Marin Cilic defeated Novak Djokovic 5-7 7-6 6-3 to capture the Queens Club title, the result is a big one for Cilic as he won the match despite a steep h2h disadavantage against the Serbian superstar and he came back from a set down to win.
Cilic claimed his first title of 2018 after wins against Fernando Verdasco, Gilles Muller, Sam Querrey, and Nick Kyrgios to reach the final. He dropped sets to Muller and Djokovic but all in all put together a tremendous week on grass against solid competition that suggests he could win the Wimbledon title in a few weeks time.
Djokovic is rounding into form on grass as he blitzed past John Millman, Grigor Dimitrov, Adrian Mannarino, and Jeremy Chardy to reach the final without dropping a set. Alongside Cilic he will have a great chance of winning Wimbledon.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers defeated Murray/Soares in the doubles final.
Croatia’s Borna Coric stunned Roger Federer 7-6 3-6 6-2 in Halle to claim his second career ATP title, this time on grass as a massive underdog. Coric didn’t drop a set until the final as he blitzed past Alexander Zverev, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Andreas Seppi, and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Federer struggled while reaching the final, as he was challenged by Aljaz Bedene, Benoit Paire, Matthew Ebden, and Denis Kudla. Coric was his toughest opponent of the tournament and at that point he finally suffered a loss. His first on grass this season.
Kubot/Melo beat the Zverev brothers to win the doubles final.
Red Hot Karlovic Moves on to Second Consecutive ATP Final Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
WASHINGTON (July 23)–On a Saturday afternoon when the Washington area was gripped in the midst of its most severe heatwave in years, and local government was opening cooling centers for those without homes or air conditioning, thousands of D.C.-area residents descended on a sun-baked bowl with aluminum bleachers and very little cover for the wrath of nature’s harshest elements. They sat there in order to watch the men’s world #25 and #35 battle it out in their favorite sport.
Yeah, we’ve got issues.
It turns out last week’s defeat of the United States by Croatia in Davis Cup must have portended another Croatian victory over America here in Washington.
Ivo Karlovic hasn’t dropped serve in this tournament, and the Croatian looks to be in good form to try to win his second consecutive event after wrapping up the title in Newport last Sunday. He played a cool game on this hot day, staying in each point long enough to wait for a Johnson break in each set. Those breaks came early in the set, and Karlovic rode them out to a 6-4 count in each stanza. It was over at 1-1 in the second, when Karlovic won consecutive net points, shaking Johnson’s confidence. Karlovic took the last of the four break points in that game to close the door.
Karlovic, with his 14 aces today, moves on to the winner of tonight’s match between Sasha Zverev and Gael Monfils. Ivo will play in back-to-back ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in his career on Sunday. Monfils and Karlovic are 2-2 in ATP World Tour main draw play, but they haven’t met in over five years. Karlovic won his only match against Zverev in three sets on grass in Halle last year. Zverev is nearly half Karlovic’s age. I predict Zverev wins tonight, and we are treated to an epic inter-generational battle on Sunday afternoon.
Heat Strokes Beat Ground Strokes @CroatiaOpenUmag Qualifying Stefano Berlincioni for Tennis Atlantic
Arrived in Croatia yesterday evening and checked in with Bastian Trinker, an Austrian guy that every year comes and plays here with good support on the stands from his family.
Quick dinner where I met Thomas Fabbiano and Agustin Velotti, both apparently travelling alone. During dinner the qualifying draw came out: no big names because of Davis Cup and a lot of Challengers scheduled next week.
This morning at breakfast I saw very relaxed Brazilians Wilson Leite and Andre Sa and then I headed to the tournament.
Already in the morning at 9 we had more than 30°C so the heat will be a key factor also this year: it will not be easy for any player to play three qualifying rounds in three consecutive days under this heat.
Surchenko def. Biljesko 63 62
I attended this match because I was curious to watch the local Domagoj Biljeskos, 18 years old who was #38 as junior. He appeared sick and nervous from the very beginning as he got broken in first game of the match with 3 double faults. He has no particular weapon but was quite evident that the match was very even because Surchenko is really nothing special. Self confidence was at a very low level, which killed any hope for the local guy who played a terrible match: 17 double faults in 9 service games say it all.
Linzer def. Galovic 61 63
Another apparently one way match from the score but the match was quite close. Galovic can hit very hard and he is always unlucky with quail draws here in Umag, Unfortunately for him, Linzer was more consistent but I have to say this was the best match of the day from a quality point of view.
Marcora def. Sabry 63 62
I watched only a few rallies but Marcora appeared always in control of the match, clearly overpowering the Egyptian.
Mitak def. Sudic 61 62
Local young players out of ATP top 1500, with Mitak being clearly better but both playing quite poorly.
Velotti looked very motivated, fist pumping after every point won. He played at good level and in the first few games the match was quite close, but then the Serbian fell apart and retired for illness.
Trinker def. Viola 64 26 62
I arrived at the end of second set and the Austrian looked really spent because of the heat and I thought Viola would have won quite easily the third set. The match has been quite funny because both were looking for winners and quick rallies and no one could play long rallies under the noon Umag sun. Viola lost focus at the beginning of third set and the Austrian managed to hold until the end thanks to his big serve. The Italian tanked the last game because he had no more energy to fight.
I arrived on 63 21 and I was pretty surprised by the Croat because he was serving well and hitting decent shots from baseline. After a very long rally he went to the net and retired almost from nowhere. He also cited illness as his reason for retirement.
Leite def. Urbanja 60 63
Leite was a nightmare match-up for Urbanja who plays Umag quail every year with good local support (Slovenia being so close to Umag) but he really had no chance against the Brazilian.
The Brazilian doubles player started very well, being aggressive and consistent from baseline. Trevisan probably didn’t expect such a motivated opponent and got broken early. The match was quite good with the Italian showing his powerful forehand but also his unforced errors. He didn’t lose his head despite being 3-5 down in the first set, managed to win the next 7 games and then had just to stay focused.
Leonardi def. Gonzalez 62 64
Match was quite funny because the Mexican was barely moving from the warm-up. The Italian just had just to play consistent tennis and hit drop shots as soon as he could: Gonzalez ran as in slow motion trying to reach the ball for a couple of times and he didn’t even try on some of them. Credit to Leonardi to have played with focus, but in the second round against Bagnis his opponent will fight much more.
First round qualifying matches ended at about 2 pm and started at 11 am today. Again, it will not be easy to play under this hot sun.
This evening exhibition on Center Court with Goran Ivanisevic and friends. Last year was very funny so I expect a good show also this year.
Ana Konjuh, 17, has won her first WTA title beating Monica Niculescu in the final of the Nottingham open.
The final was delayed due to numerous weather disruptions last week, so the players took to the court this Monday morning in the UK.
The teenage Croatian was forced to come from behind after dropping her first set of the tournament in lopsided fashion. The experienced Niculescu raced to a 5-0 lead before closing out the set 6-1.
Courtesy of @AnaKonjuh
In this situation you would expect the Romanian to run away with it, but Konjuh had other ideas. The 17-year-old broke early in the second set, and soon found herself serving to level the match at 5-3.
But a combination of nerves and the experience of her opponent meant that Niculescu soon broke back. However, Konjuh soon rallied and after failing to serve it out, the Croatian finally sealed the set with a break, 6-4.
The momentum was now with the youngster, and after saving a break point in the opening game of the third set Konjuh began to run away with it.
A break for 2-0 was quickly followed by another to seal the victory for the 17 year old, who claimed her first WTA title in the process.
Despite it being an International event, this was a big coming out party for Konjuh who has announced herself as one of the brightest prospects on tour. To beat a player as crafty and unique as Niculescu at such a young age shows her talents.
Konjuh also beat Alison Riske, and Casey Dellacqua en route to the title which are good victories in themselves. She is certainly one to watch in the upcoming weeks, and indeed for years to come.
For Niculescu she has had a good tournament that saw her beat top seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The Romanian will be one to watch at Wimbledon as her unorthadox game can cause a huge variety of problems.
Konjuh will now move to her highest ever ranking #55 after enjoying junior success, winning the Australian Open and US Open junior titles.
France, Switzerland Reach Davis Cup Final; Canada, USA, Croatia to Feature in World Group Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Davis Cup Semifinals:
France d. Czech Republic 4-1
On clay in Paris, a star-studded French team crushed a normally solid Czech team. Richard Gasquet thrashed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 6-3 in the opening singles rubber, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga followed that up with a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win over Lukas Rosol in the second Friday singles rubber. France clinched with a Saturday doubles victory by the in-form Gasquet and Tsonga over Berdych and Radek Stepanek in 4 sets.
The dead rubbers were won by Jiri Vesely against Julien Benneteau in straights, and Gael Monfils over Rosol in 3 sets. There was little drama in this tie as the Czech team was unprepared for a top tier French squad.
Switzerland d. Italy 3-2
This tie extended into Sunday, but it was in the books after four rubbers, and the dynamic Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka earned a big achievement by reaching the Davis Cup final over Italy at home in Geneva. Federer beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 6-4 6-4 and Wawrinka beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-3 6-2 to give the Swiss an opening 2-0 lead on Friday. Bolelli and Fognini came back to win the doubles over Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli in 5 sets, but Fognini could not even get a set off of Federer in the fourth Sunday singles rubber. Federer clinched the Swiss a spot in the final 6-2 6-3 7-6 over the Italian number one.
Andreas Seppi won a consolation dead rubber over Swiss B-teamer Michael Lammer in 3 sets in the dead fifth rubber.
World Group Playoffs:
Serbia d. India 3-2
Serbia, minus Novak Djokovic, narrowly avoided being upset by India on the road, prevailing on a live fifth rubber win. Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic got the Serbian side off to a great start on Friday with a pair of singles wins over Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman, but Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes kept the tie alive with a doubles win over Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic. On Sunday, Devvarman continued the Indian comeback with a five set win over Lajovic. After a rain delay pushed the tie into Monday, Krajinovic slammed the door with a straight sets win over Bhambri. The Indian team played spirited tennis but it was not enough, as Serbia will stay in the World Group.
Brazil d. Spain 3-1
A massive upset, Spain went down to Sao Paulo and got themselves knocked out of the World Group by an underdog Brazilian team on clay. Thomaz Bellucci was the hero for Brazil as he won a 5 set singles rubber from 2 sets to love down against Pablo Andujar on Friday, after Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut had dispatched Rogerio Dutra Silva in straights in the previous Friday singles rubber. Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, the Brazilian doubles specialists, beat Marc Lopez and David Marrero, the Spanish doubles team to take a 2-1 lead. On Sunday, Bellucci stuck a dagger in Spanish hearts with a 4 set upset win over Bautista Agut, who played poorly. Spanish captain Carlos Moya did not have any top Spanish players besides RBA on his roster, but this is still a massive embarrassment for Spanish tennis to lose so ignominiously to a non-tennis powerhouse like Brazil.
Argentina d. Israel 3-2
A tie that never really seemed in doubt, though it went to a live fifth rubber, Leonardo Mayer beat little-known Israeli futures player Bar Tzuf Botzer in the opening singles rubber on Friday. Israeli veteran Dudi Sela matched his feat with a win over Carlos Berlocq to leave the tie squared up going into Saturday. Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram, the Israeli doubles specialist team, beat Federico Delbonis and Horacio Zeballos in 5 sets to give Israel a 2-1 lead, but after Sela meekly bowed out to Leo Mayer in the fourth singles rubber, Berlocq slammed the door, crushing Botzer with a third set bagel. The young Israeli showed signs of promise but the Argentine team was stronger top to bottom and won the day as a result.
Canada d. Colombia 3-2
Milos Raonic joined Bellucci as a Davis Cup star this week. The Canadian number one won a pair of singles rubbers in straight sets to clinch the tie at home in Halifax over an underdog Colombian team. His first win in singles came on Friday over Alejandro Gonzalez, after Vasek Pospisil had defeated Colombian number one Santiago Giraldo in straights. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah extended the tie into live Sunday play with a win over Daniel Nestor and Pospisil in doubles, but a Raonic win in the opening Sunday rubber over Giraldo finished the tie. Gonzalez beat Frank Dancevic in a dead fifth rubber. The Canadian team continues to gel well together and should be a threat in the World Group.
USA d. Slovakia 5-0
It was a comfortable white-washing for the USA in Chicago. John Isner and Sam Querrey combined to win six consecutive sets of tennis against Norbert Gombos and Martin Klizan on Friday, the Bryans clinched the tie on Saturday with a crushing doubles win over Gombos and Lukas Lacko, and then Isner and Querrey wiped up against Lacko and Gombos in the dead rubbers.
Australia d. Uzbekistan 5-0
A fast grass court in Perth helped Lleyton Hewitt and company dominate Uzbekistan. The young Nick Kyrgios and Hewitt combined to win six consecutive sets of tennis on Friday over Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov respectively, then Chris Guccione and Hewitt beat Dustov/Istomin to clinch the tie with a doubles victory. Sam Groth and Kyrgios won dead rubbers over Temur Ismailov and Sanjar Fayziev as the Uzbek team went 0-13 on sets in this tie.
Croatia d. Netherlands 3-2
Marin Cilic carried his team into the World Group, coming off his career best US Open victory. In Friday action, Mate Delic, who primarily plays on the challenger circuit, upset ATP regular Igor Sijsling in 4 sets to give Croatia a 1-0 lead. Robin Haase countered for the Dutch over young Croat Borna Coric in straights to make it 1-1. Cilic and Marin Draganja won the doubles rubber over Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer to make it 2-1 in favor of Croatia. Robin Haase forced a live fifth rubber with a 5 set win over Delic, coming back from 2 sets down, but Cilic stepped into the breach and beat Thiemo De Bakker in 4 sets to clinch the tie, a massive result for Croatian tennis.
Belgium d. Ukraine 3-2
This tie was moved from Ukraine due to the military conflict situation there and played in Estonia on indoor hard. An in-form Belgium team rolled off three straight victories after outspoken Ukranian Sergiy Stakhovsky beat Steve Darcis in the opening Friday singles rubber. David Goffin beat Illya Marchenko in straights, Ruben Bemelmans and Oliver Rochus beat Stakhovsky and Sergei Bubka in the doubles rubber, and Goffin beat Stako in straights on Sunday to clinch the tie. The dead rubber was won by Marchenko over Darcis. If Goffin continues to play well, Belgium may be a dangerous dark horse opponent in the world group.
Earlier today, after defending champ Nicolas Mahut lost his quarterfinal match against Sam Groth at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, he got a hate tweet. How did Nico deal with it? He tweeted it out, surely invoking the wrath of his fans against the angry loser of a bet.
“@cacat1234: @nmahut go burn in hell you fucking sh1t you wanted to lose with that samuel groth. You are a PIECE OF SHIT”thks for Ur support
Right after I saw that tweet, it was time to speak with 2 seed Ivo Karlovic. Now Karlovic is one of the funniest guys on twitter. But twitter clearly has a dark downside as well. So what would Dr. Ivo do when someone trolls him on twitter?
“There is a lot of them because they are betting and then when they lose the money, they are angry, but they should be angry at themselves, not at me. Usually, if it’s really mean, I block them, or I just answer about their mamas.”
Keep on tweetin’, Ivo!
And I don’t think you’ll have to block these girls anytime soon.
2014 ATP Zagreb Preview, Picks Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
PBZ Zagreb Indoors
ATP World Tour 250
February 3-February 9, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Tommy Haas (12)
2: Mikhail Youzhny (14)
3: Philipp Kohlschreiber (27)
4: Ivan Dodig (34)
A nice mix of players competing in Zagreb, but not exactly a star studded field by any measure.
First Round matchups to watch:
(8)Igor Sijsling vs. Blaz Kavcic
Sijsling made the finals of the indoors Heilbronn challenger in January after an 0-3 start to his season, but he struggled mightily on indoor hard in the Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic over the weekend. His poor form puts him on upset alert against Blaz Kavcic, who helped Slovenia in the Davis Cup. He is 9-4 on the season thus far and is playing well, with all of his matches coming on hard surfaces. Sijsling is the more accomplished player but not much separates them and form favors Blaz, who I think pulls off the upset against the Dutchman.
Daniel Brands vs. Ivo Karlovic
A 1-1 h2h between these big servers, Brands beat Karlovic in Zagreb in 2011 in their last meaning and the Croatian will try to get some home revenge. Neither are playing their best right now, but with those fiery serves, they can catch fire and make deep runs fast and indoor hard is the surface to do that.
This is a toss-up, but I’ll go with the Brandswagon to get by. Expect tiebreaks.
Tommy Haas helped Germany defeat Spain in Davis Cup and will be playing Zagreb for the first time as the veteran German, who struggled mightily at the start of the season, faces his countryman Benjamin Becker, or Jesse Huta Galung in round 2.
The quarterfinalist will face Sijsling/Kavcic or Sergiy Stakhovsky/Qualifier, as Stako is in good form with an ATP semifinal on his record and a good showing in the Davis Cup for Ukraine for early 2014.
Philipp Kohlschreiber was another who stepped up big for team Germany in the Davis Cup. He took a walkover in the dead 4th rubber to get a rest so he can be fresh for Andrey Golubev. Golubev is in form and played well in Davis Cup for Kazakhstan this weekend. Another possibility is Victor Hanescu, who couldn’t help Romania prevail in the Davis Cup weekend action.
Kohli against one of Radek Stepanek/Jan Hajek/Qualifier/Borna Coric will be the quarterfinal matchup. The young Coric is the future of Croatian tennis and got a wild card, but I don’t think he is ripe quite yet for a run. This section is open though. Stepanek is probably the favorite coming off Davis Cup success.
Former champion Mikhail Youzhny will face a qualifier or Ante Pavic, then one of Lukas Rosol/Dudi Sela/Lukas Lacko/JL Struff in the quarterfinals. Rosol could make a run, and Struff is continually improving. Youzhny should advance to the semis, though.
Ivan Dodig, another former champion, struggled mightily in January and he is under pressure this season to keep his ranking up after a great 2013. The Croatian gets a very tough test of Brands/Karlovic in round 2 that he may well not pass, and the winner of that section will most likely face 3 time and defending champion Marin Cilic.
Cilic needs to beat Mate Delic and Dusan Lajovic/Qualifier to reach the quarters.
Dark Horse: Sergiy Stakhovsky
The in-form Ukrainian, who has not been known for his consistency, but can play top 50 tennis at least for flashes at a time, has a great chance this week in Zagreb.
Kavcic/Sijsling are beatable round 2 opponents, after facing a qualifier, and Haas, if he plays like he did in early January, will fall before the might of Stakhovsky in an upset in the quarterfinals. Then, it’s a likely meeting with Kohlschreiber, who has dealt with some injury issues and is talented and consistent but beatable on a good day.
Kohlschreiber d. Stakhovsky
Youzhny d. Cilic
Stakhovsky actually beat Kohli in 2011 in Montreal, but that result may well have been a bit of a fluke, as Peppo has to be the favorite if he is healthy and playing ok.
In a semifinal that would be a rematch of the 2013 Zagreb final, Cilic beat Youzhny and has a 3-1 overall indoor h2h record against the Russian, but Cilic hasn’t had as much match play back since his suspension for half of last year, and I think he is still working his way back in terms of his conditioning in tournaments for deep runs.
If Youzhny is in decent form, he always seems to find some spark in Zagreb and plays well there, giving him a slight edge to prevail.
Youzhny d. Kohlschreiber
Youzhny scored a win over Kohli last year indoors, but the overall indoor hard h2h favors Peppo 2-1.
This is another final that could go either way, and would be a quality title for either veteran player, but I’ll go with Mikhail to do one step better than last year and win it all.
This was the terse note at the top of the daily results email from the Citi Open Media Director tonight:
‘Note: Gael Monfils has withdrawn with a biceps injury. His position in the draw will be filled by a qualifier.’
Poring over these qualifying matches and trying to write posts about Saturday’s on-court action suddenly came to a sobering halt.
All I know is that he had a pair of grueling three setters in a row at the ATP Vegeta Croatian Open over the last two days. On Friday, he beat Albert Montanes 6-0, 5-2, 7-5 and yesterday in the semifinals, Fabio Fognini got what was left of Monfils in eliminating the Frenchman 6-0, 3-6, 7-6(3).
I feel for Gaels Monfils.
And all the amateur and professional photographers in the DC area who see him as the Holy Grail of Tennis Subjects with his vertical style. He will be missed.
In the meantime, you can watch this video of Monfils in DC from 2011, which seemed to infuriate his fans to the tune of 109,000 views. It was an early attempt at humor that won’t be repeated anytime soon, even though given the metrics, maybe I should?
2013 ATP Gstaad, Umag Previews and Predictions Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Though I’m in Atlanta all week, there are in fact two other ATP events going on. They’re both in Europe on clay. Here’s a sneak peek of each.
Gstaad Official Site (Photo: Valeriano Di Domenico)
ATP Gstaad Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad
ATP World Tour 250
July 22-July 28, 2013
Prize Money: €410,200
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes)
1: Roger Federer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: Janko Tipsarevic
4: Juan Monaco
1st round matchups to watch:
(7)Lukas Rosol vs. Marcel Granollers
Rosol may be injured and he’s lost 4 straight. Rosol is seeded 7th, but Hamburg 3rd rounder Marcel Granollers should have the upset track on clay.
Federico Delbonis vs. Thomaz Bellucci
Current Hamburg finalist Delbonis, who upset Federer and has been on a whirlwind pace in Germany, will take on Bellucci. Belucci was knocked out in the first round of Hamburg and is still finding his feet. This is a quality clay court match and Delbonis should have an edge if he isn’t fatigued. Bellucci is the defending champion and would hate to give up so many points with a 1st round loss.
Roger Federer is not playing well right now. He lost in the semis of Hamburg to Delbonis and before that dropped sets to both Daniel Brands and Florian Mayer. Some say it was his switch to the 98-inch racquet from the 90-inch, but I’m not totally sure that will take care of the problem. He could very well face Brands again if the German beats Marco Chiudinelli in the opening round. Chiudinelli has some positive mojo working as he made the semis in Eskisehir challenger.
The winner will get one of a qualifier, Victor Hanescu, Henri Laaksonen or 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters. RBA comes off 2nd round in Hamburg, while Hanescu lost in the opening round of Hamburg.
Hamburg quarterfinalist Juan Monaco will play Adrian Ungur or more likely Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who made the 3rd round of Hamburg and could perhaps give him some trouble.
In the quarters, one of Pablo Andujar/qualifier/Paul Henri Mathieu/Mikhail Youzhny await in what is a very open section.
Stan Wawrinka got a much needed break from the tour and will open at home against Daniel Gimeno-Traver or Kenny De Schepper with Sergiy Stakhovsky/Andrey Kuznetsov or Feliciano Lopez/Qualifier awaiting in the quarters.
Tipsy Needs to Find Himself
3 seed Janko Tipsarevic will backpeddle from Bogota, where he again failed to make even the semifinals of what was honestly a weak event (lost to Alejandro Falla in the quarters). Now he’s going back to clay and still trying to turn his miserable year around against Robin Haase or a qualifier. Tipsy was a finalist last year, but I don’t see that happening this year.
The winner will get Rosol/Granollers or Delbonis/Bellucci.
Dark Horse: Federico Delbonis
I considered giving this moniker to Brands or Bautista because they could both upset Federer and make it a tournament to remember. However, Delbonis, though he may be tired, has played incredibly well in Hamburg and has a tailor-made draw with an off kilter Bellucci, a probably injured Rosol/not dynamic Granollers, and then either ice cold Tipsarevic, tiebreak struggler Haase or a qualifier. Semis are reasonable.
Federer d. Monaco
Wawrinka d. Delbonis
Federer is 4-0 against Monaco, and though he could lose before this point, I don’t see Pico in his current form beating him. Wawrinka should get past his draw and beat whoever he faces in the semis.
“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Racket” —Jaws, 1975
Wawrinka d. Federer
I’ll be gutsy and say Wawrinka will go against his 1-13 head to head against his more accomplished countryman and win an all Swiss final at home. Wawrinka’s only win against Fed came in ’09 on clay and with the year Stan has had, plus the way Federer is playing, I say he notches his 2nd win.
Vegeta Crotia Open Umag
ATP World Tour 250
July 22-July 28, 2013
Prize Money: € 410,200
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Richard Gasquet
2: Andreas Seppi
3: Fabio Fognini
4: Alex Dolgopolov
First round matchups to watch:
Dmitry Tursunov vs. Thiemo De Bakker
Tursunov lost in the 3rd round of Hamburg to eventual finalist Delbonis, while De Bakker comes off Bastad semis. Both players have been good at times but are streaky, and on clay this should be entertaining.
Richard Gasquet comes back for his first event since Wimby against Albert Montanes or a qualifier, then could face Gael Monfils/Mate Pavic/Florian Mayer/qualifier in the quarters. Mayer is playing well and nearly beat Federer in the Hamburg quarters, so he could be a dangerous opponent.
Possible Hamburg champion and Stuttgart champion Fabio Fognini could be looking for his 3rd title in a row in Umag, opening with Tursunov/De Bakker, both of whom could defeat him if fatigued, though the Italian is playing some incredible tennis right now.
The other quarterfinalist will be one of Martin Klizan/Paolo Lorenzi/Albert Ramos/Leo Mayer in an open section.
Andreas Seppi lost in the opening round of Hamburg and will face Poznan challenger champ Andreas Haider-Maurer or talented youngster Jiri Vesely in the 2nd round. The quarterfinalist of that group will face Bastad champ and Hamburg 3rd rounder Carlos Berlocq if the Warlocq can beat a qualifier, and Borna Coric/Horacio Zeballos. Zeballos continues to struggle and the 16-year-old Croat wild card will have an upset chance.
Another struggling seed is Alex Dolgopolov, who is in danger of dropping out of the top 30 after another Round 1 loss (this time to Mayer in Hamburg). Dolgo opens with Aljaz Bedene or a qualifier. Dolgo has had Umag success before and he could use some now to kickstart his game. In the quarters, Tommy Robredo/Jan Hajek/Antonio Veic/Viktor Troicki await. Robredo lost in the opening round of Hamburg to Delbonis in 3 sets, and in fact has suffered consecutive opening round losses. Hajek, meanwhile, upset Ernests Gulbis to reach the Hamburg 3rd round.
Dark Horse: Jan Hajek
Hajek is a clay courter, and can play inspired tennis at times. His draw is favorable, with the seemingly struggling Robredo to open, then Veic/Troicki (neither of whom are that great right now), and a qualifier or a struggling Dolgopolov in the quarters.
Semis:Gasquet d. Fognini
Berlocq d. Hajek
Gasquet should get past Monfils and Mayer, though either could make the final. In addition, Fognini should worn out by the semis, but he has nothing in his draw to trouble him before except perhaps Tursunov. Fognini won the only clay meeting between them this year in Monte Carlo.
Berlocq should escape his section, though watch out for Vesely. Hajek gets a nice chance the semis. Berlocq is 2-0 career against Hajek, with both meetings coming on clay.
Final:Gasquet d. Berlocq
They have never met, but Gasquet is better and thus edge to him.