2017 ATP Istanbul Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The third year in a row the ATP has a tournament in Istanbul on clay, here is your preview with predictions for Turkey’s only ATP tournament.
TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open
ATP World Tour 250
May 1-7, 2017
Prize Money: €439,005
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Milos Raonic (6)
2: Marin Cilic (8)
3: Diego Schwartzman (34)
4: Paolo Lorenzi (38)
Istanbul has a solid top 2 but it drops off from there into the parity of the ATP’s top 40.
First round matchups to watch:
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Karen Khachanov
Basilashvili leads Khachanov 2-1 in the h2h but on clay the Russian will be favored. A quarterfinalist in Barcelona, Khachanov’s form is also slightly better, although Basilashvili has had a great season overall. Both of these players are rising, and this is an interesting test as to who is the better player right now.
Damir Dzumhur vs. (Q)Stefanos Tsitsipas
Greek young gun Tsitispas will get his third shot at a maiden ATP main draw win against Dzumhur who is in average form at best. Tsitsipas came through qualifying, and he has enough of a game to win this, Dzumhur can be a tough customer but I’ll back the young gun to get it done.
A winner of sixteen of his last seventeen matches, Aljaz Bedene should ease past Marton Fucsovics and then get a big match with top seed Milos Raonic. Raonic, 11-2 this year, hasn’t played since Miami, but is usually competitive on clay, although not elite. Presuming Raonic is healthy he should put away Budapest finalist Bedene and then defeat Rogerio Dutra Silva in the quarters. RDS opens with Riccardo Bellotti and neither Radu Albo or Bernard Tomic, one of whom will await in round 2, are great on clay or in good form. Raonic has a pretty easy path to the semis excluding Bedene.
Budapest semifinalist Laslo Djere should beat Daniel Brands before falling to Paolo Lorenzi, who is 9-6 on clay this year and makes his living grinding away in 250’s like this. Marcos Baghdatis is not great on clay, and Viktor Troicki should win his round 1 match against a fellow veteran and then beat the winner Basilashvili/Khachanov winner. Lorenzi is the favorite to reach the semis in this section.
Marin Cilic has struggled this year but on clay he should be good enough to reach the quarters past Tsitsipas or Dzumhur. Cilic should then run into Jiri Vesely, as Vesely is the clear favorite over Marcel Granollers, and the winner of Steve Darcis/Dudi Sela. Vesely will have a punchers chance against Cilic, but Marin is the veteran favorite for a reason.
Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Diego Schwartzman, the defending champion, looks set to defeat either qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras or young gun Jordan Thompson, then edge past Borna Coric in the quarters, presuming Coric defeats Dusan Lajovic and Mikhail Youzhny or local favorite Cem Ilkel. It’s a tough call between DSS and Coric, but I back Schwartzman’s form barely right now.
Dark Horse: Jiri Vesely
If Cilic puts up another poor performance Vesely should be the player to take advantage, he has a great shot to reach at least the semifinals, and could perhaps take this title. The Czech has underperformed in his young career after entering the main tour with promise, but it’s not too late to turn that around.
Raonic d. Lorenzi
Cilic d. Schwartzman
The top 2 seeds should be favorites over dirtballing specialists in the semifinals.
Cilic d. Raonic
On clay I give Cilic the slightest edge to take this title.