2-4-8! Who Do We Appreciate? Three Seeded Players In Delray Beach Open Quarterfinal Play Today
Steve Fogleman in Delray Beach
January 11–-John Isner, Hubert Hurkacz and Frances Tiafoe are clearly the ones to beat in this tournament at the moment. Those seeded Delray Beach Open seeds have a lot of contenders at their tails. Sebastian Korda, who beat John Isner at Roland Garros last year, is set for the challenge against the second seed nig man Isner.
Roberto Quiroz, the 28-year-old Ecuadorean with deep pro tennis roots and in his first ever ATP quarterfinal, will square off against the 4 seed, Hubert Hurkacz. Hurkacz hopes to be the 7th 4 seed to win this tournament. It’s been tours since his last semifinal berth, but former Texas Christian University standout Cameron Norrie will do his best to move on against 8 seed and 2018 champion Frances Tiafoe.
Finally, you’ve got a match this afternoon that will result in an automatic underdog advancing to the semifinals between Christian Harrison and Gianluca Mager. This is Harrison’s first quarterfinal and Mager beat his brother Ryan to open the main draw of the tournament. In fact, Mager is looking to defeat his third American in a row after a win over Sam Querrey in the second round.
I’ve said it many times and it seems to hold true. At the lower level tournaments, seeding means little.The experience and confidence the players earn on the courts prior to the main draw are often enormously valuable.
As far as coronavirus and social distancing protocols here, there seems to be a ramped-up enforcement. With fewer fans in attendance on Friday, there were more groups together in the upper areas of the stadium and plenty of chin-strapping. I looked at the ushers on the concourse below and was worried that these mature-aged volunteers wouldn’t be up to the task. Meanwhile, Delray Beach Police Officers were all over the facility and didn’t seem interested in managing the new rules. By the weekend, that had changed. Frequent announcements were made that all fans were required to be in their assigned seats and that ushers would be coming around to check those seat assignments. Seats were sold in blocks of 2 or 4 with alternating rows and the protocols appeared to be enforced more stringently. Though it’s completely understandable, my heart sunk a little during announcements that fans were prohibited from asking for selfies or autographs from the players. And that photo of Frances Tiafoe above? He says he requested it. The only reason his mask was down was because he’d just finished answering a few questions for me twelve feet away. Throughout the weekend, the announcer made a point to inform the fans that they were about to be part of a national telecast on Tennis Channel, as if to remind them that they didn’t want to give their own town a bad look on TV. Maybe that was the trick.
More Delray Beach Open Seeds Fall on Saturday; Four Quarterfinal Spots Left
Steve Fogleman in Delray Beach
January 10, 2021–The seeds kept dropping on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open in Delray Beach, Florida. Gianluca Magher, the man who defeated Rio Open top seed Dominic Thiem last March, continued his underdog magic with a rude dismissal of #6 seed Sam Querrey, 7-6(8), 6-1.
Next up was Christian Harrison, and Christian’s Mission continued as he handled the tournament’s top seed Cristian Garin, 7-6, 6-2. He continues to marvel at his run in Delray Beach, where as a child he first saw pro tennis played in person.
Following up on Harrison’s heroics, Sebastian Korda advanced over #5 seed Tommy Paul. The tournament’s highest remaining ranked player, John Isner, served his way past Thiago Monteira in the night cap in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Those results set up a quarterfinal square-off between Magher and Harrison and an All-American match with Isner and Korda. The top half of the singles draw has now lost two of its seeded players, leaving only #4 Hubert Hurkacz in the driver’s seat. In that top half, either Harrison or Magher will reach the semifinals and play on Tuesday. All eyes will be on Hurkacz in today’s day session when he will play his first ever match at Delray Beach following his first round bye.
STADIUM – start 11:00 am
[WC] C. Harrison (USA)/R. Harrison (USA) vs O. Marach (AUT)/L.D. Martinez (VEN)
Not before 12:30 pm
 H. Hurkacz (POL) vs D.E. Galan (COL)
Not before 2:30 pm
 F. Tiafoe (USA) vs B. Fratangelo (USA)
Night Session – Not before 6:00 pm
[Q] R. Quiroz (ECU) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
Not before 8:00 pm
C. Norrie (GBR) vs  A. Mannarino (FRA)
Court 1 – start 2:00 pm
A. Krajicek (USA)/S. Querrey (USA) vs A. Molteni (ARG)/H. Nys (MON)
Not before 4:00 pm
N. Monroe (USA)/F. Tiafoe (USA) vs [PR] M. McDonald (USA)/T. Paul (USA)
Christian’s On A Mission: Harrison Sets Up Clash with Top Seed Cristian Garin
Steve Fogleman in Delray Beach
January 9. 2021–-For years, it was young Cristian Harrison who came to Delray Beach to watch his older brother, Ryan, compete in this ATP 250 tournament tucked inside this idyllic beach town. Yesterday, as Cristian Harrison warmed up on the outer court for his first round main draw match, there were only a few fans scattered around the bleachers. Among them was Ryan Harrison, who’d been eliminated from the singles draw on the opening day of the event.
“I’m feeling good. I’m playing a lot of qualies because I don’t have much of a ranking right now,” the younger Harrison said after his straight sets win over Tomas Etcheverry, 6-4, 6-2. After seasons of injuries and more surgeries than you can count on one hand, he knows that court time is precious. “It’s very special,” he told me after the match. “Honestly, to do it in Delray just because some of my first pro tennis memories when I was 13 or 14, coming to this tournament to watch my brother play. I love it here, I love Atlantic Avenue. It sucks that we can’t see it this year with everything going on. It’s special to this in Florida, where I live.”
After getting through the qualifying final in a tiebreak, he breezed through the first round yesterday. Harrison opened the qualifying tournament by knocking out Chile’s Marcelo Barrios Vera. Today, he’ll face the Open’s top seed and #1 Chilean, Cristian Garin, who is currently ranked #22 in the world. “I’ve obviously never played him, but I’ve seen him a lot, in a lot of other tournaments,” he told me. “I don’t think we’ve ever practiced but he’s had a lot of good results.”
He expounded on his fraternal bond with Ryan. “I know how he always wanted it for me, so it sucked for him whenever I was out a lot,” he said. “He could feel my pain when I couldn’t play these tournaments. Now that we’re getting theses chances to be in the same place, we’re making the most of it.”
Indeed, they made the most of it yesterday. After Christian’s singles win, the pair defeated the Texas Twins—Hunter and Yates Johnson, 6-4, 7-6(2), to advance to the quarterfinals in doubles.
SAT., JAN 9 ~ Day Session
11:00am: (2) M. Daniell (NZL) / P. Oswald (AUT) vs A. Molteni (ARG) / H. Nys (MON)
12:30pm: (6) Sam Querrey (USA) vs G. Mager (ITA)2:30pm: (1) Cristian Garin (CHI) vs C. Harrison (USA)
A Delray Beach Open Wild Card for Andy Murray Strengthens the Field for Western Hemisphere’s First Tournament of 2021
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Andy Murray, a 46-time winner on the ATP Tour who has been ranked No. 1 in the world, has been awarded a wild card for the season-opening Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com that will take place January 4-13.
The three-time Major champion joins four former tournament winners – Reilly Opelka (2020), Frances Tiafoe (2018), Sam Querrey (2017) and Kei Nishikori (2008) – in the field.
Murray will make his Delray Beach Open debut during Session 8, which will take place Friday night, Jan. 8. Additional headline matches have also been announced, including Opelka beginning his title defense on Thursday night, Jan. 7. The top-ranked American, John Isner, will headline the Saturday night session on Jan. 9, while Milos Raonic, who is projected to be the top seed, will play on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 10.
“I am looking forward to starting the 2021 season in Delray Beach.” Murray said. “This event will be a good test for me and I’m excited to be back playing on the tour”
Murray will be the 11th of the 26 players to have ever held the ATP’s No. 1 ranking to play the Delray Beach Open, joining Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Lendl, Carlos Moya, Pat Rafter, Marcelo Rios, Andy Roddick and Mats Wilander.
“We are looking forward to Andy joining us for our season-opening tournament,” said Tournament Director Mark Baron. “He is a champion at every level and among the greatest fighters our sport has ever seen. It will be thrilling to see him play here.”
Murray has won his 46 ATP titles from 68 finals during his career. Those tournament wins include being a two-time champion at both Wimbledon (2013, 2016) and the Olympics (2012, 2016). He was also the winner at the 2012 US Open and in 2016 at the ATP Finals, which was his ninth title of that season.
During his career, Murray has spent 41 weeks ranked as the World No. 1. At the end of January 2019, he underwent a hip resurfacing surgery. In June of that year, he returned to the Tour and immediately won the doubles title at Queen’s Club in London. He returned to singles action in August, and in October, won the title at Antwerp.
The 33-year-old and his wife, Kim, have two daughters and one son. Last year, he was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
His brother Jamie, who is one year older, has been ranked No. 1 in doubles and won the 2008 Delray Beach title.
Originally scheduled for February, the 2021 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com will now take place January 4-13. The ATP Champions Tour legends event will begin the action Jan. 4-6. ATP 250 qualifying matches will take place Jan. 5-6. The main draw for the ATP 250 tournament, which will feature 16 doubles teams in addition to the 28-player singles field, will begin Thursday, Jan. 7 with two sessions each day until the finals are contested during a single session on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
All tickets for the “Physically Distanced, Forever Social” event at the historic downtown tennis center are on sale now at www.yellowtennisball.com or by phone at +1 561-330-6000. In order to accommodate spacious conditions in the stadium and throughout the venue, attendance for each session at the 2021 tournament will be capped at 2,000 people, just under 25 percent of the outdoor stadium’s total capacity.
Fans who act quickly can take advantage of a special Holiday Sale on tickets if purchasing before midnight on Dec. 31. Using the promo code CHAMPION, a discount of 30% will be applied to individual box and reserved seats for Sessions 1-4 (ATP Champions Tour matches). For discounted tickets to see the ATP 250 matches, fans can use the code JINGLE to get 10% off individual box seats for Sessions 5-14 (excluding Session 8), while the code BELLS will provide a 20% discount on individual reserved seats for Sessions 5-14 (excluding Session 8).
Last year, Delray Beach resident Opelka served a tournament record 99 aces during the week in which he won his second career ATP Tour title. In doubles Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan captured their sixth Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com title and their 119th as a team. It was the final tournament for the twin brothers who announced their retirement in August. In the opening weekend’s ATP Champions Tour matches, Team Europe, led by Tommy Haas and David Ferrer, earned a 5-2 win over the James Blake-led Team World. This marked the third straight defeat for the home nation in ATP Champions Tour competition at Delray Beach.
In an ever-changing world the tournament will maintain the highest level of health and safety standards for fans, players and staff alike. Please remain updated on our measures at https://yellowtennisball.com/faq/
2021 Delray Beach Open Kicks Off Tour With Milos Raonic and Former Champs Kei Nishikori, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka and Sam Querrey
Seriously. It’s been too long. The last time we saw the men duke it out for an outdoor title was at the 2019 US Open. Our pale skin will be tested under the sun at the Delray Beach Open, the ATP 250 tournament taking place on January 4-13 in Delray Beach, Florida. The event marks the first time in decades that the men’s tour begins in the United States, with the Australian Open’s retreat into February setting the stage for Delray Beach and Antalya, Turkey having the honors of serving as the inaugural events on the annual calendar.
Fans will be held at 25% capacity along with mandatory mask use throughout the grounds.. Tickets must be purchased in isolated blocks of 2 to promote distancing between members of different households. If you are thinking about attending the tournament, you would be well advised to purchase tickets now, I have an unadvertised tip to relate: Due to COVID-19, all former general admission seats are now reserved seating and available for about $25 a piece.
It’s a strong 250 field, with former champion Kei Nishikori and former finalist Milos Raonic headlining, joined in the hunt by the American platoon of Isner and former champions Opelka, Tiafoe and Querrey.
The Delray Beach Open was slated to start in mid-February, so tournament organizers are scrambling at break-neck speed to advance an international event by a staggering 5 weeks. That’s an impressive feat even without the threat of a global pandemic.
This news is a gift to American fans after the year we’ve had.
Juan Martin Del Potro and Milos Raonic Join Top Americans at ATP Delray Beach Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 250 stop in Delray Beach is event #2 on the USA’s ATP World Tour Schedule for 2018. Here is your full preview and predictions for this outdoor hard court tournament.
Top seed Jack Sock faces journeyman J.P. Smith in the opening round. Sock badly needs some wins but should have a tough customer in Ryan Harrison awaiting in round 2. Harrison needs to defeat American wild card Reilly Opelka in the opening round. Caught up in accusations of racism last week in New York, Harrison’s head may be somewhere else and I’ll go with Sock to find form and continue to demonstrate why he’s the American #1.
John Isner is struggling and faces an opponent he just lost to in New York, Radu Albot. As unlikely as it may be, I’ll go with Albot to defeat Isner again before falling to Peter Gojowczyk/Lukas Lacko in round 2. Isner is way out of sorts. Sock over Gojowczyk is my pick in the quarters.
New York Open champion Kevin Anderson faces Evgeny Donskoy in the opening round. Donald Young/Ramkumar Ramanathan will follow. Anderson should be the favorite until he reaches the quarters. Milos Raonic should await at that stage. The Canadian is hoping to make a solid showing after struggling to start the season. Raonic faces Taro Daniel, Nikoloz Basilashvili/Steve Johnson will follow. I’ll back Raonic to reach the quarters and upset a tired Anderson at that stage.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Hyeon Chung is a potential quarterfinal matchup that fans will be eager to watch. Del Potro opens with Jeremy Chardy, Matt Ebden/Frances Tiafoe will follow. Chung opens with Cam Norrie, Franko Skugor/Alexander Bublik will follow. I’ll go with Del Potro to power past Chung. Both players are solid, but Del Potro is tough on a hard court.
I’ll back Canadian Denis Shapovalov to have a solid tournament. Shapovalov will have to get past Ivo Karlovic, but presuming he wins that match he’ll get Jared Donaldson or a tired Adrian Mannarino in round 2. New York finalist Sam Querrey faces Taylor Fritz, Dudi Sela/Mikhail Youzhny will follow. Shapovalov over a tired Querrey is my quarterfinal pick.
2017 ATP Delray Beach Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The first of Florida’s two ATP World Tour stops, here is your preview with predictions for the 2017 Delray Beach Open.
Delray Beach Open
ATP World Tour 250
Delray Beach, FL, USA
February 20-26, 2017
Prize Money: $534,625
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Milos Raonic (4)
2: Ivo Karlovic (20)
3: Jack Sock (21)
4: Sam Querrey (29)
Delray boasts top 20 players, but otherwise it’s a pretty open field on the beach.
First round matches to watch
(8)Kyle Edmund vs. Adrian Mannarino
Mannarino has a h2h win, but this should be a very competitive hard court matchup. Both players could use a form boost, Mannarino’s shotmaking is a bit better than Edmund, which should make him the slightest of favorites.
Jared Donaldson vs. Mikhail Kukushkin
Donaldson has hit a skid, losing five straight matches. Kukushkin for his part has won three of his last four, reaching the semis in Memphis. The steady ATP veteran is never going to be an elite player, while Donaldson might be, but the young American seems listless right now, making Kukushkin a surprising favorite.
Two of the ATP’s most talented tall players, both of these players have been bit hard by the injury bug, and had their careers derailed in the process. Anderson hasn’t won a match this year, while Del Potro is making his season debut. Last year even a rusty Del Potro showed what a talented player he is. Remaining Argentina’s best player, JMDP has never lost to South Africa’s best Anderson (5-0 h2h), and presuming he can kick off the rust he should win his first match of 2017.
(6)Bernard Tomic vs. (Q)Steve Darcis
Tomic is just 2-3 this year, while Darcis has seven wins just this month. The veteran Belgian has never played the junkballing Tomic, it should be an interesting style contrast. Tomic is the better player, but he’s looked unfit in 2017, Darcis is playing quite well and at his best he should groove past a frustrated Tomic.
Taylor Fritz vs. (Q)Akira Santillan
Australian teen Santillan will be bidding for his first ever ATP win against American teen Fritz in this matchup of potential future ATP stars. Santillan has good form, having come through qualifying, but the more experienced Fritz should have a slight edge in this one, despite not having a great start in 2017. Be sure to check these young guns out before they get famous.
(2)Ivo Karlovic vs. Donald Young
Karlovic is 3-0 against Young, but he’s lost three straight matches, while Young reached the semifinals in Memphis. If Karlovic wins this, he could take home the Delray title, but Young also his eyes on a potential title here and won’t be broken easily. Karlovic, a former Delray champ, should win the tiebreaks to advance here.
Milos Raonic is the best player in this field and should blitz past Tim Smyczek, Borna Coric/Santiago Giraldo, and most likely Rendy Lu/Adrian Mannarino in his first three matches. Coric is slowly easing into form, but still won’t be able to deal with Raonic’s serve in his current form. Lu opens with wild card Bjorn Fratangelo, Mannarino/Edmund will be his round 2 opponent, with most likely Mannarino the slight favorite to reach the quarters given Lu hasn’t been in great form recently. Raonic will have lost focus if he doesn’t reach at least the semifinals here.
Sam Querrey looked awful in Memphis, but there are much worse draws in round 1 than Israeli veteran Dudi Sela, and the American should power into round 2 against Kukushkin (or Donaldson). I have the defending champion Querrey defeating Kukushkin before falling to another former champion, Del Potro, in the quarterfinals (2-1 h2h in favor of Del Potro). JMDP will face Memphis quarterfinalist Damir Dzumhur in round 2, after a win against Anderson, presuming Dzumhur continues his positive play against Konstantin Kravchuk.
The Karlovic/Young winner looks set to face Darcis or Tomic in the quarterfinals, unless the nearly retired former champion Tommy Haas or Memphis finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili interrupts that. Karlovic should serve past Young and Fritz/Santillan, while I have Darcis beating a tired Basilashvili, after the Georgian defeats Haas. It’s tough to pick between Karlovic and Darcis, form favors Darcis, but in Delray I’ll go with Karlovic.
Two of America’s best, Jack Sock and Steve Johnson should face off in the quarterfinals, presuming Johnson defeats his young countryman Stefan Kozlov, then Yoshihito Nishioka/Kimmer Coppejans and Sock eases past Radu Albot and Dustin Brown/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Sock beat Johnson when they met in Auckland earlier this year, Sock will be the favorite to reach the semis. Brown is coming off a back injury, Garcia-Lopez continues to struggle, Kozlov is yet to reach an ATP caliber level, and both Coppejans and Nishioka are vulnerable to getting overpowered.
The qualifier Darcis has a shot at getting past Tomic, Basilashvili and the big serving Karlovic to reach the semifinals. He’s been playing some of the best tennis of his career lately, and it was a bit of a quirk that he had to go through qualifying in the first place. If a non-seed is going to exceed expectations, this veteran is a good choice to do it.
Semis Raonic d. Del Potro
Sock d. Karlovic
Raonic has split meetings against Del Potro, but should be in better form, giving him an edge. Karlovic has consistently battled past Sock on hard courts, but the American’s form is too good to pass up, he has a great shot at reaching another ATP final.
Final Raonic d. Sock
6-2 this year, Raonic is playing well enough, should be fresh, and has an 8-2 h2h lead against Sock, making him a clear favorite to take home this ATP title.
Nick Kyrgios became one of the youngest ATP champions of all-time when he captured the title in Marseille at the age of 20. Kyrgios dominated a tough field and didn’t drop a set, as he concluded his tournament triumph with a 6-2 7-6(3) victory over Marin Cilic.
Kyrgios’s serve and return of serve were both clicking this week as he defeated Vasek Pospisil and Teymuraz Gabashvili 4 and 4, Richard Gasquet 6-0 6-4 and the powerful Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2. Gasquet was still nursing a back injury, but nobody could stop NK from rising this week. The young Aussie has already demonstrated his ability to win big matches and do well in slams, but his ranking should rapidly improve if he can win more ATP titles and compete on a weekly basis. Kyrgios lost his only previous ATP final last year.
Cilic reached his first ATP final of the season as he slipped past Robin Haase in three sets, Andrey Kuznetsov in straights, and Benoit Paire in a close three setter. Paire upset Stan Wawrinka in the previous round. The former Grand Slam winner is showing signs of improvement, but still hasn’t reached the same level that he was once at and remains outside the top 10.
Mate Pavic and Michael Venus combined to win their third ATP doubles title of the season over Colin Fleming and Jonathan Erlich in a routine doubles final.
Pablo Cuevas won his fourth career ATP title, and his first ever at the 500 level in a tight three setter over surprise first-time ATP finalist Guido Pella 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4. The Rio tournament was plagued by both rain and upsets this week, but the dirtballer Cuevas was a true warrior and had the week of his life in Rio.
Cuevas dominated Facundo Bagnis in his opening match, then fended off a challenge from upstart wild card Thiago Monteiro, and beat Federico Delbonis in straights. He faced Rafael Nadal in the semis and stunned the king of clay in three sets, with two tiebreaks. The match against Nadal was his first ever top 10 win on clay, as Nadal continues to struggle and decline. Nadal wasn’t the only big name to lose in Rio this week, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was stunned by the ATP débutante Monteiro. The Brazilian has a bright future ahead.
Pella was down match point in round 1 against a cramping John Isner, but won a third set tiebreak to survive and advance. The Argentine built on that big win and beat Santiago Giraldo and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, the latter in three sets, to reach the semis. Dominic Thiem was playing and doubles and singles this week and suffered from exhaustion as he was rolled over by Pella in a semifinal upset.
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah won the doubles title for the second week in a row on the Golden Swing. The Colombian duo defeated David Marrero and Pablo Carreno Busta.
Sam Querrey won his eighth career ATP title and his first in four years in Delray Beach. The American has had his best success on home soil and his latest triumph came over countryman Rajeev Ram 6-4 7-6(6). Ram was playing in his third career ATP final, as the journeyman has made surprising success with his serve and volley game.
Querrey, who was coming off the semis in Memphis, has been in great form as he recovered from dropping the first set to Thiemo de Bakker to win in three sets, going on to defeat Austin Krajicek, Tim Smyczek in a tight three sets, and surprise semifinalist Juan Martin Del Potro in a close two sets.
Del Potro lacks a solid backhand, but his trademark forehand was looking sharp in his first ATP comeback tournament. The Argentine successfully won three ATP matches this week, and his fans can hope for more going forward. His serve also seems improved.
The 31 year old Ram took advantage of Bernard Tomic’s tank, and won three setters over Illya Marchenko and Benjamin Becker before shocking Grigor Dimitrov in the semis. Ram didn’t play out of the ordinary, but Dimitrov was reckless and erratic.
Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin survived being down match point six times to defeat the legendary Bryan brothers for the Delray Beach doubles title.
2016 ATP Delray Beach Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
After the 250 stop in Memphis, the second ATP stop in the USA is Delray Beach for hard court tennis, South Florida style.
Delray Beach Open
ATP World Tour 250
February 15-21, 2016
Delray Beach, FL, USA
Prize Money: $514,065
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Kevin Anderson (14)
2: Bernard Tomic (20)
3: Ivo Karlovic (26)
4: Grigor Dimitrov (27)
Delray has a collection of interesting players, though this tournament lacks an elite name, we should see good matchups this week.
First round matchups to watch:
(7)Donald Young vs. Mikhail Kukushkin
Both were quarterfinalists last week in Memphis, with Kukushkin holding a h2h win, and a slightly better start to his season. Young could do well this week and defend as much of his finalist points from last year as possible, but he could also see himself ousted as a seed.
(WC)Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Denis Kudla
Denis Kudla is 4-4 to start the year, while Del Potro is playing for the first time since the 2015 ATP Miami stop. He’ll try once more to reboot his career and put his wrist injuries behind him after playing just 14 matches over the last two seasons. Del Potro is one of the few active Grand Slam winners on tour, and he once had the game to challenge the world’s best. We’ll see what kind of form he’s in, and if he still has that type of game in this match. Kudla’s ball striking makes him a consistent opponent.
Sam Groth is a horrific 1-7 since last fall’s US Open, as his one dimensional serve first game has failed to be enough to win matches as of late. Rubin is a rising young American talent who has beefed up his game over the past few months. He has a challenger semi and a slam win already in 2016, with a good run in Delray quite possible. This tournament is a stop on the road in his development as a player.
Former Delray champion Kevin Anderson will open with American Austin Krajicek, and though Anderson is just 1-2 to start the season, he should move his h2h to 4-0 against Krajicek, who is just 2-4 to start the year. Memphis semifinalist Sam Querrey will face a struggling Thiemo de Bakker (1-3 in his last four). Anderson should be on upset alert against Querrey, Sam leads the h2h 8-5, with five of those wins coming on hard courts. Querrey is lower ranked, but I have him sliding into the quarters.
Young/Kukushkin will face Memphis finalist Taylor Fritz, a seeded entry, or wild card Tim Smyczek. The teenager Fritz stunned in Memphis, reaching his first ever ATP final in just his third career ATP tournament. Fritz beat three ATP caliber opponents, including winning a pair of third set tiebreaks, to advance. He could be tired out and fall to Smyczek, but his talent is clear, and he’s likely to win at least one match in Delray. Fritz also has a shot against Young/Kukushkin, but with stamina a factor, I have Querrey vs. Kukushkin in the quarters. Querrey should defeat Kukushkin at that stage given the surface.
Defending champion Ivo Karlovic will open with qualifier John-Patrick Smith, Karlovic lacks a win this season, but he’s likely to get that over the journeyman Smith. Del Potro/Kudla await in round 2, and Del Potro could surprise adn reach the quarters, but Karlovic is the favorite in his seed line.
Jeremy Chardy has two ATP quarterfinals this season, and he’ll face off with Matt Ebden first off. Ebden hasn’t won a match this year and Chardy is likely to take his heavy hitting game against Rubin or Groth in round 2. Rubin has a great shot at his first ATP quarterfinal, and I have him pulling it off as a dark horse this week. Rubin vs. Karlovic, or Chardy vs. Karlovic, is an interesting matchup, and Rubin could do like Fritz did in Memphis and make a deep run, Karlovic is the favorite though.
Bernard Tomic is 8-4 to start the season, and hard courts suit his junkballing game well. He should get past serve and volleyer Rajeev Ram in round 1 and either Marcel Granollers or Illya Marchenko in round 2. He’s far and above the best hard court player in his section.
Steve Johnson has been struggling with just a 2-4 record to start his season, John Millman has a similar hard court centric style and has played every week of the ATP season thus far. It’s hard to parse between them, though Johnson should have an edge at home in the states. Qualifier Radu Albot will go up against Memphis quarterfinalist Benjamin Becker for a round 2 spot. Becker beat Millman in Memphis, and I have him reaching the quarterfinals this week once again in Delray.
Tomic won his last meeting against Becker after previously being 0-3, at this point in their careers Tomic should be able to get himself into the semis.
Grigor Dimitrov has the talent to walk away with the title this week, but he’ll need to find form and get past Israeli veteran Dudi Sela first. Memphis semifinalist Ricardas Berankis, an undersized battler, looms in round 2, presuming Berankis beats Damir Dzumhur for the second week in a row. Dimitrov is 7-3 to start the season and should outwork Berankis to reach the quarters. He can earn his 10th win of the season over Adrian Mannarino.
The #8 seed Mannarino opens with Malek Jaziri, who continues to be an out of shape underachiever, with qualifier Dennis Novikov, or qualifier Tatsuma Ito next up. Mannarino should reach his second quarterfinal of the season before falling to Dimitrov.
Sam Querrey should reach the semis this week as well, but Rubin has the chance to be the most impressive. He’s clearly improved physically and mentally since turning pro, and the John McEnroe protege can reach the semifinals without having to face an opponent in good form. Chardy and Karlovic are tough matchups, and Del Potro could be as well, but Rubin is going to give the home fans something to cheer about this week.
Semis Querrey d. Rubin
Dimitrov d. Tomic
Querrey has an experience edge over Rubin, Dimtirov is 2-0 against Tomic in the h2h.
Final Dimitrov d. Querrey
Dimitrov is 2-0 against Querrey in the h2h, and him or Tomic are the favorites for the title in Delray Beach. A trophy in Delray will go a long way to helping Dimitrov rebuild his ranking.
David Ferrer took advantage of a relatively easy draw for a 500 level event in Rio, and captured his second title of the 2015 season with a 6-2 6-3 drubbing of Fabio Fognini. Ferrer broke early on against Fognini, and shellacked him the rest of the way. Though a few games were close, Ferrer broke Fognini’s desire by the time he got his first break of the second set and went up 6-2 5-1, eventually closing it out 6-3. His movement and shotmaking were top quality, while Fognini lacked consistency.
Previously in the tournament, Ferrer, who has lost just once this year, defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straights, Thiemo De Bakker via retirement from a set up, Juan Monaco in 3 sets, 6-2 in the third, and surprise semifinalist Andreas Haider-Maurer in straights. Haider-Maurer upset Tommy Robredo en route to the semis in a great week for the veteran dirtballer.
Fognini, who was in atrocious form going into this tournament, recaptured some of his previous top 15 ability on clay and scored wins over Jiri Vesely in 3 sets, Pablo Andujar in straights, and Federico Delbonis in 3 sets, before shocking Rafael Nadal 7-5 in the third set to reach the final. With the exception of the Andujar match, all of Fognini’s contests were remarkable to watch this week. He got breadsticked in the opening set against Vesely, and looked listless, but stormed his way back to win a second set tiebreak 9-7, after which Vesely collapsed. Against Delbonis he generated more than a half dozen match points over two sets (he lost the second set tiebreak 10-8 after taking the first set), in the third he took the tiebreak 11-9 in the longest match of his career that ended after midnight in Rio. Again Nadal he was also breadsticked in the opening set, in a match that appeared routine, but stormed his way back to win the final two sets.
Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald formed a winning partnership in the doubles, they defeated Pablo Andujar and Oliver Marach in the doubles final, as Oswald beat his countryman Marach.
Gilles Simon won his first title in over a season, and his second career Marseille title (the other came in 2007) with a nailbiting 6-4 1-6 7-6 victory over his countryman Gael Monfils. The win will help Simon stay in the top 20, and he beat Monfils even while winning 7 fewer total points, and generating fewer break point chances (8 compared to 11). In the third, both players broke once, and Simon took the final set tiebreak 7-4.
Simon beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert from a set up via retirement, and then beat Borna Coric in 3 sets, Jeremy Chardy in 2 sets, and Sergiy Stakhovsky from a set down, in 3 sets. Stakohovsky upset Stan Wawrinka this week in a massive win for him.
Monfils again played well on home soil, beating Alex Zverev, Andrey Kuznetsov, Simone Bolelli and Roberto Bautista Agut without dropping a set.
Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen won the doubles title over UK duo Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray.
Ivo Karlovic joined Simon as a veteran champion this week, the old school, big serving 35 year old beat an in-form Donald Young 6-3 6-3 with 13 aces and 3 breaks of serve. Young generated 7 break point chances against the Croat but no success at taking them as he lost his second career ATP final. The title is the sixth of Karlovic’s career, and his first since 2013, Karlovic moves to 6-7 in ATP finals and did one better than his 2010 final in Delray.
Dr. Ivo performed successful surgeries against Dustin Brown in 3 sets, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Steve Johnson, and Adrian Mannarino all in straights.
Young continued his strong run of play with wins over Ivan Dodig, Alejandro Gonzalez, Alex Dolgopolov and Bernard Tomic this week, the latter two wins coming in 3 sets. Also notable is Yoshihito Nishioka, the Japanese teenager reached his first ever ATP quarterfinal, by qualifying and defeating Igor Sijsling and Marinko Matosevic in straight sets, before losing to Tomic.
The Bryans won a doubles title on home soil over Raven Klaasen and Leander Paes.
On an interesting sidenote, a total of 7 main draw singles retirements took place in one day (2 in Delray, 4 in Rio, 1 in Marseille), 8 total retirements took place on tour this week, in what seems like a high number for a week on the ATP tour.