As Novak Djokovic claimed his maiden French Open trophy, American tennis fans were having their own celebration following a successful weekend of qualifying at the Ricoh Open in the Netherlands.
This year is the 27th edition of the tournament. Top seed and two-time champion David Ferrer will be hoping to win his first title on the grass since 2012. Players standing in Ferrer’s way include former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic and the fast serving Ivo Karlovic.
The qualifying draw provided the perfect opportunity for the lower ranked players to rise to the main draw. It was an opportunity that became a reality for an American pair after six out of the eight seeds failed to book their place in the main draw.
Ernesto Escobedo kicked off his campaign with a hard fought 7-6(6), 7-6(4), win over seventh seed Ryan Harrison. The 19-year-old Californian-born player is currently enduring a roller coaster season after reaching his first Challenger final in Brazil in April. Since then, he endured a trio of disappointing early round losses. Despite the recent setback, Escobedo has managed to progress to his first ATP main draw after he defeated Swiss third seed Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 7-5. The world No.264 faced no break points during his second qualifying match as he won 87% of his first service points. This week was the third ATP qualifying draw in Escobedo’s career.
Joining Escobedo in the main draw will be sixth seed Dennis Novikov. The 22-year-old is currently ranked 146th in the world and has only been able to win four main draw matches this year. Playing in s-Hertogenbosch for the first time in his career, novikov recovered from an opening set blip to see-off the Czech Republic’s Michal Konecny 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-2, in the first round. The triumph resulted in an all-American clash with Austin Krajicek. Boasting a 2-1 winning head-to-head against Krajicek prior to the match, Novikov extended his winning record by taking the match 7-6(4), 7-6(5). Impressively the Russian-born American faced no break-points and produced 13 aces to move to the main draw.
Beside the American triumphs, the highest seeded to qualify was second-seeded Lukas Lacko. The former top-50 player has only played in two ATP main draws this year going into the Dutch tournament as he tries to return to the top-100. Starting off his qualifying draw against Israel’s Amir Weintraub, the Slovakian took the match 6-2, 6-3, in less than an hour. Next up for Lacko was Alejandro Falla, a player who has reached two ATP finals in the past. The Colombian was no match for Lacko as the second seed saved six out of eight break points to win 7-5, 6-3. During his career Lacko has won 49 matches on the ATP Tour, however, only one of them have occurred this year.
Completing the quartet of qualifiers is Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. The 20-year-old has enjoyed some promising results in recent weeks. At the Bordeaux Challenger he reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier and came through two rounds of qualifying at the Nice Open last month. At S-Hertogenbosch, he continued his encouraging performance on the tour with an opening win over fifth seed Mischa Zverev (6-1, 6-4). In the final round of qualifying he produced the biggest upset of the draw when he defeated world No.106 and top seed, Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 6-1. Impressively Medvedev won 92% of his first service points during the shock win.
The main draw matches
Q Dennis Novikov USA Vs Dudi Sela ISR
Q Daniil Medvedev RUSSIA Vs Horacio Zeballos ARG
Q Lukas Lacko SVK Vs Nicolas Mahut FRA
Q Ernesto Escobedo USA Vs Aljaz Bedene GBR
2015 ATP Stuttgart and Den Bosch Previews and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The grass season begins anew for 2015 with a pair of 250 level events. Stuttgart is switching to grass from clay this year, and Den Bosch in the Netherlands is a joint ATP/WTA event again this year. After a spring on the dirt, ATP World Tour stars will feel the blades of green grass under their feet. Stay tuned to Tennis Atlantic for on-site ATP Stuttgart coverage all week.
ATP World Tour 250
June 8-June 14, 2015
Prize Money: € 574,965
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Rafael Nadal (10)
2: Marin Cilic (9)
3: Feliciano Lopez (14)
4: Gael Monfils (16)
Stuttgart switching to grass gave them a stronger field than usual, Nadal is the top seed because he was ranked higher than Cilic at the time the seeds were drawn, though that has changed now with the new rankings. The seed cutoff is 28, as this is a strong field for a 250.
Rosol has a h2h win on grass in this matchup, Queen’s 2012, but that was a three set match. Rosol comes off a third round showing in Paris, while Baghdatis won a round at the grass Manchester challenger. Both of these guys are solid on the green stuff, as Rosol famously ball bashed to beat Nadal on this surface, and Baghdatis with his aggressive ball striking has shown his prowess before as well. I’d give Rosol a slight edge to advance with his power, but this one probably goes three sets again.
(WC)Tommy Haas vs. Mikhail Kukushkin
Tommy Haas is making his return from shoulder surgery one year since he last played a match on the ATP tour. The 37 year old remains an ageless wonder, and it was surprising after he elected to come back after another injury, in a career marked by injuries, rather than retiring. On home soil, and on grass, a surface his all court game is well suited for, he should feel comfortable, but one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank at this point in his career, coming off an injury. Kukushkin is struggling mightily, and has for most of the season, so he’s a beatable round 1 opponent.
Brown has a 2-1 h2h over the higher ranked Janowicz and he qualified without dropping set here, well recognized as a solid grass court player, as he beat Rafa Nadal on this surface in Halle previously. Janowicz, a former Wimbledon semifinalist has been struggling this season, but he will look to grass to kickstart his game. This should be a close match, but I’m going with Brown in an upset victory.
Stakhovsky with his serve and volley game can be lethal on grass, as his famous Wimbledon win over Roger Federer proved, Groth comes off of a title in the Manchester challenger, and with his massive serve, he’s likewise a dangerous player on a quick surface. This is their first meeting, and it’s a hard match to pick, I give Groth a slight edge to advance.
Rafael Nadal, struggling this season by his standards, will open with the winner of Baghdatis/Rosol in what could be a tricky opening round test on the heels of his quarterfinal defeat at the French Open. Nadal’s worst surface is grass, and he hasn’t played well on it since 2011. Rafa has a strong h2h record, including a grass win over Baghdatis (06 Wimbledon semis), while he is 1-1 on grass against Rosol, losing to at Wimbledon 2012, but winning in four sets in 2014 at the same venue. Rosol is likely to be a tougher opponent, but either way I could well see Nadal losing that, the winner is likely to face the Bernard Tomic/Tommy Haas winner in the quarterfinals. Haas/Kukushkin will face Tomic or JL Struff. Tomic is an excellent grass court player who was having a great season before he hit clay, his worst surface. I expect grass to be a rebound for him as he should beat Struff, Haase, and then Nadal to reach the semis. Nadal is not trustworthy on grass right now if you ask me, and Haas is just coming off of injury, so Tomic doesn’t seem like that bold of a pick to me.
4 seed Gael Monfils will open with Andreas Haider-Maurer or Max Marterer a 19 year old German wild card. Marterer will have a shot at a win if he can play on grass, as AHM is a clay courter, either way, Monfils should cruise into the quarters, but he will get a tough opponent there. Philipp Kohlschreiber routined Alex Dolgopolov today, and he will face the Janowicz/Brown winner. All three of these guys are dangerous on grass and given given Kohli has a 2-0 h2h over Brown, I have him facing Monfils in the quarters. Kohlschreiber has a poor h2h against Monfils overall, but one of his two wins came on grass, meaning this meeting should be exciting if it takes place. Monfils has been in pretty good form as of late, and I’m going with him to advance to the semis.
Marin Cilic will open with either Peter Gojowczyk or Matthias Bachinger in the opening round, both Germans enter via qualifying, Bachinger was a lucky loser, and Gojowczyk qualified without dropping a set. Gojo has always been a talented underachiever in my mind but Cilic, who is improving in form and reached the second week at the French, will be a strong favorite to reach the quarters. There he probably faces the Benjamin Becker/Andreas Seppi winner. 7 seed Dominic Thiem is the seed, and opens with qualifier Mischa Zverev. Thiem is extremely inexperienced on grass, and prefers clay, thus the veteran Zverev will have a shot in that one. Becker is an excellent grass court veteran, while Seppi’s all court game can be dangerous as well, I’m going with Becker to beat Seppi, and Zverev to reach the quarters, where he will likely fall to Cilic.
3 seed Feliciano Lopez, who had a remarkable season on grass last year and is at his best on the surface opens with the Groth/Stakhovsky winner, a difficult task. Lopez has been in very poor form on clay, and he’ll be under pressure to preserve ranking points now, I still think he wins that match, and beats Viktor Troicki or Borna Coric in the quarterfinals. Wild card Alex Zverev, the younger brother of Mischa and an ATP young gun more suited for clay, opens with qualifier Mate Pavic. Look for Pavic to beat Zverev, and Troicki to slip past the inexperienced young gun Coric on grass, then beat Pavic to reach the quarters.
The German with American ties, Becker, reached a grass court final last year in Den Bosch (a tournament he won in 2009), and if he can get past Seppi, Cilic could slip up in the quarters, and he could upset him as well for a spot in the semis. He’s not the only possible dark horse in the draw, but with his good serve and quality baseline game, the crafty veteran could impress.
Semis: Monfils d. Tomic Cilic d. Lopez
Tomic vs. Monfils could go either way, I’m going with Monfils based off of form though, Tomic winning this title wouldn’t surprise me. Cilic has a h2h win on grass over Lopez, his form is better, and he’s done better on fast surface h2h meetings.
It’s been a slow road back for Cilic, and Monfils has struggled to stay healthy as well. I’m finally comfortable picking Cilic to perform like the top 10 player he is capable of as he seems fit, and the rust is starting to fade. Look for him to win in Stuttgart this week.
ATP World Tour 250*
s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
June 8-June 14, 2015
Prize Money: € 537,050
*denotes joint ATP/WTA event
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga*/(5) Ivo Karlovic (27)
2: David Goffin (15)
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (21)
4: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (34)
*Top seed Tsonga pulled out after a run to the French Open semis, thus the 5 seed Ivo Karlovic becomes the 1 seed in terms of the draw.
Den Bosch isn’t as strong of a field as Stuttgart, but it’s not bad for a 250, the lack of a top 10 player makes this an open draw.
First round matchups to watch:
(WC)Lleyton Hewitt vs. (Q)Nicolas Mahut
A pair of veterans who are retiring soon, Mahut, the champion of this tournament in 2013, qualified with relative ease and he’s a solid grass court player with his serve and volley skills, while Hewitt is of course a legend who counterpunches at his best on grass, though he has played an extremely light schedule so far this year. These players met in the 2013 Newport final on grass, and Mahut prevailed in three sets, prior to that Hewitt won a pair of h2h meetings on other surfaces. It’s a tough pick in regards to the winner of this, Mahut has played more recently, and Hewitt is in serious decline at this point in his career, thus I’m going with Nico, likely in three sets.
(6)Adrian Mannarino vs. Rendy Lu
Mannarino’s versatile game is well suited for fast surfaces like grass, while Lu is a steady flat hitting baseliner who excels on fast surfaces, especially hard courts. Mannarino beat Lu this year in three sets at Delray Beach, and as the higher ranked player, he should be the favorite, having performed well on hard courts this year, that said, Lu can rise to the occasion at times though he lacks weaponry, and this should be a good match. I have Mannarino winning it.
The big serving Karlovic will face Ricardas Berankis or Tatsuma Ito in round 2, Ito qualified with ease, so I’d expect him to win that round 1 match, before falling to Karlovic who has been struggling mightily for a while, but should find some form on grass. 7 seed Fernando Verdasco should be the favorite in the top section, he opens with dirtballer Daniel Gimeno-Traver and I’d also expect him to get past Robin Haase, who beat Blaz Kavcic in straights today. Haase beat Verdasco at Wimbledon 2011, but he’s not exactly a top player these days, plus he tends to struggle on home soil under pressure. Verdasco has lost twice to Karlovic on grass, but given recent form, this time I’m picking him to advance to the semis.
Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut will get a tough R2 match against Hewitt/Mahut, if Mahut advances, RBA should still have an edge, as he beat him in Den Bosch last year (in 3 sets). RBA hasn’t been a world beater as of late but I favor him to reach the quarters. The Mannarino/Lu winner should also reach the quarters, unless Benoit Paire or Marco Chiudinelli, one of the qualifiers, is a surprise. Chiudinelli qualified in just his second tournament of 2015, while Paire has limited abilities on grass, though his form has been improved as of late. I have Mannarino over Paire, and then RBA over Mannarino for a spot in the semis.
David Goffin will face the winner of Kenny De Schepper/Jurgen Melzer in round 2. De Schepper is a lucky loser, but he still should defeat Melzer, the struggling veteran, and he’ll have a good chance against Goffin as well, given his game isn’t as well built for grass, while De Schepper’s big serve should help him find success. The section above De Schepper/Goffin is interesting, Joao Sousa/Denis Istomin is a toss-up match, while Mikhail Youzhny was formerly good on grass, and will open with qualifier Illya Marchenko who has been in good form as of late. Sousa has been better than Istomin this year, but Istomin has a better record on grass. I have Sousa beating Youzhny in the second round, Youzhny has been in awful form this year, and even with that previous success on grass I don’t see him getting far. Goffin over Sousa is my pick in the quarters, he has a 2-1 h2h edge.
4 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will face Marius Copil, the Romanian wild card defeated Jarkko Nieminen in 3 sets on Monday. GGL should defeat Copil, though he comes off an opening round shock defeat at the French, but the winner of Vasek Pospisil/Gilles Muller could trouble him in the quarters. Pospisil routined the poor playing Marinko Matosevic in straights on Monday, while Muller blitzed Turkish #1 Marsel Ilhan with a bagel. Muller with his big serve is a threat on grass, as he also volleys well, and I see him defeating both Pospisil, and Garcia-Lopez to reach the semis. GGL has been a streaky player but I don’t feel his game is clicking right now.
The veteran serve and volleyer plays some of his best tennis on grass, and he looked strong today in his match. He has a draw that should open up if he can defeat Garcia-Lopez, and he well could win this tournament, as I have him reaching the final at a minimum with wins over Pospisil, Garcia-Lopez, and Goffin.
Semis: Bautista Agut d. Verdasco
Muller d. Goffin
It’s a coin flip between RBA and Verdasco if they meet in the semis, a 1-1 h2h and both have been streaky on grass before, RBA is higher ranked, both have huge forehand, and I’m going with RBA in my own bracket. Muller should defeat Goffin given this is grass.
Going with a non-seed to take the title in Den Bosch, it’s happened previously and RBA lost to Muller in the AO this year. On a slick fast surface, Muller’s serve and volley should be a deadly combination, and I have the veteran winning a title this week.
2014 ATP Eastbourne, ‘s-Hertogenbosch Previews & Picks Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
It’s the week before Wimbledon and many players are choosing to make their final preparations for the next slam in the pair of 250 grass court tournaments this week.
ATP World Tour 250
Eastbourne, Great Britain
June 16-June 21, 2014
Prize Money: € 503,185
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Richard Gasquet (14)
2: Alex Dolgopolov (19)
3: Feliciano Lopez (29)
4: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (31)
It is the week before Wimbledon, so not the strongest field in Eastbourne, but the tournament should be competitive.
First Round matchups to watch:
Donald Young vs. (WC)James Ward
This is the only match of interest in round 1 that I see. Young comes off a successful string of play on clay, including a third round French Open appearance, and he will look to improve his relatively poor record on grass in Eastbourne. He faces the Brit wild card Ward who has had some success on grass, and they have never met before. It should be a close match and a good warm-up for Young.
Top seed Richard Gasquet is struggling and is perhaps carrying a shoulder injury into this tournament. He could quite possibly fall to Bernard Tomic in his first match and the draw would open up from there.
Gasquet comes off an opening match loss in Halle and Tomic showed some renewed play in Queens with a round 1 win and a 3 set loss in round 2. Tomic beat Gasquet at Wimbledon last year in 4 tight sets, though Gasquet is 4-0 in matches on other surfaces and crushed Tomic (even while not healthy) at the French a couple of weeks ago. Tomic must beat Andrey Golubev first, I might add, and one of those three players will face Young/Ward or Martin Klizan/Federico Delbonis in the quarters. Delbonis is a clay courter and Klizan has a very poor record on grass, but he appears to be in form as he had a strong clay court season.
Young or Ward have a great chance at the quarterfinals or better. Klizan beat Tomic on clay last month
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is another in-form player who is beginning his grass court campaign this season at a tournament where he is a former finalist. GGL will face Denis Istomin or Mikhail Kukushkin in round 2, and neither player looks overly imposing, so I’m tipping GGL vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a competitive quarterfinal. ERV won a couple of rounds in Queens and after a qualifier, he will face Jarkko Nieminen/Santiago Giraldo in round 2. Nieminen retired in his last match and Giraldo is sort of an unreliable player right now. He beat ERV on hard courts two years ago, but I don’t think that result matters that much. As for the predicted quarterfinal, GGL won a 10-8 fifth set against ERV at Wimbledon 2 years ago, but ERV beat him at the Aussie open this year (and GGL has two probably unimportant wins on clay as well), so it should be close and I’m leaning towards ERV to reach the semis.
Alex Dolgopolov will face Sam Querrey or Kyle Edmund in his first match. Dolgo gave a walkover in his last match in Queens and may not be entirely together.
I feel Querrey has a nice chance at the quarterfinals here. Dolgopolov leads the h2h 2-1 between them in all hard court meetings.
Dolgo/Querrey could face defending finalist Gilles Simon in the quarters or perhaps Julien Benneteau, who was upset in the opening round of Queens, or Yen-Hsun Lu, who reached the quarterfinals in Halle but gave a walkover in his last match. Simon plays a qualifier and then Benneteau/Lu. Gilles showed some renewed form at the French, unlike he has all season really and I like him as a semifinalist here.
Current Queens finalist Feliciano Lopez is the defending champ here in Eastbourne. If he doesn’t pull out because of fatigue, he will face Dan Evans or a qualifier in his first match. Should he not be exhausted, expect him in the quarters against one of Ivo Karlovic/Jeremy Chardy/Carlos Berlocq/qualifier. Karlovic lost in round 2 in Halle, but he is a two-time champion here and has a 12-1 record overall.
Given the other choices, the semifinalist should come down to Lopez/Karlovic and how fatigued is Lopez. His form has looked great in Queens and he could get on a winning a streak.
Dark Horse: Bernard Tomic/Edouard Roger-Vasselin
I feel one of these two players will be the finalist here from the top half of the draw: Tomic can play very well on grass but he’s horribly inconsistent, while ERV has a lower ceiling for peak play, but is less likely to see his game entirely collapse. In three head to head meetings, all on grass amazingly, Tomic has won twice and ERV has won once, the last meeting coming in 2011. Either one of them is a dark horse to take the title regardless.
Roger-Vasselin d. Tomic
Karlovic d. Simon
I just went over ERV-Tomic. While I like Karlovic by a hair over Simon (because he won a h2h grass meeting in 2007 between the two and also won their most recent meeting in 2011), I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Simon made the final again, but Ivo is who I’m picking.
Karlovic d. Roger-Vasselin
Ivo beat ERV in Newport last year and has a 2-1 overall h2h lead. The final could go either way, but I like the big serving Croat as a titlist this week.
ATP World Tour 250
‘s-Hertogenboch, the Netherlands
June 15-June 21, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: David Ferrer (7)
2: Fernando Verdasco (23)
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (28)
4: Marcel Granollers (30)
Holland just annihilated the Spanish in the World Cup and local celebrations cannot be sitting well with the four top seeds here, all Spanish players.
First Round matchups to watch:
Nicolas Mahut vs. (WC)Kimmer Coppejans
Defending champion Nicolas Mahut could have trouble against young Belgian wild card Kimmer Coppejans, who is untested on grass. Mahut comes off a round 2 loss in Queens that was close and though I still think he will prevail, this match is a good opportunity for Coppejans to show his mettle.
Kenny De Schepper vs Steve Johnson
Johnson leads the h2h 2-0 and their last meeting at the Le Gosier challenger, the final of it in fact, was a crazy 3 setter that ended with a 7-2 final set tiebreak. De Schepper is 4-2 on grass this year, Johnson is 3-2, as both players have shown they can do well on the surface, albeit with different styles. This match is a toss-up to me, but I’ll go with the rising and much improved Johnson to ride his forehand to victory over the big serving Frenchman for the third time.
Two time Den Bosch champion David Ferrer faces a qualifier in round 1 and then a qualifier or Alejandro Gonzalez in round 2. Ferrer should be safe for the quarterfinals against one of Igor Sijsling/Thiemo De Bakker/Bradley Klahn/Dmitry Tursunov. He should watch out for Tursunov as the Russian vanquished him twice last season in their only meetings.
Sijsling is also a bit of a home threat here, but given Tursunov just beat him in Queens I like Tursunov over Klahn and Sijsling over De Bakker and then Tursunov over Sijsling as the path to the quarterfinals. Ferrer to avenge his Tursunov defeats last year is my pick for semifinalist out of this section.
Marcel Granollers is not a good grass court player, but Benjamin Becker, a former champion here, has lost five straight matches and is in terrible form right now. Granollers should get through to round 2 to face Dudi Sela or Benoit Paire, both of whom are also struggling: Paire 2-6 since coming back from injury and Sela 2-8 since Indian Wells. One of these four out-of-form players will be able to win two matches and reach the quarterfinals as a much needed boost for their morale and ranking.
Strapped to a chair, I’d take Granollers by a hair.
One of Granollers/Becker/Sela/Paire will face one of Lukas Rosol/JL Struff/Dusan Lajovic/Vasek Pospisil in the quarters. Rosol is just starting his grass campaign. Struff was poor in Halle. Lajovic took a set off an in form Feliciano Lopez. Though Pospisil finally broke his post-AO losing streak, he was poor in his very next match.
I like Rosol to get through all the way to the semifinals from the top half.
Fernando Verdasco, who has had some success on grass, will face Paul-Henri Mathieu, who gave Andy Murray a competitive run in Queens. Dasco dominates PHM in the h2h, so he should be through to face either Jesse Huta Galung or Aleksandr Nedovyesov. Nedo is struggling, so I think JHG will be willed to victory by the home fans and Verdasco will reach the quarterfinals.
Verdasco should also be safe for the semis as his possible opponents are not overly imposing: Jurgen Melzer is struggling a bit and faces current and surprise Halle finalist Alejandro Falla, who will probably be gassed after playing so much in Halle, and then the winner gets Victor Hanescu or a qualifier.
The qualifier has a good chance for the quarters.
Bautista Agut will face his countryman Daniel Gimeno Traver and then the struggling Matt Ebden or a qualifier. Look for RBA to get a real test in the quarters against Mahut/Coppejans or Johnson/De Schepper. I like RBA vs Mahut. The h2h is split, with all of their meetings coming on indoor hard on the challenger tour.
Given this is grass, I tip towards Mahut a bit to reach the semis.
Dark Horse: Lukas Rosol
The in-form Czech I have making the semis. His match with Ferrer will be tough. Ferrer beat him twice last year and leads the h2h 3-0, so he probably comes up short from there, but I expect him to have a good showing this week.
Ferrer d. Rosol
Verdasco d. Mahut
I just broke down Ferrer-Rosol and Verdasco is 3-0 career against Mahut including a win on grass, so it should be an all-Spanish final.
Ferrer d. Verdasco
A super-weird h2h between a pair with no grass court meetings. Ferrer got a win on clay last year and is on a 5 match winning streak in the rivalry, but going back to 2010 Verdasco had winning streaks of as many as three straight matches in the rivalry with a whole bunch of meetings on clay. Down to the wire, I like Ferrer in 3 sets in the final.
Qualifier Mahut Wins 1st Career Title at 31 in s’Hertogenbosch, Lopez Wins Eastbourne
Qualifier Nicolas Mahut blitzed through both qualifying and the main draw to win his first career ATP title in the Netherlands. #240 Mahut beat Stan Wawrinka in the final 6-3, 6-4, and at the age of 31, surprised a whole lot of fans and pundits. In his post-match interview, he mentioned that just six months ago he wasn’t sure if he would play professionally again. He now his has his first title in three tries.
Mahut also beat Ricardas Berankis, Andrey Kuznetsov, Evgeny Donskoy and Xaiver Malisse in the main draw, while Wawrinka beat Steve Darcis (who replaced Igor Sijsling as a lucky loser), Paolo Lorenzi, Jeremy Chardy and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau beat Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich to take the doubles title.
Feliciano Lopez toppled Gilles Simon 7-6, 6-7, 6-0 and at the age of 31 wins his 3rd career title and his first title in 3 years. Lopez, who was also a finalist in Memphis, beat Jarkko Nieminen, Juan Monaco, Fernando Verdasco and Ivan Dodig before Simon. Simon, in his first final of the year, beat Kyle Edmund, Bernard Tomic, and Andreas Seppi.
Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares beat Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray to take the doubles title.
2013 ATP Eastbourne, ‘s-Hertogenbosch Previews Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The final grass court tune-ups before Wimbledon will be the joint event in Eastbourne and Den Bosch in the Netherlands.
June 17-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €468,460
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Milos Raonic
2: Gilles Simon
3: Philipp Kohlschreiber
4: Juan Monaco
A stronger field brings 4 of the top 20 and a seed cutoff overall of 31.
First round matchups to watch:
Jarkko Nieminen vs. Feliciano Lopez
Nieminen comes off a 2nd round loss at Queen’s club while Lopez lost in the 3rd round of the same event. The h2h is 6-2 in favor of the man from Finland and thus this match should favor him, but the style clash makes it a quality one to watch. Nieminen beat Lopez at Wimbledon last year in their only grass court meeting.
Bernard Tomic vs. (wc)James Ward
Tomic continues to struggle, as expected, having lost 4 straight and 5 of his last 6 matches. Still, this is a surface on which he excels. Ward is a likeable journeyman ranked outside the top 200 who lost a heartbreak 3 set match to Ivan Dodig in the opening round of Queen’s club, an event which also found him the recipient of a wild card. Tomic is far and above the better player, but with his personal circumstances, Wardy will have a shot at an upset.
Milos Raonic will look to recover from a crushing loss to Gael Monfils in Halle, a match in which he played some of his worst tennis in a long time. He opens with Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig, and the winner will get one of Fabio Fognini, Grega Zemlja, Martin Klizan or Viktor Troicki.
Juan Monaco will have the task of playing the Lopez/Nieminen winner and if he were to prevail he will get Alex Dolgopolov, Fernando Verdasco, Albert Ramos or a qualifier.
Gilles Simon will play wild card Kyle Edmund or a qualifier, then most likely Kevin Anderson (if Big Kev can beat Julian Benneteau and Tomic/Ward).
Halle quarterfinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber will play Radek Stepanek or Marinko Matosevic then a pair of qualifiers, Paul-Henri Mathieu or Andreas Seppi in a tailor-made section for the German.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
Lopez is one of the better grass court players, and if he can get past Nieminen he has a very open draw with the clay courter Monaco and then either Verdasco or Dolgo being the likely quarterfinal opponent. In the semis, Raonic or someone else is perfectly beatable and at least in theory he could win the whole tournament.
Lopez d. Raonic
Kohlschreiber d. Anderson
Lopez beat Raonic in their only meeting and Raonic isn’t playing that well. He simply has no one in his draw line to stop him early.
Kohlschreiber disappointingly only made the quarters in Halle, but he is still good on grass with nobody to stop him draw-wise. Anderson is having a good year and should get through his draw, but I’ll give the edge to Peppo since they have never played each other.
Kohlschreiber d. Lopez
The h2h actually favors Lopez 4-2, but Kohlschreiber seems to be the better player these days, and thus edge to him.
ATP World Tour 250
June 16-June 22, 2013
Prize money: €410,200
Top 8 seeds
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: John Isner
4: Benoit Paire
5: Jeremy Chardy
6: Marcos Baghdatis
7: Victor Hanescu
8: Daniel Gimeno-Traver
50 is the seed cutoff in a tournament without byes and 2 of the top 20 are here.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)David Ferrer vs. Xaiver Malisse
Ferrer has won Den Bosch twice and of course comes off his first ever slam final in Paris. He gets bad fortunes as the top seed in that he has to face Malisse, who is good on grass and pushed Del Potro to 3 sets at Queen’s club before losing. The h2h is 2-2 but they haven’t played in 3 years and never on grass. Ferrer is probably still the favorite but Malisse has to have some magic left.
(3)John Isner vs. Evgeny Donskoy
Isner and Donskoy will meet for the first time and it will be the only grass tune-up for either before Wimbledon. Donskoy is a solid ball striker who is on the rise, while Isner has had a roller coaster year but overall has disappointed. Isner should be a favorite on the fast surface but it could go 3 sets.
(4)Benoit Paire vs. Michael Llodra
Paire comes off a 2nd round loss to Denis Kudla at Queen’s Club while Llodra withdrew from his 2nd round match at the same event. This match is not only notable for the clash of styles on grass between the serve and volleyer Llodra and the drop shotter Paire, but also for the tension between these 2 players. When they met this year in Miami, Llodra taunted Paire, and Paire countered by firing verbal obscenities at his countryman. According to reports of the non-televised match, there was also a physical altercation that had to be broken up by the umpire and Paire said after, “I won’t ever talk to him again,” “He tried everything to upset me while I was dominating the game. He insulted me.” How this match will develop should be interesting.
(2) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Igor Sijsling
Wawrinka is playing Den Bosch for the first time since 2005, while Sijsling comes off the 3rd round at Queen’s club. They have never met before and both players are on hot streaks overall. Wawrinka is of course in the top 10, and Sijsling is at a career high of 60. Wawrinka will have a slight edge but I wouldn’t put an upset past Sijsling in his home tournament.
The Ferrer/Malisse winner will play Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Rendy Lu, then could face Marcos Baghdatis/Carlos Berlocq, a qualifier, or Roberto Bautista Agut,
Isner/Donskoy will face Leo Mayer or Robin Haase and then it will be a qualifier, Ricardas Berankis, Andrey Kuznetsov or Dani Gimeno-Traver in what is a rather porous section.
Wawrinka/Sijsling will take on Thiemo De Bakker or Paolo Lorenzi and then one of Jeremy Chardy, Marius Copil, Rogerio Dutra Silva or a qualifier in a section from which the seeds should escape.
Paire/Llodra will play a qualifier or David Goffin and then Victor Hanescu/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Daniel Brands/Jesse Huta Galung.
Dark Horse: Michael Llodra
This tournament is hard to pick without qualifiers placed, because it really is the type of event where a qualifier could make a deep run given the lower ranks of the players and a whole lot of guys who are uncomfortable on grass. That being said, of the main draw players, Llodra, if he isn’t injured, could very well make a deep run. If he can get past Paire, he gets D Goff or a qualifier and then probably Daniel Brands or even Huta Galung in the quarters. All winnable. In the semis, both Wawrinka or Sijsling are beatable and even in the final, Ferrer/Malisse/Baghdatis/Isner are all beatable.
Ferrer d. Isner
Llodra d. Sijsling
Ferrer should be able to cruise to the semis unless Baghdatis can catch fire. Isner really has nobody to stop him as well. Llodra, if uninjured, is dangerous and I think Sijsling upsets Wawrinka and wins from there.
Ferrer d. Llodra
Ferrer should make it the hat trick. He is 3-0 career against Llodra and beat Llodra last year in Paris on indoor carpet.
2012 Unicef Open, Eastbourne ATP Recap
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Top seed David Ferrer smashed and served his way to a title in Den Bosch today, beating Pierre Luc-Duclos, Leonardo Mayer, sizzling Igor Sijsling, Benoit Paire and surprise finalist/qualifier Philipp Petzschner. Ferrer beat him in the final, 6-3 6-4.
Petzschner beat Dimitry Tursunov, Mate Pavic, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Xaiver Malisse to reach the final. Paire beat seeded player Lukasz Kubot, while Malisse beat 2 seed Viktor Troicki.
Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau won the doubles title over Juan Cabal and Dmitry Tursunov.
Andy Roddick shocked nearly everyone and rekindled his mojo to take the title in Eastbourne over Andreas Seppi, 6-3 6-2. Roddick held his own against Sam Querrey, Jeremy Chardy, Fabio Fognini and Steve Darcis en route to the final and gave fans glimpses of his former top 10 self.
Seppi did well for himself in beating Carlos Berlocq, Phillip Kohlschreiber by retirement and surprise semi-finalist Ryan Harrison to reach the final. Darcis beat Aussies Matt Ebden and Marinko Matosevic to reach the semis. Matosevic had knocked off top seed Richard Gasquet.
The “Flemchins”, Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, took the doubles title on home soil over fellow Brit duo Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski.