2017 ATP Chengdu and Shenzhen Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP Asian swing kicks off this week with two ATP 250 level stops in China, here is your full previews with predictions.
Dominic Thiem highlights the field in Chengdu, coming off the Laver Cup exo, Thiem should be tested by Borna Coric in round 2, and either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Viktor Troicki in the quarterfinals. Basilashvili reached the semis in Metz, and his promising form means he should push Thiem in the quarters, presuming the Austrian is fit, he should reach the semifinals.
Andrey Rublev and Metz champion Peter Gojowczyk look to be on a collision course for the quarterfinals. Rublev’s form should help him past Taiwan’s Rendy Lu, and either Gojowczyk or Leonardo Mayer in the quarters.
Japan’s Yuichi Sugita has had a career best year, Sugita should find his way past Albert Ramos or Dusan Lajovic in the quarterfinals and has a chance to be champion this week.
Kyle Edmund and Karen Khachanov could face off in the quarters, but the in-form Jan-Lennard Struff could disrupt the apple cart. Khachanov isn’t in the best of form, Struff should beat Denis Istomin and Khachanov. Edmund will line up opposite the struggling Bernard Tomic, Jared Donaldson or Stefanos Tsitsipas will follow. Donaldson is dangerous, but presuming Edmund is fit he should have the edge all the way into the semis.
Semis Thiem d. Rublev
Edmund d. Sugita
Thiem and Edmund should be favorites to reach the final, with Thiem a likely champion in this competitive tournament.
Final Thiem d. Edmund
The Zverev brothers lead the Shenzhen field. Alexander, the top seed, opens with Davis Cup hero Steve Darcis or wild card Ze Zhang, Damir Dzumhur, the St. Petersburg champion, will face John Millman to open, I have Millman finding form and beating Lukas Lacko or Marcel Granollers after beating Dzumhur, and then falling to Zverev in the quarters.
Mischa Zverev opens with Dudi Sela or Matthew Ebden, Alexandr Dolgopolov should overcome his countryman Sergiy Stakhovsky, (and Lloyd Harris in the first round), I have Dolgopolov beating Zverev on account of Zverev not being 100% fit.
David Goffin should get past Evgeny Donskoy or Akira Santillan, with Donald Young or newly married Jeremy Chardy up in the quarters. Unless Goffin is in poor form he should be safe to reach the semis.
Joao Sousa is a strong favorite to emerge from his section, he opens with Henri Laaksonen, Marius Copil or Malek Jaziri will follow, with Paolo Lorenzi or Rogerio Dutra Silva likely in the quarters.
Semis A. Zverev d. Dolgopolov
Goffin d. Sousa
Alexander Zverev and David Goffin are the co-favorites to take home the title in Shenzhen, and I give the slightest edge to Zverev by virtue of his tremendous season.
Khachanov Wins First ATP Title, Berdych Boosts London Chances Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
20 year old Karen Khachanov has played just 17 tour level matches this year, but the young gun Russian now has his first ever ATP title after he came back from a set down to defeat veteran Albert Ramos in the Chengdu final. Khachanov battled hard to prevail 6-7 7-6 6-3. He looked at ease on the surface, and in front of a loud crowd. Ramos for his part was playing in his first final in four years. The 28 year old normally prefers clay, but he continues to move up the rankings despite the finals loss.
Khachanov beat Joao Sousa, Adrian Mannarino, Feliciano Lopez, and Viktor Troicki dropping a set only to Mannarino on the week. Expect to see much more from this young Russian next season.
Ramos defeated Michael Berrer and Rendy Lu in three sets, Dominic Thiem in a straight set upset, and Grigor Dimitrov in a third set tiebreak, as a hungry Dimitrov was denied his shot at an ATP title.
Raaven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram combined for the doubles title over Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg.
Tomas Berdych captured his first ATP title of the season and boosted his chances of qualifying for the World Tour finals in London with a hard fought win over Richard Gasquet. Berdych won 7-6 6-7 6-3, as he had a chance to close the match out in straights, but failed to do so. Gasquet battled back, but slipped up when it mattered in the third set.
We’ll look ahead to London soon, but in the meantime click here for a great look at the odds for the favorites to take the World Tour finals.
Berdych beat Mikhail Kukushkin, Jiri Vesely, and Thomaz Bellucci last week, Gasquet beat Andrew Whittington and Mischa Zverev before getting a retirement against Janko Tipsarevic in the semis.
Fabio Fognini and Robert Lindstedt won the doubles title over Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin.
2016 ATP Shenzen Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The other ATP 250 this week takes place in Shenzen, China, it’s also a hard court tournament that is part of the 2016 Asian swing. Here is a preview with predictions.
ATP World Tour 250
September 26-October 2, 2016
Prize Money: $641,305
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Tomas Berdych (9)
2: David Goffin (14)
3: Richard Gasquet (17)
4: Bernard Tomic (22)
Shenzen boasts three top 20 players and is another solid 250.
First round matchups to watch:
(Q)Ryan Harrison vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Harrison qualified after doing the same in Canada, and at the US Open. The American continues to flirt with being an ATP regular, while the Spanish veteran GGL has never beaten him (0-2) and is in the midst of a slump. Garcia-Lopez would love to break out of that slump in Asia, but Harrison should prevail.
(6)Benoit Paire vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili
Paire has a h2h win and should easily win this, but he’s been terrible in recent tournaments. The Frenchman has lost two straight and is just 2-5 in his last seven matches. Both come from Metz, where Basilashvili qualified and reached the round of 16. I’m still going with Paire, but he could lose control and get knocked off in this one.
St. Petersburg semifinalist Tomas Berdych is 33-16 on the season and will face Mikhail Kukushkin or Lukas Rosol first up. Kukushkin isn’t fit and Rosol has been struggling, so Berdych should ease into the semis against Jiri Vesely, his Czech countryman. Presuming he’s fit Vesely should ease past dirtballer Pablo Andujar and either Inigo Cervantes or a young Akira Santillan in round 2. Berdych over Vesely is my pick for the quarters.
St. Petersburg champ Alexander Zverev faces fellow young gun Yoshihito Nishioka in round 1. Fatigue could be a factor, but if Zverev isn’t jet lagged he should get past the struggling Japanese player. Bernard Tomic over Zverev is my pick for the quarters. The Aussie faces the Harrison vs. GGL winner in round 2, while Zverev will face Thomaz Bellucci or Gastao Elias, both of whom are struggling. A fresher Tomic should beat Zverev if he’s motivated.
Metz semifinalist David Goffin will face Malek Jaziri or Stephane Robert. Jaziri is in great form and Goffin should watch out. In the quarters it should be much easier as Janko Tipsarevic, who has struggled at the ATP level this year, is perhaps the favorite. The Serbian faces China’s Ze Zhang, with Paire/Basilashvili to follow in round 2. Goffin over Tipsarevic is my pick for the quarters.
Richard Gasquet has 26 wins on the season and should earn his 27th against qualifier Andrew Whittington, 7 seed Fabio Fognini beat Dudi Sela in round 1. Gasquet should face either Fognini or qualifier Mischa Zverev in the quarters. Zverev beat China’s Zhe Li in round 1. The elder Zverev is my pick over Fognini, and Gasquet over Mischa Zverev is my pick in the quarters.
If Harrison can knock off Tomic and Zverev, two players he should be able to matchup evenly with if he’s going to improve his ATP ranking, he’d be in the semis, and he could go as far as the final. His recent form is a good sign, but he can’t be trusted yet to perform when it counts.
Tomic d. Berdych
Goffin d. Gasquet
Both players need a good showing in this 250 and they should beat veteran rivals in the semis. Both Gasquet and Berdych haven’t played their best this season.
Goffin d. Tomic
Goffin seems like a better, more consistent ball striker than Tomic on hard court these days and their ranking difference reflects that.
Tomas Berdych secured his first ATP title of 2015, and practically secured himself a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-3 7-6(7) victory over Spanish veteran Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a rain delayed Monday final in Shenzen. The loss denies GGL his third title this season.
Berdych demonstrated he was a worthy #1 seed as he didn’t drop a set against Austin Krajicek, Jiri Vesely, and Tommy Robredo en route to the final. GGL beat Lukas Rosol in straights, got a walkover against Adrian Mannarino, and then upset Marin Cilic in three sets to reach the final.
The doubles title went to Jonathan Erlich/Colin Fleming over Chris Guccione/Andre Sa.
The Spanish Armada also proved its depth in Malaysia this week as David Ferrer took his fourth ATP title of 2015 and helped his quest to qualify for the World Tour Finals with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Feliciano Lopez. Ferrer rolled past Radek Stepanek and Mikhail Kukushkin in unblemished fashion before recovering from a dropped first set to defeat the pesky ball striker Benjamin Becker in a three set semifinal.
Lopez served well and played some clutch tiebreak tennis to defeat Mischa Zverev in straights, Vasek Pospisil in three sets, and Malaysia’s own Nick Kyrgios in a pair of tiebreaks to reach the final. Both veterans are in good form though they approach tennis quite differently.
Treat Huey and Henri Kontinen beat Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram to take home the doubles trophy.
2015 ATP Shenzen and Kuala Lumpur Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2015 ATP Asian Swing starts with a pair of 250 tournaments, an indoor hard court tournament in Malaysia, and an outdoor hard court tournament in China.
ATP World Tour 250
September 28-October 4, 2015
Prize Money: $607,940
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Tomas Berdych (5)
2: Marin Cilic (14)
3: Tommy Robredo (30)
4: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (29)
Shenzen four top 30 players in the field as the opening ATP tournament in China has a solid field.
First round matchups to watch:
(5)Adrian Mannarino vs. Lucas Pouille
Mannarino beat Pouille at the start of the season in Auckland in what turned out to be a sign of things to come or both players. They battled for three sets, and Mannarino went on to capture the title and post a solid season overall, while Pouille has dabbled with the ATP level and shown signs of a breakthrough. The younger Frenchman Pouille with his fantastic forehand comes off of the St. Petersburg quarterfinals and I have him upsetting Mannarino, as Adrian is just 2-5 since reaching the Bogota final this summer.
Tomas Berdych, the #1 seed, is struggling but he’ll have a winnable opening match with Austin Krajicek, after Krajicek beat James Duckworth in the opening round. Berdych has lost two straight and struggled over the Summer compared to his ranking but I’d still expect him to oust Krajicek and Jiri Vesely to reach the semifinals. Vesely faces Chinese wild card Ze Zhang in his opening match and then most likely Go Soeda, presuming Soeda defeats Zhizhen Zhang, an 18 year old Chinese wild card. The Czech has been in good form with a recent challenger semifinal, but his big hitting Davis Cup teammate Berdych is a superior player.
Tommy Robredo put together a great run in Shenzen last year and he comes off of the quarterfinals in St. Petersburg. The veteran Spaniard could be troubled and perhaps fall to Ricardas Berankis in round 2, but Berankis is just 1-3 in his last four matches. The Lithuanian opens with Hiroki Moriya in his opening match. Robredo was poor in his St. Petersburg semifinal match but I still give him an edge over Berankis, who is talented but streaky. Simone Bolelli should await Robredo/Berankis in the quarterfinals. The Italian upset Berdych to make the St. Petersburg quarterfinals and he’s in a weak section with Andreas Haider-Maurer, and Matt Ebden/Victor Estrella. Ebden, who plays well in Asia, has a shot at upsetting Estrella, but I have Bolelli getting through regardless.
Robredo is 2-0 on hard courts against Bolelli and his recent form has been slightly better, that should be a close and entertaining match, but look for Tommy to continue his success at this tournament and reach the semifinals.
US Open semifinalist Marin Cilic will open with John Millman after Ernests Gulbis retired against Millman in round 1. Cilic should be the favorite for this tournament and I expect him to dominate Millman, and then Aljaz Bedene or Hyeon Chung to reach the semifinals in a very weak section. Bedene opens with Mikhail Youzhny, while Chung opens with Di Wu, another of the Chinese locals. None of those players except for Chung have been in good form but Youzhny has been horrible most of this season. Chung comes off of a challenger title and may be fatigued. With that said, I have him defeating Wu and Bedene before falling to Cilic. Cilic beat Chung in Washington this year in straight sets.
Metz quarterfinalist Guillermo Garcia-Lopez could go out in his first match against Denis Istomin, presuming the St. Petersburg quarterfinalist Istomin defeats a struggling Lukas Rosol in round 1. Istomin and GGL are both good shotmakers and I have Istomin notching a solid win before going up against the Mannarino/Pouille winner. First Mannarino or Pouille will need to be Yan Bai or qualifier Takuto Niki, both of whom are lowly ranked. I have Pouille over Istomin in a breakthrough showing to reach the semifinals and face Cilic.
The talented Pouille already made a run in Auckland this year and in a weak section, presuming he knocks off Mannarino, he should take advantage once more in an ATP 250 hard court event and reach the semifinals. He’s talented, though he’s disappointed at times, and this is a great chance for him to make a run.
Semis Berdych d. Robredo
Cilic d. Pouille
Berdych should simply outplay Robredo on this surface, Cilic is by far the strongest player in the bottom section.
Final Cilic d. Berdych
Cilic is in better form than Berdych, and thus I have him taking the title in Shenzen.
ATP Kuala Lumpur
Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur
ATP World Tour 250
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
September 28-October 4, 2015
Prize Money: $937,835
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: David Ferrer (8)
2: Feliciano Lopez (17)
3: Ivo Karlovic (18)
4: Grigor Dimitrov (19)
The top 4 seeds are all top 20 players as KL has a strong field for a 250 event.
The young Zverev has lost two straight while Chardy is playing his first match since reaching the second week of the US Open. This is an interesting style contrast as Chardy hits with power on the forehand side while Zverev prefers to rally. On indoor hard Chardy should be a slight favorite, but Zverev is seeking an ATP breakthrough to get into the top 50 and it could come this Fall.
Joao Sousa vs. (Q)Michal Przysiezny
Sousa comes off the St. Petersburg final and the former champion could be fatigued for this one, Przysiezny is a former top 100 player who is 4-1 in his last five matches. Sousa will be favored but Przysiezny has an upset chance.
Almagro is 8-1 on the challenger tour level since the US Open, but he’s struggled at returning his game up to an ATP main draw caliber this season, not to mention he’s done better on clay than hard courts. Baghdatis, a fellow big hitting veteran, is just 1-3 since reaching the Atlanta final, and could use a win to help boost his form. This match could also go either way but I favor Baghdatis who seems to be more consistent.
David Ferrer should have a relatively free and clear path to the semifinals as the top seed. Ferrer is 38-10 this season and I’d expect him to ease past either Yuichi Sugita or Radek Stepanek in his first match, then beat Viktor Troicki in the quarterfinals, presuming Troicki defeats Radu Albot and the winner of Ramkumar Ramanathan/Mikhail Kukushkin. Kukushkin can find form in tournaments like this but he lost in the openig round of St. Petersburg. Troicki is 4-1 in the h2h against Kukushkin and beat him in the Sydney final this year. Ferrer is 3-1 against Troicki though he lost to him last year on hard courts in Shenzen. This 250 is a great chance for Ferrer to capture a title after an elbow injury limited him at the US Open.
Grigor Dimitrov is 26-17 on the year and has had his share of struggles, that said his indoor record historically is solid enough and he should have the edge over the Sousa/Przysiezny winner. Chardy/Zverev or Benjamin Becker (who dumped Sam Groth in round 1) could pose trouble in the quarterfinals, as Chardy/Becker are both relatively big servers and clean ballstrikers. Dimitrov is 2-1 against Chardy in the h2h and he should be motivated enough to try to finish the season strong with at least a semifinal showing in KL.
Feliciano Lopez was in fantastic form over his final two events of the North American hard court summer, the Cincy and US Open quarterfinalist opens his fall campaign against the winner of Mischa Zverev/Rajeev Ram. The elder Zverev is in good form and should defeat Ram, but the superior serve and volleyer Lopez (compared to Ram), should rech the quarterfinals. Almagro/Baghdatis is almost certain to play big server Vasek Pospisil in round 2, as Vasek opens with Yasutaka Uchiyama. Baghdatis could well beat Pospisil, but I have it Lopez over Pospisil in the quarterfinals.
Ivo Karlovic has served his way to a 31-19 record on the year and on this fast surface he should be lethal against Nikoloz Basilashvili or a struggling Aleksandr Nedovyesov. In the quarters he should face Nick Kyrgios, who has a Malaysian mother and is somewhat of a home player in this one. Kyrgios beat Santiago Giraldo with ease in the opening round and the talented young gun should be motivated and focused enough to reach the semifinals over Karlovic. He’ll face Tatsuma Ito or the retiring Jarkko Nieminen in round 2.
Becker is just 8-18 at the ATP main draw level this year, and the veteran has struggled to stay healthy, but he’s a big server with a solid forehand and he moves well indoors, along with being a crafty shotmaker at his best. He’s 2-1 in his last three matches and the seeds Chardy and Dimitrov in his section are beatable.
Semis Ferrer d. Dimitrov
Lopez d. Kyrgios
Ferrer has lost indoors to Dimitrov but he leads the h2h otherwise and he’s had a far better season. Lopez is 1-0 in the h2h over Kyrgios, and he’s in better form, so he should serve his way to the final.
Final Lopez d. Ferrer
Lopez leads the hard court h2h 5-4 and his fantastic form at the US Open bodes well for him to win this title. Ferrer still should have some rust on his game.