if he can get past his opener with Mayer. The young Brazilian Thiago Monteiro qualified and looks set to defeat Mischa Zverev before facing Cuevas. Nicolas Almagro is Cuevas likely quarterfinal opponent. Although qualifier Jan Satral is on a winning streak, he’s likely not up to Almagro’s level, and he’s making his ATP debut. In round 2, Gerald Melzer or Paul-Henri Mathieu await, and neither are top players compared to Almagro on clay. Cuevas over Almagro is my pick in the quarters given Cuevas is better on clay than Almagro these days.
The streaky Benoit Paire has an interesting opener with veteran Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Traver has been solid on the challenger tour as of late, and he’s a steady dirtballer. Paire could crash and burn, but I have him winning his round 1 match, then going on to defeat J.L. Struff (or Daniil Medvedev) in round 2. Struff is in poor form, while Medvedev lacks ATP seasoning. Look for a finally healthy Martin Klizan to find form again and defeat Igor Sijsling and qualifier Steve Diez or wild card Louis Wessels, in his ATP debut, to reach the quarters. I have Klizan upsetting Paire as well. The Slovak got off to a hot start in 2016 before suffering an unfortunate injury that kept him off the tour for months.
Alexander Zverev is a solid young player and the highlight of the German tennis championships this year. Zverev opens with journeyman dirtballer Inigo Cervantes, with Leonardo Mayer or Stephane Roberto follow. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez should reach the quarters as well, he opens with Kenny De Schepper, with Grega Zemlja or wild card Marvin Moeller to follow. Mayer has been in terrible form, and GGL isn’t in great form either, so the challenger star Cervantes is most likely Zverev’s toughest test. He should pass it with flying colors.
Klizan could burst through and win the title, but I do have him reaching as far as the semifinals. He has a game well suited for success in many ATP matches, and he showed highlights of his great skill and power game earlier this year before he was injured. With Paire one of the weaker #2 seeds in tournaments this year, conditions are ripe for an upset.
Semis: Cuevas d. Kohlschreiber
Zverev d. Klizan
With injury concerns an issue for Kohlschreiber, I have Cuevas reaching the final, while little stands in the way of Zverev doing the same.
After reaching two ATP finals this year, Zverev has to hope the third time is the charm if he reaches the final in Hamburg. With the home crowd cheering him on, Zverev should take his first ATP title at the same venue he made his ATP breakthrough a couple of years ago.
Rafael Nadal had a tough first rounder in Hamburg, and at times his game was far from perfect, but he did capture the title 7-5 7-5, avenging his previous losses to Fabio Fognini this season in the process. Nadal moves to #9 in the rankings, and has now captured three titles on the year, two of those coming in Germany where he seems to enjoy playing.
The Spanish lefty faced pressure against Fognini, and the Italian had his chances, but under pressure he choked and Rafa got through. In round 1 a similar storyline took place as Fernando Verdasco roared out to a 1 set lead, only to falter over the next two sets, winning just two games in a 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory for Rafa. Nadal played a poor first set, but was ruthless the rest of the match. In round 2 he beat Jiri Vesely in two sets with a second set tiebreak, and then got better as the tournament went on with routine wins over Pablo Cuevas and Andreas Seppi without dropping a set. Seppi living up to his #4 seed and reaching a 500 level semifinal.
Fognini like Nadal got off to a slow start in Hamburg, as he needed three sets against Jeremy Chardy and Albert Ramos, but then beat Aljaz Bedene in straights and surprise semifinalist Lucas Pouille in a straight set semifinal. Pouille continues to improve on the season and posted another excellent result in his steadily rising career. Fognini improved his subpar record on the season with a great result on clay. Fognini drops to 0-2 in ATP finals on the season and both of those were 500 level tournaments on clay.
Dominic Thiem won his second title in as many weeks in Kitzbuhel as he beat David Goffin for the second time in an ATP clay court final. After claiming victory in Umag, the Austrian young gun won 7-5 6-2 over Goffin in a dominant victory. The win pushes Thiem nearly into the top 20, at a career high of #21, and he’s likely to reach that achievement, and perhaps the top 15 by the end of the year.
Thiem padded his winning streak on clay this week with wins over Federico Delbonis, Pablo Carreno Busta (in 3 sets), and Feliciano Lopez, also in three sets, as he dealt with the Spaniards slice serve and broke when needed.
Goffin reached his second title of 2015 with wins over Horacio Zeballos, Joao Sousa (in a third set tiebreak from a set down), and Thomaz Bellucci.
The doubles title went to Aliaksandr Bury/Denis Istomin as they beat Oliver Marach/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
Two clay court tournaments, a 500 in Hamburg, and a 250 in Gstaad, take place this week and then there is the hard court 250 in Atlanta that kicks off the Emirates Airlines US Open Series.
2015 Bet-at-home Open Predictions
Steen Kirby’s picks
Round 2 matches: Nadal vs. Vesely, Janowicz vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Montanes, Bolelli vs. Garcia-Lopez, Fognini vs. Ramos, Bedene vs. Bautista Agut, Monaco vs. Pouille, Kohlschreiber vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Garcia-Lopez, Fognini vs. Bautista Agut, Monaco vs. Kohlschreiber Semifinals: Nadal vs. Klizan, Bautista Agut vs. Kohlschreiber Final: Nadal vs. Bautista Agut Champion: Nadal
Niall Clarke’s picks
Round 2 matches: Nadal vs. Haider-Maurer, Janowicz vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Montanes, Bolelli vs. Garcia-Lopez, Fognini vs. Almagro, Bedene vs. Bautista Agut, Monaco vs. Pouille, Kohlschreiber vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Garcia-Lopez, Almagro vs. Bautista Agut, Monaco vs. Kohlschreiber Semifinals: Nadal vs. Klizan, Bautista Agut vs. Kohlschreiber Final: Nadal vs. Kohlschreiber Champion: Nadal
Chris de Waard’s picks
Round 2 matches: Nadal vs. Haider-Maurer, Danil vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Mayer, Bolelli vs. Garcia-Lopez, Fognini vs. Almagro, Bedene vs. Bautista Agut, Gulbis vs. Cervantes, Kohlschreiber vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Cuevas, Klizan vs. Bolelli, Fognini vs. Bautista Agut, Gulbis vs. Robredo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Bolelli, Fognini vs. Robredo Final: Nadal vs. Fognini Champion: Fognini
Jeff McMillan’s picks
Round 2 matches: Nadal vs. Vesely, Janowicz vs. Cuevas, Seppi vs. Mayer, Bolelli vs. Garcia-Lopez, Fognini vs. Ramos, Gimeno-Traver vs. Coric, Monaco vs. Pouille, Kohlschreiber vs. Robredo Quarterfinals: Nadal vs. Cuevas, Seppi vs. Bolelli, Fognini vs. Coric, Monaco vs. Robredo Semifinals: Nadal vs. Bolelli, Fognini vs. Robredo Final: Nadal vs. Fognini Champion: Nadal
Round 2 matches: Goffin vs. Rublev, Istomin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Lajovic, Souza vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Haase, Delbonis vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Kuznetsov, Reister vs. Lopez Quarterfinals: Goffin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Lopez Semifinals: Goffin vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Lopez Final: Bellucci vs. Lopez Champion: Bellucci
Niall Clarke’s picks
Round 2 matches: Goffin vs. Rublev, Istomin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Lajovic, Souza vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Granollers, Delbonis vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Kuznetsov, Kavcic vs. Lopez Quarterfinals: Goffin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Lopez Semifinals: Sousa vs. Bellucci, Thiem vs. Giraldo Final: Bellucci vs. Giraldo Champion: Giraldo
Joe Craven’s picks
Round 2 matches: Goffin vs. Rublev, Istomin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Lajovic, Souza vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Haase, Delbonis vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Kuznetsov, Reister vs. Lopez Quarterfinals: Rublev vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Delbonis, Giraldo vs. Lopez Semifinals: Rublev vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Giraldo Final: Bellucci vs. Giraldo Champion: Giraldo
Chris de Waard’s picks
Round 2 matches: Goffin vs. Rublev, Istomin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Lajovic, Robert vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Haase, Delbonis vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Ilhan, Reister vs. Lopez Quarterfinals: Rublev vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Lopez Semifinals: Sousa vs. Andujar, Thiem vs. Giraldo Final: Andujar vs. Thiem Champion: Thiem
Jeff McMillan’s picks
Round 2 matches: Goffin vs. Rublev, Istomin vs. Sousa, Andujar vs. Lajovic, Souza vs. Bellucci, Carreno Busta vs. Haase, Delbonis vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Ilhan, Kavcic vs. Lopez Quarterfinals: Goffin vs. Istomin, Andujar vs. Bellucci, Haase vs. Thiem, Giraldo vs. Lopez Semifinals: Goffin vs. Bellucci, Thiem vs. Giraldo Final: Goffin vs. Thiem Champion: Goffin
Round 2 matches: Isner vs. Stepanek, Berankis vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Kudla, Sela vs. Berrer, Muller vs. Donaldson, Dolgopolov vs. Mannarino, Baghdatis vs. Groth, Lu vs. Pospisil Quarterfinals: Isner vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Berrer, Muller vs. Dolgopolov, Groth vs. Pospisil Semifinals: Isner vs. Sock, Muller vs. Pospisil Final: Isner vs. Muller Champion: Isner
Niall Clarke’s picks
Round 2 matches: Isner vs. Stepanek, Smyczek vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Harrison, Fish vs. Becker, Muller vs. Donaldson, Dolgopolov vs. Mannarino, Baghdatis vs. Groth, Lu vs. Pospisil Quarterfinals: Isner vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Becker, Muller vs. Dolgopolov, Groth vs. Pospisil Semifinals: Isner vs. Sock, Muller vs. Pospisil Final: Sock vs. Pospisil Champion: Sock
Joe Craven’s picks
Round 2 matches: Isner vs. Stepanek, Smyczek vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Harrison, Fish vs. Berrer, Young vs. Devvarman, Dolgopolov vs. Mannarino, Baghdatis vs. Groth, Lu vs. Pospisil Quarterfinals: Isner vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Berrer, Young vs. Dolgopolov, Groth vs. Pospisil Semifinals: Isner vs. Sock, Dolgopolov vs. Groth Final: Sock vs. Dolgopolov Champion: Sock
Chris de Waard’s picks
Round 2 matches: Isner vs. Stepanek, Smyczek vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Kudla, Sela vs. Becker, Muller vs. Donaldson, Dolgopolov vs. Mannarino, Baghdatis vs. Groth, Lu vs. Pospisil Quarterfinals: Stepanek vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Becker, Muller vs. Dolgopolov, Groth vs. Pospisil Semifinals: Johnson vs. Sock, Dolgopolov vs. Pospisil Final: Sock vs. Dolgopolov Champion: Sock
Jeff McMillan’s picks
Round 2 matches: Isner vs. Stepanek, Smyczek vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Kudla, Sela vs. Becker, Young vs. Devvarman, Dolgopolov vs. Mannarino, Baghdatis vs. Groth, Lu vs. Pospisil Quarterfinals: Isner vs. Johnson, Sock vs. Becker, Young vs. Dolgopolov, Groth vs. Pospisil Semifinals: Isner vs. Sock, Dolgopolov vs. Groth Final: Isner vs. Dolgopolov Champion: Isner
Jack Sock and John Isner are expected to compete for the title in Atlanta
Top seed Lucas Poullie booked his place in the main draw of the International German Open after surviving two tricky matches. In the first round he played former top 40 player Carlos Berlocq. After dropping the opening set to the 32-year-old, Poullie battled back to win 3-6, 6-1,6-3 to set up a final match with another Argentine player, Renzo Olivo. Similar to the first round the Frenchman dropped the first set before winning 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. Pouille is currently at a career high ranking of 87th in the world. Recently he reached the semi-final of the ATP Poznan Challenger in Poland before losing to eventual champion Pablo Carreno Busta.
Another player who is currently at their career ranking high is Íñigo Cervantes. The world No.117 has claimed three Challenger titles this year with his most recent being in Germany at the start of this month. During qualifying he shocked eighth seed and fellow countryman Daniel Muñoz de la Nava to win 6-4, 3-6,6-3. In the last round he played Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos. Gombos beat third seed Damir Dzumhur in the first round. Cervantes made light work of Gombos as he won 6-4, 6-4, to move into the main draw.
Taro Daniel is the only player to qualify for the main draw without dropping a set. After beating German wild-card Daniel Masur in straight sets. He faced another German test which was in the form of Maximilian Merterer. Merterer knocked out Italian second seed Marco Cecchinato in the first round. The inexperienced 20-year-old was no match for Daniel as he only dropped four games to win 6-3,6-1.
Finally, Albert Montanes encountered a major blip before beating Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-0, 2-6, 6-4. After losing the second set, Zverev opened up a 3-0 lead in the final set before the Spanish player staged an impressive comeback to edge the German out after two hours and 11 minutes. Since June, Montanes has reached the final at three Challenger tournaments, narrowly missing out on the titles.
Taro Daniel and Albert Montanes were both shown the door, Daniel falling to Jerzy Janowicz early on Monday, and Montanes falling to German veteran Florian Mayer. Pouille beat Cervantes in a qualifier vs. qualifier matchup.
ATP Gstaad Qualifying Recap
Following top seed Facundo Bagnis early exit in the first round of qualifying at the ATP Swiss Open. The draw opened for some of the lesser known names on the ATP Tour to get their own taste of life on the main stage of men’s tennis.
20-year-old Calvin Hemery knocked out two seeded players to reach his first ATP main draw event. The Frenchman stunned 4th seed Gerald Melzer in round two before beating Italy’s Andrea Arnaboldi in three sets in the final round. After suffering a first set hammering, Hemery beat the Italian 1-6, 6-3,6-2. The 20-year-old is currently at a career ranking high of 211th in the world. In May he won his first pro title by winning the Italian F9 Futures.
Second seed Horacio Zeballos eased his way into the main draw following a 6-2, 6-4, win against fellow countryman Pedro Cachin. The Argentine encountered little difficulty during the three qualifying rounds with straight sets wins over Alexander Lazov and Tomas Lipovsek Puches prior to his final round triumph. The 30-year-old is currently ranked 136th in the world and is yet to claim a title this year. Going into the tournament, Zeballos beat Brazilian world No.89 Joao Souza to reach the quarter-final of the ATP Braunschweig Challenger.
Elsewhere in Gstaad there was joy for former world No.83 Julian Reister as he qualified for his second successive ATP main draw. Last week he qualified for the main draw of the Swedish Open where he lost to Alexander Zverev in the first round. The German, who used his protected ranking to enter the draw, knocked out seventh seed Giovanni Lapentti in the first round before easing past Adrien Bossel in the second. In the final round, he had a tough match-up against 3rd seed Kenny de Schepper however, he breezed past the Frenchman with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
Finally, Maxime Teixeira overcame two extremely close sets to beat world No.374 Daniil Medvedev. Teixeira required almost two hours on the court before winning 7-6 (5), 7-6 (12), with his eighth match point. The Frenchman also knocked out veteran player Nicolas Hanescu in the second round. This is the first time that the Frenchman has qualified for the main draw of an ATP event since the Stockholm Open back in 2012.
Zeballos upset Andrey Rublev, Teixeira fell to Denis Istomin, while Hemery found himself foiled by Dusan Lajovic in straights, and Reister is still yet to play Blaz Kavcic who he trails in the h2h 1-3.
2015 ATP Hamburg and ATP Gstaad Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2015 ATP clay court season continues with a 500 series event in Hamburg, Germany, and a 250 in Switzerland as many of the top European players are still battling away on the red clay, even as tennis action in America shifts to hard courts.
2015 ATP Hamburg Preview
Bet-At-Home Open German Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 500
July 27-August 2, 2015
Prize Money: €1,285,955
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Rafael Nadal (10)
2: Tommy Robredo (21)
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (23)
4: Andreas Seppi (26)
Nadal headlines a field that is dotted with Spanish players, 11 out of the 32 man singles field in total. Perhaps this tournament should be renamed the “Spanish tennis championships”.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
Nadal dominates the h2h record but these two left handed Spaniards have played some great matches against each other, and this one could be of top-class as well. Verdasco has in fact won the last two meetings, including a win this year in Miami over Rafa, but he’s a rather pedestrian 8-7 on clay this year. Nadal struggled at Wimbledon again, and overall is having a rough season, but he’s still 21-6 on clay and I’d presume focused and fit for Hamburg, thus I give him the edge to win this one.
(3)Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Borna Coric
A rematch of their match just a couple of days ago in Umag, RBA won that one 6-3 6-3 and the Umag semifinalist should be the favorite here, but Coric is a talented young gun who is improving and learning day by day on tour. Both these guys are great shotmakers when in form and this match could be close, I don’t see Coric flipping the script, you never know.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Benoit Paire
Kohli beat the Bastad champion Paire on clay this year in Barcelona and he comes off the quarterfinals in Umag, thus his clay court form seems to be alright. Paire, who has a talented backhand just like Kohli, just won his first ATP title in Bastad, and given that he’s notorious for having a lack of consistency and commitment, he may well be wiped out for Hamburg, giving Kohlschreiber the edge.
(2)Tommy Robredo vs. (WC)Alex Zverev
The 18 year old Zverev just lost to the veteran Robredo in the Bastad semis but she scored three solid wins there and really seems to enjoy playing in Hamburg, where he had a shocking run deep into the week last year. Robredo, a former Hamburg champion, showed good form in Bastad, but the veteran has been notoriously shaky from week to week this year, and I wouldn’t put it past Zverev to learn from his loss and best his veteran rival just a few days later.
Given this is clay, even a struggling Nadal likely has a clear path to the semifinals. He’ll face the winner of Andreas Haider-Maurer/Jiri Vesely after FerVer, AHM may well be injured while Vesely isn’t in great form and likely doesn’t have the game to deal with Rafa’s topspin. In the quarters Bastad semifinalist Pablo Cuevas likely awaits.
Cuevas will open with struggling young gun Diego Schwartzman, and then gets JerzyJanowicz (who beat qualifier Taro Daniel on Monday) in round 2. JJ i just 3-5 on clay this year, but two of those wins have come in the past two weeks, so his form may be improving, still Cuevas is an accomplished clay courter who tends to have consistency on the surface. Cuevas and Rafa played a three setter in Rio back in the spring, it was close for two sets but then Nadal put up a bagel in the third, and he likely will break his opponents resistance this time too.
Andreas Seppi looked awful in Umag, and thus the #4 seed is actually an underdog against Martin Klizan who won a round there. Klizan has a big game, but he’s streaky, while Seppi lacks a lot of weaponry, but can frustrate opponents when his game is clicking. You never know how it will go with Klizan, but if he wins Florian Mayer awaits, as the funky hitting German veteran slipped past fellow veteran Albert Montanes Monday. Mayer is just 4-9 on clay this year and hasn’t been great since returning from injury, thus Klizan has the edge to reach the quarters.
The section below Klizan/Seppi is rather weak as Lukas Rosol faces off with Simone Bolelli, while veteran Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will face 18 year old wild card Jaume Munar, who played doubles with Nadal this tournament. Rosol is 6-8 on clay in 2015, and tends to have streaky form while the shotmaker Bolelli is slightly better on the surface, but likewise hasn’t caught fire as of late. Bolelli likely beats Rosol while the 32 year old GGL should beat Munar, who isn’t quite ready for the ATP main stage. It’s hard to pick a winner between Bolelli/GGL, but GGL has a better record on clay this season, and thus gets the edge. Klizan beat GGL in Rio on clay last year, and in this section that is up for grabs I have him reaching the semis in what would be a promising result. He has a semifinal in Barcelona and a title in Casablanca on his 2015 record.
Robredo/Zverev will face Paire/Kohlschreiber, and from that I have Kohlschreiber reaching the quarters as fatigue should factor on Paire and Robredo, while Kohli has home soil advantage. 2012 champion Juan Monaco is a strong favorite to reach the quarterfinals above that section, Pico, 13-10 on clay in 2015, opens with the continually lost and struggling Ernests Gulbis, who to his credit did win a match in Bastad, a rare sight for him this season. After that Monaco will face Lucas Pouille, who beat Inigo Cervantes on Monday. The young gun Frenchman Pouille has plenty of talent but struggles with consistency, he could reach the quarters as well, but a Monaco vs. Kohlschreiber quarter seems like the safest prediction. Kohlschreiber is 2-1 against Monaco and with his superior form should be able to survive an interesting section and reach the semis.
RBA/Coric will face Aljaz Bedene or veteran Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Bedene appears to be in reasonably good form, while DGT does not, and thus RBA over Bedene should be the second round result, unless Coric spoils proceedings. #8 seed and 2013 champion Fabio Fognini, an Umag quarterfinalist, opens with Jeremy Chardy, who he is 4-0 in the h2h against, and then unless he collapses, will face Albert Ramos round 2, after Ramos scored a minor upset over his countryman Nicolas Almagro on Monday. Fognini is 6-0 against Ramos, and thus the Italian should reach the quarterfinals and perhaps beyond this week.
Fognini is 2-1 on clay against RBA and both seem to be in decent form, Fognini has always had the talent but mentally he tends to float, and thus I have RBA reaching the semis in another difficult match to predict.
Zverev, Klizan, and Coric are all non-seeds who could have excellent weeks in Hamburg, but the home player Kohlschreiber should reach the semis based on the draw. He has clay court ability, veteran experience, and hopefully good form and could reach the final based on what happens in the RBA/Fognini section.
Semis: Nadal d. Klizan Bautista Agut d. Kohlschreiber
Presuming no hiccups for Nadal he’s clearly the favorite given his level on clay is above the rest of the field, Klizan shocked him in Beijing last fall,but that as on hard courts, and Nadal still owns a 2-1 h2h advantage, peak Klizan with his power can bother Rafa, but I don’t see that happening on clay, likewise RBA and Kohli have a close record, but RBA’s form should see him through to an all-Spanish final.
Final: Nadal d. Bautista Agut
Nadal beat RBA in Madrid last year, and generally RBA lacks the big game needed to beat the top 10 level players in key moments. Rafa has struggled this season, but he’s still long term the greatest clay courter of all time, and it takes a special effort to beat him. What’s interesting is both of my picks could lose in the first round, or at least have their toughest matches at that stage. Nadal should win his second ATP Hamburg title.
Swiss Open Gstaad
ATP World Tour 250
July 27-August 2, 2015
Prize Money: €439,405
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: David Goffin (14)
2: Feliciano Lopez (18)
3: Dominic Thiem (24)
4: Pablo Andujar (35)
Two top 20 players in Gstaad as it’s a pretty solid field for a 250.
First round matchups to watch:
Robin Haase vs. Marcel Granollers
Haase comes off of a challenger semifinal and tends to play well in Switzerland, that said he’s just 2-4 on ATP clay this year (10-3 below that level) and he’ll be facing off with Spanish veteran Marcel Granollers, who owns a 2-1 h2h record against him. Granollers dropped to 6-7 in ATP main draw clay court matches this year with an opening round loss in Umag, and if Haase can keep his mental game together he should beat the loud Spanish grunter and advance to round 2.
Top seeded Belgian David Goffin has what should be a clear path to the quarterfinals as his round 2 opponent is Argentine veteran Horacio Zeballos. Zeballos got past young gun Andrey Rublev in round 1 but he lost to Goffin at Wimbledon (though clay is his best surface) and given the difference in ranking and talent, D Goff is a strong favorite, even after an opening match loss to eventual Bastad champ Benoit Paire.
Joao Sousa is likely to be Goffin’s quarterfinal opponent, the Umag finalist comes off of a fantastic week in Croatia, and the Portugese #1 has now reached two clay court finals in 2015 (Geneva and Umag). Fatigue could play a factor, but the battling baseliner will face journeyman Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen in round 1, which hould be an easy match, and then Bastad quarterfinalist Denis Istomin awaits. Istomin already scored a round 1 win over Maxime Teixeira and is in good form, but Sousa has a h2h win against him this year, and likely has the advantage on clay. Goffin is 2-1 against Sousa in the h2h and should be fresher, thus I have the undersized ball striker reaching the semis.
Defending champion Pablo Andujar’s toughest early match towards defending his title is likely to come in the quarterfinals against Thomaz Bellucci. Andujar faces Dusan Lajovic first, after Lajovic beat qualifier Calvin Hemery in round 1 and he should move his 11-8 clay court mark in 2015 to 12-8 before facing Bellucci. Bellucci, a two time Gstaad champion, opens with the struggling Kimmer Coppejans after reaching the Bastad quarterfinals. After Coppejans he should breeze past Stephane Robert or Joao Souza, his countryman, both of whom are relative journeymen.
I have Bellucci getting past Andujar and into the semis, as he’s 4-1 on clay in the head to head, and the big hitting Spaniard appears to be in better form, along with the fact he loves Gstaad.
#2 seed and newlywed Feliciano Lopez, who hasn’t been particularly hot this season (just 7-7 on clay with 1 ATP final in Quito boosting those stats), will face Blaz Kavcic or Julian Reister in round 2. Reister qualified with ease while Kavcic tends to struggle on clay, thus Lopez over Reister is the likely round 2 result. The serve and volleying Spaniard still has enough game to beat the journeyman German.
A struggling Santiago Giraldo (11-11 on clay in 2015) will face veteran Paolo Lorenzi in round 1, presuming he still has enough big game hitting to win that he could get an interesting match with Andrey Kuznetsov, who comes off of a clay court challenger final, in round 2. Kuznetsov will need to recover quickly from that final and beat Marsel Ilhan first, and I wouldn’t put reaching the quarterfinals past him, but if fatigue is a factor, a Giraldo vs. Lopez quarterfinal is the most likely outcome, even with both players not in the best of form.
Lopez has a 2-0 h2h against Giraldo though they have never met on clay (Lopez’s worst surface and Giraldo’s best), and it could go either way but Lopez probably slices and serves into the semis.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, the young gun champion of Umag, has a weak section he could feast on and make another deep run, but he may have trouble recovering and Federico Delbonis, his first opponent, could take advantage. Delbonis just defeated Marco Chiudinelli, Thiem is the better player, and I have him reaching the quarters, but we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in. Haase/Granollers could face him in the quarters, or Pablo Carreno Busta, who should dispatch the slumping Mikhail Youzhny in round 1. PCB, like Haase, has been in good form on challenger tour clay, and he has a h2h win over the Dutchman, thus I have a Thiem vs. PCB quarterfinal and PCB advancing (1-1 h2h on clay) due to Thiem’s fatigue.
Haase has a weak section and could break through over Granollers/PCB, then take advantage of Thiem’s fatigue to reach the semis. He’s had success at 250s like this before, and has the talent, but as always it’s his mental game that matters.
Semis: Bellucci d. Goffin
Lopez d. Carreno Busta
Bellucci’s power should bother Goffin and he appears to be in solid form, along with his previous success at this tournament. Lopez is simply a better player compared to PCB, but it’s clay so he may not do well.
Final: Bellucci d. Lopez
Bellucci and Lopez have a split h2h overall, but given record and form, look for the Brazilian to win his second ATP title of the season, he also won Geneva.