Rafael Nadal Brings Starpower to ATP Acapulco 500 in Mexico Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP 500 level hard court tournament in Acapulco has a solid field lead by Rafael Nadal. It’s the tournament of the week for fans of the ATP. Here is your full preview with predictions.
Rafael Nadal is the main attraction and will begin against his good friend Feliciano Lopez. Thanasi Kokkinakis or Alexander Bublik will follow. He should face New York finalist Sam Querrey in the quarters. Querrey needs to defeat Matt Ebden and either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Jared Donaldson in round 2. With everyone but Querrey struggling, he should get that far before falling to Nadal.
Jack Sock badly needs to find form. He opens with Ernesto Escobedo, then Hyeon Chung or Donald Young in round 2. I’ll back Chung to upset Sock given he’s been the better player in 2018. Kevin Anderson plays great on this surface. Anderson should defeat Radu Albot and Adrian Mannarino/Ricardas Berankis. I’ll back Anderson over Chung in the quarters.
Alexander Zverev opens with Steve Johnson in an interesting opening round match. Johnson made semis in Delray and could upset Zverev but I’ll back Zverev to beat Johnson and his countryman Peter Gojowczyk to reach the quarters. Gojowczyk faces local player Lucas Gomez in round 1, he’s coming off a run to the finals in Delray. Two struggling American’s, John Isner and Ryan Harrison will face off. Fernando Verdasco lost to Diego Schwartzman in the Rio final. On hard courts I’ll give Verdasco the edge to get revenge, and upset a struggling Isner to reach the quarters. Zverev over Verdasco is my pick at that stage.
The third section of the draw is star packed. Juan Martin Del Potro should defeat Mischa Zverev to setup a big second round match against either Andrey Rublev or David Ferrer. Rublev is playing well enough that I’ll back him to get past Ferrer and upset Del Potro to reach the quarters. Kei Nishikori and Denis Shapovalov will face off in a massive round 1 matchup. Nishikori should be fresher than the Delray semifinalist Shapovalov. I’ll go with Dominic Thiem to defeat Cam Norrie, then Nishikori and Rublev to reach the semifinals.
I’m not entirely confident picking Nadal but he’s the most accomplished player in the field. Presuming fitness he should win the title. Thiem isn’t the favorite to reach the final but I’ll back him in a tough field.
2016 ATP Los Cabos Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The lone ATP event this week, running concurrent with the Olympic Games in Rio, is a brand new 250 in the resort town of Los Cabos, Mexico. Los Cabos replaces ATP Bogota and is the second ATP tournament held in Mexico.
Abierto Mexicano Los Cabos
ATP World Tour 250
Los Cabos, Mexico
August 8-13, 2016
Prize Money: $721,030
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Feliciano Lopez (19)
2: Bernard Tomic (20)
3: Ivo Karlovic (26)
4: Sam Querrey (29)
The seeds here are comparable to Atlanta’s ATP 250 last week.
The tallest young gun on the ATP tour, Opelka, reached his first ever ATP semifinal in Atlanta, where he upset ATP regulars Kevin Anderson and Donald Young, in part helped by his height. Opelka isn’t as good of a server as a player like John Isner or Milos Raonic, but he’s a better returner in some ways, and has a real chance at breaking his opponents. Opelka is finally at the point he’s a threat on the ATP tour. Stako is in terrible form, as he’s lost three straight matches, and although Opelka may be dealing with fatigue, I almost see him as the favorite in this match.
(5)Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Horacio Zeballos
Zeballos has been in great form recently and has a real shot at upsetting Dolgopolov. After winning Bastad, he won matches in both Gstaad and Atlanta, where he reached the quarterfinals on hard courts in a surprise. Zeballos was also the doubles champion in Atlanta, and may be dealing with fatigue and jet lag as a result. Dolgopolov has lost three straight matches, and has been struggling to close out matches throughout his recent tournaments. Despite being a great shotmaker, he could have a tough time against Zeballos.
Feliciano Lopez is just 7-6 on a hard court this season, but he won the title in Gstaad in his last outing, and he should be able to serve and volley past either Opelka or Stakhovsky, before a quarterfinal match against one of Dolgopolov/Zeballos, Jared Donaldson/Julien Benneteau. Dolgopolov in theory could bust into the semis, but I have Donaldson beating a still struggling Benneteau, and then getting past Zeballos as well, before falling to Lopez in the quarters. The young American Donaldson has shown steady hard court form recently, winning rounds in his last three hard court tournaments.
Sam Querrey retired in the Rogers Cup, but he’s still 15-8 on hard courts this year at the ATP level. Querrey should buzzsaw through his section on this surface. Santiago Giraldo or qualifier Amir Weintraub are much poorer quality opponents, and the seed in his section is the unfit Jeremy Chardy, who opens with Pablo Carreno Busta, with Tigre Hank or Austin Krajicek to follow. With Chardy’s poor form, PCB is intriguing, while Krajicek qualified in Atlanta. Still on this surface I have it Querrey over Chardy in the quarters.
Bernard Tomic could really use some good mojo down south, as he opens with a winnable contest against either Thiago Monteiro or Dusan Lajovic. Tomic has been steady, but not remarkable this season and he’s 16-9 on a hard court this year. Neither Lajovic or the talented Monteiro are in great form, and thus I have it Tomic over Lajovic, and then defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the quarterfinals. GGL opens with Mexico’s Lucas Gomez, with his countryman Nicolas Almagro likely to follow, presuming the Spanish veteran defeats qualifier Noah Rubin. GGL hasn’t been in great form, but he’s been playing at the ATP level, while Almagro most recently played a challenger.
Ivo Karlovic is looking to continue his seemingly unstoppable serving and extend his good form as he opens against either qualifier Mischa Zverev, or more likely Adrian Mannarino, a steady but unremarkable hard courter. Karlovic should dominate the smaller Mannarino with his serve to setup a meeting with power hitter Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco opens with his countryman Marcel Granollers, with Tim Smyczek or Tobias Kamke to follow. I’m not sure Verdasco is 100% physically, but he did reach the quarters in Atlanta, and his first two rounds should allow him to make the semis. Karlovic should have a slight edge at that stage though.
Verdasco isn’t seeded, but he’s still one of the tournament favorites, while Donaldson enters as an under the radar qualifier. This young American has impressed with steady results at the ATP level recently, and this is his best surface. The top seed Lopez is vulnerable to an upset, and if Donaldson can play his best tennis he could find himself in his first ever ATP final this week.
Semis Querrey d. Lopez
Karlovic d. Tomic
Karlovic has 10 wins in his last 12 matches. With the Croatian veteran playing this well, he should get past everyone, including Tomic who he lost to 2 years ago in Bogota. Querrey is better recently than Lopez, presuming he’s healthy and rested.
Final Karlovic d. Querrey
Karlovic should win this tournament if it’s a fast hard court surface.