Home Hero Alexander Zverev Leads Stacked ATP Munich Field Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Young guns Alexander Zverev and Hyeon Chung are among the top 4 seeds at the 2018 BMW Open 250 on clay in Munich. Here is your full preview, with predictions.
A semifinalist in Monte Carlo, home favorite Alexander Zverev will start against Marcos Baghdatis or Yannick Hanfmann, with another German likely lurking in the quarterfinals. Yannick Maden takes on Yuichi Sugita, while J.L. Struff takes on qualifier Daniel Masur. Both Struff and Maden are playing well, with Maden close to a breakthrough. I’ll go with Zverev over Struff in an all-German quarterfinal.
Hyeon Chung and Gael Monfils are both a joy to watch and could meet in the quarterfinals. Chung takes on Mikhail Kukushkin or Matthias Bachinger, while Monfils should get past Mirza Basic before running into Florian Mayer or Martin Klizan. Klizan qualified, and I have his fantastic form helping him get past Mayer, Monfils, and Chung to be a dark horse semifinalist.
Roberto Bautista Agut is slated to take on Marius Copil or Casper Ruud, RBA should defeat Ruud and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarters. I have Kohli beating Ivo Karlovic and Mischa Zverev/Andreas Haider-Maurer to reach the quarters.
Fabio Fognini takes on his countryman, Marco Cecchinato in the opening round. Cecchinato just won in Budapest, but Fognini should defeat him and Guido Pella/Marton Fucsovics to reach the quarters. I’ll back Diego Schwartzman to beat Dustin Brown and Max Marterer to get to the same stage, with Fognini reaching the semis.
A battle between veterans, Seppi leads Zeballos 2-1 in the h2h, but Zeballos is coming off the semifinals in Barcelona and has shown good form on clay. If Zeballos is going to repair his ranking and move towards the top 50 he’s going to need to back up his play last week and win matches like this against a pedestrian Seppi.
(5)Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. (WC)Casper Ruud
Defending and three-time champion Kohlschreiber shouldn’t be overly troubled by the young gun Ruud but this is a great form check for Ruud, who qualified and reached the second round in Barcelona. Kohlschreiber recently made the final in Marrakech.
Gael Monfils has had a flat season this year and would love to kickstart his tennis in Munich. He’ll open with either Max Marterer or Hyeon Chung, who qualified in Barcelona and made the quarterfinals. Presuming Monfils gets past the upset alert match against Chung he should be favored against Budapest quarterfinalist Martin Klizan, who opens with Nicolas Kicker, and then will face either Dustin Brown or Mischa Zverev, who will have a serve and volley battle in round 1 on clay.
Kohlschreiber should beat Ruud and Zeballos/Seppi, Fabio Fognini lurks in the quarterfinals, presuming he can defeat Guido Pella (or Cedrik-Marcel Stebe) in round 2. Kohlschreiber is better than Fognini right now, despite Fognini’s ability to play peak tennis.
Roberto Bautista Agut looks set to face Thomaz Bellucci in the quarters, he’ll face either Thiago Monteiro or Marius Copil in round 2, after starting the season 2-2 on clay. Houston finalist Bellucci should ease past either Gerald Melzer or ATP main draw debutante Yannick Hanfmann, with RBA favored against Bellucci in the quarters.
Sascha Zverev should have enough quality to defeat either veteran Jeremy Chardy or Jozef Kovalik in round 2, Jan-Lennard Struff is a narrow favorite to make it an all-German quarterfinal, presuming he beats Daniel Masur and either Sergiy Stakhovsky or the ageless Tommy Haas, who should beat Stako on clay. Zverev is the clear favorite to make the semifinals.
Haas likely has at least one more ATP tournament run left in him and it could come at home in Germany. Haas already has two ATP wins this year and has fifteen career ATP titles, the last of his trophies coming in 2013. This is not the most difficult draw, and the likes of Zverev and Struff are certainly beatable, even though he’s a clear underdog.
Semis Kohlschreiber d. Monfils
Zverev d. Bautista Agut
Final Kohlschreiber d. Zverev
I’ll back Kohlschreiber and Zverev to reach the final in Germany, with the veteran Kohli deserving of a fourth Munich title.
2016 ATP Munich Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Tennis Atlantic is excited to once again have on-site coverage from the BMW Open in Munich, as this week you’ll be treated to reports from our onsite reporter Marc Imperatori. Here is a preview of the ATP 250 clay court stop.
BMW Open by FWU AG
ATP World Tour 250
April 25-May 1, 2016
Prize Money: €463,520
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: David Goffin (13)
2: Gael Monfils (14)
3: Dominic Thiem (15)
4: Philipp Kohlschreiber (27)
Three players at the top of their game right now, and a local German standout compromise the top seeds in Munich.
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe is playing his first ATP match in three years, and he did it the hard way, earning his spot in the main draw by winning a pair of qualifying matches. The 25 year old was absent from the tour for all of 2014, and most of 2015, due to injury rehab. He’s now back on tour and is playing just his third event of the season, the first two were a futures stop, and challenger qualifying.
Stebe was once an extremely talented young gun who had seven tour level wins in 2012, and four in 2011, along with a fantastic record on the challenger tour (four career challenger titles). With the chance at a solid ATP career still in sight, he’ll face a struggling Victor Estrella, who has incurred a sharp decline in his game this year, probably due to age. Estrella is still the favorite, but Stebe could get a huge confidence boosting win at a home tournament in Germany.
(8)Alexander Zverev vs. Malek Jaziri
Jaziri just stunned Zverev, who will be playing at home as one of the fan favorites, and he’s 10-2 over his last three tournaments, a stunning turnaround after a rough early season. He’s won a pair of challenger titles in recent weeks, and reached the quarterfinals on clay in Barcelona. Zverev is 3-2 in his last five clay court matches, and would love to get a big win in this one. Given the home advantage, I see him pulling it off.
Dustin Brown vs. (WC)Juan Martin Del Potro
Like Stebe, Juan Martin Del Potro is also on the comeback trail from injury. He’s 5-3 on the season, and is playing his first clay court tournament since the 2013 Rome Masters. Del Potro is a big hitter, but he was solid on clay at an earlier stage in his career and he’ll have a good chance to dispatch the exciting Dustin Brown, who hasn’t played a tournament in weeks. This is a great form test for Del Potro who has won at least one match in all three of his tournaments this season.
David Goffin is 4-1 on clay this season and with an 18-7 overall record, he’s had a great season thus far, as the #1 Belgian player. He should easily defeat either Stebe or Estrella, to setup a quarterfinal meeting with home player Alexander Zverev or Jaziri. The winner of that round 1 match will face Lukas Rosol or Denis Istomin, as Rosol looks to snap a four match losing streak, and Istomin is on a three match losing streak himself. Zverev should give Goffin a good match, but I have the top seed reaching the semis.
Dominic Thiem, 10-2 on clay this season, with a pair of ATP titles, is in the midst of a career year, and he’ll be a heavy favorite to reach the semifinals from his section. Thiem should open with Sarasota challenger champion Mischa Zverev, presuming Zverev dispatches Santiago Giraldo in round 1. After that, he could face Thomaz Bellucci, or perhaps Ernests Gulbis. A struggling Bellucci opens with Mikhail Youzhny, while Gulbis faces doubles specialist Ivan Dodig in this unimpressive section. Gulbis has lost four straight, and thus I have Dodig pulling an upset, while Bellucci should snap a long losing streak and beat Youzhny for the fourth straight time, then dispatch Dodig. This is a tough section to predict, but Thiem will take it.
Gael Monfils reached the final in Monte Carlo and he should blitz past either qualifier Igor Sijsling, or Bucharest quarterfinalist Marco Cecchinato. Fabio Fognini found form to reach the Barcelona quarterfinals and he should continue his momentum by dispatching young gun Max Marterer in the opening round. Marterer recently won a futures title on clay. Fognini’s round 2 opponent will be either Mikhail Kukushkin or Evgeny Donskoy, neither player is great on clay, but Kukushkin has lost three straight, and thus I have Donskoy advancing, before losing to Fognini.
Monfils has won his previous two matches against Fognini, and he should be in better form, thus I have him reaching the semis.
Barcelona semifinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber is a two-time Munich champion, and he should continue his strong start to the clay season by reaching the semifinals in Munich as well. He’ll open his quest in Munich with a qualifier, either Matthias Bachinger, or Florian Mayer, both of whom are veterans, with Bachinger in better form. Kohlschreiber should then defeat Del Potro, or perhaps J.L. Struff in the quarterfinals. Struff qualified in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona, he’ll open with the seed Vasek Pospisil, who is poor on clay, and then will face the Del Potro/Brown winner. Kohlschreiber should be good enough to defeat Del Potro.
With his great form, watch out for the veteran Jaziri to defeat Zverev once more, and reach another ATP quarterfinal on clay. Jaziri is a great shotmaker, but his work ethic and fitness has always been what has held him back. We’ll see what he can do in Munich.
Semis Thiem d. Goffin
Monfils d. Kohlschreiber
Goffin beat Thiem this year in Australia, and they have split clay meetings 1-1, both of which were ATP finals. Both guys are in solid form and have had great seasons, but Thiem appears ready to rise, and thus I have him advancing. If Monfils stays healthy and focused, he should be a cut above Kohlschreiber as well. Monfils has won four straight meetings against Kohlschreiber.
Final Thiem d. Monfils
Thiem beat Monfils last year in Umag on clay, either player could snatch the title, but a young and hungry Thiem appears set to win Munich.