Veterans Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and David Ferrer Feature at ATP Eastbourne Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP Eastbourne 250 is the final warm up before Wimbledon. Here is your look at all the UK grass court action.
Look for Diego Schwartzman to start the tournament off well defeating Roberto Quiroz or Lukas Lacko. Cam Norrie or Daniel Brands should be his quarterfinal opponent with Brands facing Norrie first up, and Jay Clarke or Ryan Harrison to follow. I’ll back Brands to have a strong tournament, the former ATP regular is building his ranking back and has been good on grass this year. Look for Brands over Schwartzman in the quarters.
Gilles Muller or Gilles Simon look to be another of the semifinalists. Muller opens with John Millman while Simon will take on Leonardo Mayer. I’ll back Muller to find form on grass and defeat Millman, Simon and Andreas Seppi, who should defeat Denis Istomin and Marco Cecchinato to reach the quarters.
Kyle Edmund will face off with Stan Wawrinka or Andy Murray in an engaging round 2 matchup. Murray should get past Wawrinka in his second UK comeback match, but I’ll back Edmund to win their round 2 matchup and then I’d expect Alex De Minaur to be the one to emerge from this section. De Minaur is in fantastic form and should defeat Mikhail Kukushkin, Matteo Berrettini or David Ferrer, and Edmund/Murray to reach the semis.
Taylor Fritz vs Denis Shapovalov looks like a great next gen battle in round 2. Fritz should defeat Jared Donaldson to set that up, with Shapovalov winning and reaching the quarters opposite Daniil Medvedev. The Russian should beat Steve Johnson, and Nicolas Jarry or Mischa Zverev to emerge from the section and then beat Shapovalov at that stage.
Stan Wawrinka The Star at ATP Sofia 2018 Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Here is your look at the 2018 Diema Xtra Sofia Open, an ATP 250 indoor hard court tournament in Bulgaria, one of the few ATP tour stops in Eastern Europe.
Despite struggling on his return to the tour from injury in Melbourne, Stan Wawrinka is very much the man in Sofia. Wawrinka, presuming he’s fit, should be able to fire past wild card Alexander Donski or a qualifier, and then Denis Istomin/Viktor Troicki in the quarters (wild card Adrian Andreev and a qualifier are also options).
Max Marterer reached the third round in Melbourne, Malek Jaziri and Joao Sousa/Dimitar Kuzmanov isn’t the easiest path, but I’ll still back him to reach the quarters opposite his countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber. Kohli takes on Sergiy Stakhovsky or a qualifier in round 2 after struggling to start the season. Marterer over Kohlschreiber is my upset pick for the tournament.
A couple of Davis Cup participants could reprise their matchup in the semifinals if things go according to plan. Adrian Mannarino takes on Marcos Baghdatis or Mikhail Kukushkin, who also played DC this weekend. From there he would face either Evgeny Donskoy or Lukas Lacko in the quarters. I have Lacko beating Donskoy and Radu Albot/qualifier before falling to Mannarino.
Robin Haase fell to Mannarino in the Davis Cup on the weekend, he faces Marius Copil, Blaz Kavcic/Laslo Djere will follow. He should reach the quarters but I’ll back Gilles Muller to beat Andreas Seppi/Mikhail Youzhny and Haase to reach the semis.
Muller has a great shot to take the title, but Wawrinka is the best player in the field, even at 80% of his abilities. Presuming he’s gotten enough practice in since losing in Melbourne, Wawrinka is the favorite.
2017 ATP Washington Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The only 500 level tournament in the United States, the Citi Open, is back for edition #49. Here is your full preview with predictions, as Tennis Atlantic will have on-site coverage all week from the nation’s capital.
Citi Open ATP World Tour 500* July 31-August 6, 2017 Washington D.C., USA Surface: Hard Prize Money: $1,750,080
*denotes joint ATP/WTA tournament
Top 8 seeds (top 16 seeds receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Dominic Thiem (7)
2: Kei Nishikori (9)
3: Milos Raonic (10)
4: Grigor Dimitrov (11)
5: Alexander Zverev (8)
6: Gael Monfils (22)
7: Lucas Pouille (17)
8: Jack Sock (19)
Washington has attracted three top 10 players on the men’s side, and a solid group of top 20 seeds.
Dominic Thiem is back in North America, and as the top seed he has a weight on his shoulders in Washington. The Austrian should slip past Vasek Pospisil or Henri Laaksonen and then defeat Kevin Anderson in round 3. Anderson played well at Wimbledon, and will need to defeat either Malek Jaziri or Alessandro Bega to reach the third round. Anderson’s serve makes him a threat, but Thiem has a better all-around game.
Mischa Zverev hasn’t been in great form this year but should be better than either Ramkumar Ramanathan or a struggling Guido Pella. Gael Monfils should show his range against Yuki Bhambri or Stefan Kozlov, before putting away the serve and volleyer Zverev with his superior movement in the third round.
Milos Raonic looks safe against either Nicolas Mahut or Thomas Fabbiano, given both players are struggling. Atlanta finalist Ryan Harrison should be up in round 3. Harrison needs only to defeat a struggling Marcos Baghdatis, or ATP main draw debutante Edan Leshem. Given Harrison should be fatigued, Raonic is the favorite to reach the quarterfinals.
John Isner and Jack Sock look to be on a collision course in round 3. Sock opens with Sekou Bangoura or Marius Copil and should win that. Isner has won eight matches in a row, and if he can overcome a possible knee issue, he should defeat Dudi Sela or Jared Donaldson. I’ll go with Sock over Isner given the fatigue factor, Sock really could use a win against Isner to boost his confidence this Summer heading into the US Open.
Despite somewhat disappointing results this year, Kei Nishikori remains one of the most talented players in men’s tennis, and should defeat either Donald Young or Tim Smyczek in round 2. Juan Martin Del Potro awaits in round 3, Del Potro is a solid player, but he’s still a shell of the player he once was, and Nishikori is the favorite to reach the quarterfinals. Del Potro faces Alexios Halebian or Lukas Lacko in round 2.
Look for the in-form Gilles Muller, a semifinalist in Atlanta, to make a run at the Citi Open. Muller begins against Mitchell Krueger or Dmitry Tursunov, who hasn’t won a match this year. Lucas Pouille will be up in round 3, Pouille will face Atlanta quarterfinalist Tommy Paul, or another young gun, Casper Ruud, who has been struggling a bit, and tends to prefer clay. Pouille is credible on hard courts, but Muller should win if the court is fast enough.
The two remaining sections of the draw are pretty stacked. Grigor Dimitrov is 17-4 on hard courts this year, Atlanta semifinalist Kyle Edmund is likely up in round 2, unless Hyeon Chung spoils things. Dimitrov should be better than Edmund. Talented young Russian Daniil Medvedev should beat big serving American Reilly Opelka, I have Steve Johnson reaching the third round with a win over Medvedev, before falling to Dimitrov.
Alexander Zverev should have an edge against Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios hasn’t been healthy, but he should beat Go Soeda or Tennys Sandgren. Both Ruben Bemelmans and Jordan Thompson are in great form, but Zverev played well enough during the grass court season that he should safely reach round 3, and then defeat Kyrgios, who I doubt is 100%.
Dark Horse: Daniil Medvedev
If Medvedev can find form against Johnson and Dimitrov he could well make his breakout in North America. The Russian has had a fantastic season and he’s primed to be a much bigger name than he is right now on the ATP tour.
Quarters Thiem d. Monfils
Raonic d. Sock
Dimitrov d. Zverev
Nishikori d. Muller
Dimitrov vs. Zverev is the hardest matchup to pick, but I like Dimitrov’s form, the big seeds Raonic, Thiem, and Nishikori should be set to make the semis.
Semis Raonic d. Thiem
Nishikori d. Dimitrov
On hard courts Raonic’s serve is a formidable weapon, Nishikori should be able to rise to the occasion against Dimitrov or Zverev, before falling to the big serving Raonic in the final. Milos could use a title heading into the US Open.
John Isner is one match away from winning his second tournament in as many weeks, as he dominated Gilles Muller 6-4 6-2 in the first of two BB&T Atlanta Open singles semifinals for 2017. Muller was poor on return and Isner was much improved from the quarterfinals. Isner fired 15 aces, Muller posted just 8, and was broken three times, while Isner saved all four break points he faced. Muller hadn’t been broken all week but after he didn’t break early on, he was broken in the first set, and then twice more in the second set to hand Isner the match. Both players are typically strong servers, but this match did produce chances on return, chances that only Isner aggressively pounced on.
It was a much closer match on Saturday night as Ryan Harrison edged Kyle Edmund 6-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours. Their groundstroke centric semifinal produced one of the matches of the tournament, as Harrison’s edge on first serve points (winning 84%) was the key advantage. Harrison only faced three break points in the match, and was only broken once, Edmund was broken three times. The British player snatched the first set from a break down, taking a tiebreak that saw five mini breaks in total, three of them going in favor of Edmund. Harrison kept his head up in set 2, breaking early on after saving a break point in the opening game of the set. It was one way traffic in set 2 from 3-1, as Edmund was taken into a third set. In the third set Edmund was under pressure throughout, he faced three break points at 1-1, saving them all, but finally buckled to lose his service game at 4-4. Harrison would then serve the match out, continuing his good form on hard courts this year, and his renewed focus.
In the final Harrison will be facing Isner for the seventh time in their careers. Harrison won their last meeting in 2016 at the Rogers Cup, that was a close three setter. Isner leads the h2h 5-2, but Harrison leads 2-1 on hard courts, which should give him plenty of confidence. Isner has won seven matches in a row, and fourteen straight sets. He’s 3-3 in his career in Atlanta finals, and is seeking his fourth title in one of his two “home” tournaments in the USA. Harrison is playing in just his second career ATP final, he the title in Memphis final year as an ATP tournament earlier this season. Unless Harrison serves lights out, Isner should be the favorite in the final, whether it gets to a tiebreak or not.
The Bryan Brothers will face Koolhof/Sitak in the doubles final, after Koolhof/Sitak beat Raja/Sharan and the Bryans beat Millman/Ratiwatana. Both matches were completed in straight sets. The Bryans will be heavy favorites in the doubles final, even though their form has declined with age.
Both Gilles Muller and John Isner continued their good form in recent weeks and eased into the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Friday. Muller defeated Tommy Paul in just over an hour. The American was overmatched by Muller’s serve as Gilles fired 16 aces in a 6-3 6-1 victory. Muller saved all four break points he faced, and beyond a strong serve, he moved forward on return games as well breaking Paul four times. Paul had a chance to break early in the first set, but lost confidence thereafter. In the second set, Muller broke early and reeled off five straight games from 2-1 up in the second set.
Isner defeated Lukas Lacko 7-5 6-4. Lacko was outclassed by Isner’s high bouncing serve, his positioning on return was poor, and even though he did have a shot to break Isner once in the first set, he failed to take it, and finally Isner got a breakthrough in the first. The second set was close, but Isner broke and held in consecutive games from 4-4 to secure the match. Given the number of games played it was over rather quickly, and Lacko was meek in defeat. Isner fired 13 aces, and won almost 80% of his points on serve. Against Muller he’ll need to considerably improve his return game though.
Ryan Harrison and Kyle Edmund will square off in the other singles semifinal. Chris Eubanks seemed exhausted, as Harrison defeated him 6-1 6-2. Eubanks had 10 double faults, and faced twelve break points in the match, while generating none. Even though he fought hard, the college player was clearly fighting in vain as Harrison dominated proceedings and showed his style. Harrison won the first five games of the match, and Eubanks never found his way back into things.
Despite having fan support, top seed Jack Sock was out of sorts in the late match on Friday night, and Edmund prevailed 6-4 6-1. Unlike the matches earlier in the day, rallies featured more prominently than serves. Edmund only faced one break point in the match though, and that was in a close first set. Sock went up a break 4-3, but lost his momentum due to a health incident with a fan in the stands, and prior to that a short rain delay. Edmund got it back to 4-4, and then won the next two games to take the set. The second set was one way traffic from 1-1, Edmund won five straight games and finished off Sock quickly, never letting him get back into things. Edmund had been bothered by a shoulder issue in the first set, but after the trainer worked on him his groundstrokes were sharper than before.
Young American Tommy Paul had only one ATP level match win in his career prior to the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open, and already he’s reached his maiden quarterfinal on tour. The 20 year old continued his great season overall defeating tour veteran Malek Jaziri 6-7 6-4 6-3, as he wore down Jaziri despite creating few chances to break serve until the final set. Jaziri’s shotmaking prevailed early, Paul was broken out of the gate, and although he got the match back to 4-4, he would lose the ensuing first set tiebreak from 5-5. In the second set it was dead even until Jaziri slipped up and got broken at 3-3. Paul would serve out the second set without incident, and force a decider. At this point, the heat was causing Jaziri to struggle physically. The younger player, Paul had a fitness edge, and although Jaziri went up a break 3-1 and looked on his way to victory, Jaziri imploded from there, losing five straight games and with it the match, as the Tunisian’s body failed him. Paul capping off a great comeback as the underdog.
Joining Paul in the quarterfinals as an underdog is Lukas Lacko. If Lacko reaches the semifinals he’ll have more ATP wins than he’s had in the last two seasons combined. Lacko got to face Donald Young in round 2, and Young struggled in his home tournament again, crashing out in an hour of play 6-3 6-1. Young generated no break points and lost service games every time he went down a break point. It was a comprehensive performance from Lacko, and a debacle from Young.
Gilles Muller and John Isner setup a battle of big servers. Muller won the afternoon match against Quentin Halys 6-4 6-7 6-3. After breaking in the opening service game, the net broke, and there was a delay in the match. The in-form Muller saved two break points after resumption at 4-3 in the 1st, and then went on to take the set, as Halys never recovered that early break. In the second set both players took advantage of the fast, high bouncing court, there was routine service games, and then a second set tiebreak where Muller imploded on serve, and Halys force a third set. Muller got back focused in the third though, he didn’t waste time, breaking Halys to go up 3-1, he didn’t face a break point on his serve in the third, and although he missed one more shot at a break of serve, he still took the match 6-3 in the third.
John Isner won the last singles match of the day, comfortable on the Atlanta Open courts, and on a winning streak, he eased past Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-4. Pospisil was atrocious on return, and after going down a break early in the first set, he seemed resigned to dropping the opening set. Isner lost just one point on serve in that first frame. In the second set, Isner would lost just three points on his serve, and never face a break point. Pospisil, was under pressure twice on his serve, and was broken once, as the scoreline hid how far apart Isner and Pospisil were in terms of performance.
In doubles action the winners were Raja/Sharan in three sets over Gonzalez/Lipsky, Chung/Nedunchezhiyan over the Sock brothers, and Molteni/Shamasdin over Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus in three sets.
2017 ATP Atlanta Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Tennis Atlantic is happy to provide week long credentialed coverage of the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open, as ATP tennis again returns to the biggest city in the South.
BB&T Atlanta Open
ATP World Tour 250
July 24-30, 2017
Atlanta, GA, USA
Prize Money: $642,750
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Jack Sock (18)
2: John Isner (19)
3: Gilles Muller (22)
4: Ryan Harrison (49)
With so many Americans in the field, and three of the four top seeds Americans, it’s likely the BB&T Atlanta Open will produce another American champion.
Jack Sock has been great on hard courts this season and will be happy to return to the surface where his forehand can shine. Presuming a healthy Dudi Sela defeats Konstantin Kravchuk he should face off with Sock. Sock should overpower the Israeli battler to reach the quarters. Marcos Baghdatis serves a bit of a dark horse in this section of the draw, he could catch fire with his shotmaking, but Kyle Edmund is the favorite to defeat Baghdatis round 1. I’ll pick an in-form Peter Gojowczyk to defeat dirtballer Guido Pella, and Edmund before falling to Sock in the quarters.
It looks like Ryan Harrison‘s time to return to form in the second section of the draw. The athletic Frances Tiafoe isn’t in good enough form, even if he defeats John Millman, and although Jared Donaldson should beat Ernesto Escobedo, Harrison is the most accomplished player in this section for a reason. Young gun Taylor Fritz plays local favorite Chris Eubanks and could get knocked off, as he’s struggled this year on tour. Harrison over Donaldson is the pick for the quarters.
With three ATP Atlanta titles in his trophy case, and a new trophy from Newport all in the back of his mind, local favorite John Isner looks set to take out fellow big server Vasek Pospisil, and then Donald Young in the quarters. Young opens with Bjorn Fratangelo, Lukas Lacko and Thomas Fabbiano are also in this section, while Pospisil opens with Bjorn Fratangelo.
Fresh off his run at Wimbledon, Gilles Muller returns to the ATP tour as a favorite against either Stefan Kozlov or Quentin Halys, both young qualifiers. Look for the talented young gun Hyeon Chung to run past Tommy Paul, and either Malek Jaziri or big server Reilly Opelka to setup a big quarterfinal match. Muller’s serve and volley should be good enough to earn him the win.
Dark Horse: Hyeon Chung
Chung is quite talented, but hasn’t quite put all the pieces together yet. This tournament presents a great opportunity for him to make a big breakthrough, as he has a reasonable path to the final if he can return big servers well.
Semis Sock d. Harrison
Isner d. Muller
In what should be an all-American final, America’s two best players should face off in the Atlanta final. Isner loves playing in Atlanta and should be able to keep up his pace from Newport to get another title.
Pouille and Muller Claim Second ATP Titles of the Season Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
A great comeback for Frenchman Lucas Pouille secured his second ATP title of the season, the first final of the 2017 grass court season was decided 4-6 7-6 6-4, as Pouille was pushed to the limit in the second set tiebreak, and after taking that, battled hard in the third to break Lopez’s effective grass court serve and volley and hold his own serve to secure the title. Pouille barely got out of his opening match, winning close second and third set tiebreaks and saving a match point to defeat J.L. Struff, he went on to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber and Benoit Paire in close matches, showing his mental toughness this week.
Lopez chip and charge helped him reach his first tour final of the season, the Spaniard, happy to be on grass, got past Gilles Simon, Jeremy Chardy, Tomas Berdych, and Mischa Zverev, all of those matches going three sets except for his contest against Simon as the Mercedes Cup featured a lot of close matches this week.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic to take the doubles title.
34 year old Gilles Muller continued his best season on tour, winning a second title this year 7-6 7-6 in narrow fashion over fellow big server Ivo Karlovic at the Ricoh Open. Muller won tiebreaks this week against Andreas Seppi and Alexander Zverev, also winning in three sets against Aljaz Bedene to reach the final as his serve and volley game was lethal on grass.
Karlovic, 38, reached his first final this season, the veteran upset Marin Cilic in three sets in the semifinals, Daniil Medvedev and Stefan Kozlov were his other victims on the week, as both players will be difficult early round opponents at Wimbledon.
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo continued the trend of veteran success in Rosmalen as they defeated Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram.
2017 ATP Stuttgart and Rosmalen Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2017 ATP grass court season starts this week with two European tour stops that are on the 250 level of the tour. Clay season is over, so get ready for fast paced action on the green grass of Stuttgart and Den Bosch.
ATP World Tour 250
June 12-18, 2017
Prize Money: €630,785
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Roger Federer (5)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (12)
3: Tomas Berdych (14)
4: Lucas Pouille (16)
Stuttgart has a great field this week, highlighted by one of the best grass court players of all time, Roger Federer, along with a core group of solid tour players for a 250.
First round matchups to watch:
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs. (WC)Tommy Haas
A battle between solid grass court players, the 39 year old Haas has lost more than a step, but he’s a very crafty player at his age, and will give the big server Herbert plenty of trouble. Herbert has not been able to consistently compete at the tour level in singles, and Haas should get the win in his German homeland.
Florian Mayer vs. Jeremy Chardy
The unorthodox shotmaking of Mayer is a good fit for grass, and he’s the favorite in Germany against the higher ranked Chardy, who hits the ball hard and plays aggressively, but often racks up a high error count in the process. Mayer should find form and notch the win.
(7)Gilles Simon vs. Feliciano Lopez
Lopez has won both meetings these veterans have played on grass, Simon is in poor form, and Lopez, happy to be off of the slow, high bouncing clay, should be able to whip his serve in and advance forward enough to get the win and reach round 2.
Marcos Baghdatis vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Baghdatis has been in terrible form and hasn’t won a match since January, but he’s been good on grass against the German, who for his part has lost three straight matches and isn’t in the best form himself. Baghdatis badly needs this win, but in Germany, Kohlschreiber is a sensible favorite.
Roger Federer, the heavy favorite this tournament, will open his bid against the Haas/Herbert winner, look for Roger to tune up and get the win, before doing the same against serve and volleyer Mischa Zverev, who is happy to be off of clay, and should beat Malek Jaziri and either Yannick Hanfmann or Marton Fucsovics in round 2.
Tomas Berdych and Feliciano Lopez should contest the other quarterfinal in the top half, Lopez will face Mayer/Chardy in round 2, and should be the favorite in that match, if he defeats Simon. Berdych will get a dangerous contest against Bernard Tomic for his first match, presuming Tomic puts away the ageless Stephane Robert. Given Tomic’s awful form (four straight defeats), Berdych should make it to the quarters, where I have him knocking off Lopez to reach the semis. Berdych and Lopez have split the h2h 6-6.
Grigor Dimitrov will face Andrey Kuznetsov or Jerzy Janowicz in round 2, Janowicz is far removed from his success on grass, although he still has plenty of power. Kuznetsov has had a good season, but Dimitrov is a favorite in this section for a reason, having found a bit of form at Roland Garros. Viktor Troicki should beat Benoit Paire and Nikoloz Basilashvili/Peter Gojowczyk to reach the quarters. Dimitrov will be the favorite whether it’s Troicki or someone else in the quarters.
Lucas Pouille begins his tournament against either Jan-Lennard Struff or Lukas Lacko. Pouille isn’t perfect on grass by any measure but he should be good enough to reach the quarters before falling to Steve Johnson. The in-form American Johnson faces Max Marterer first up, then the Kohlschreiber/Baghdatis winner, a difficult but winnable path. Johnson’s game is built for fast surfaces.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
The unseeded Spaniard has every shot to at least make the quarters, and will have a punchers chance against Berdych. Federer is probably too much in the semis, but after a rough few months, Lopez could be back in winning form on grass.
Semis Federer d. Berdych
Dimitrov d. Johnson
Final Federer d. Dimitrov
Nothing suggests Federer will not win in Stuttgart, he should be fresh and focused, while Dimitrov looks to be solid enough to make the final with his all-court game.
ATP World Tour 250
S-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
June 12-18, 2017
Prize Money: €589,185
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Marin Cilic (7)
2: Alexander Zverev (10)
3: Ivo Karlovic (24)
4: Gilles Muller (28)
First round matchups to watch:
Yuichi Sugita vs. Janko Tipsarevic
Sugita has found form this year and just won a challenger on grass. Tipsarevic is a steady veteran who has a h2h win this matchup, but has yet to return to his tour level form. Fatigue may be an issue for Sugita, but it’s sensible that he’d be able to defeat Tipsarevic on grass.
(5)Steve Darcis vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
Two shotmaking specialists, Dolgo has a only won one out of three meetings against the Belgian veteran, but he’s still the favorite in this match. The serve and volleyer Darcis is my pick though, he’s had a great season and that should continue on grass.
Dustin Brown vs. (WC)Stefan Kozlov
Brown is a dangerous serve and volleyer and should teach the young Kozlov a thing or two on grass. Kozlov has the game to compete on this surface but he still has plenty to learn, and Brown should have too crisp of a performance to suffer a defeat in this one.
Mikhail Youzhny vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
The veteran Youzhny has a great history on grass, but at 34 his game has declined from its peak by a large margin. Kokkinakis is just getting his feet wet on tour after injury, he’s immensely talented but Youzhny should find a way to scrape through for a much needed win to further enhance his grass court record.
Jordan Thompson vs. Adrian Mannarino
Another battle between players who enjoy grass court tennis, Thompson comes off of a challenger final on the surface, and although Mannarino should challenge him, look for Thompson’s fast developing game to show out and get the win.
Marin Cilic is in good form after reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and should beat the Sugita/Tipsarevic winner, and then Darcis/Dolgopolov in the quarterfinals. Cilic didn’t drop a set in his Paris victories and looks setup to continue that trend on grass. The Darcis/Dolgopolov winner will face Vasek Pospisil or local wild card Tallon Griekspoor in round 2.
Ivo Karlovic‘s serve is a threat on grass, and he should defeat Brown/Kozlov, before facing Youzhny in the quarters. Youzhny faces Robin Haase or Daniil Medvedev in round 2 and has a winnable path to the quarters, although Haase is a competitive opponent. Karlovic should be solid enough to reach the semis on this surface.
11-6 in his career on grass, Alexander Zverev is a contender for this title, after breaking through on tour this season with a 27-10 record on the year. Zverev struggled at Roland Garros, but moving to grass may bring a refreshing change for him. Zverev should defeat Thompson/Mannarino to reach the quarters, Nicolas Mahut has won three Den Bosch titles and should defeat him there. Mahut opens with Dennis Novikov and then faces Rendy Lu/Evgeny Donskoy. Look for Mahut to show off his talents and reach at least the semifinals.
Gilles Muller also looks set for success, he’s had a great season and grass is perhaps his best surface. Muller should defeat Andreas Seppi/Tatsuma Ito, and then either Aljaz Bedene or Denis Istomin in the quarters. Rising young gun Hyeon Chung and improving American Ernesto Escobedo are also here in this section, and Chung could rise up and secure it. I have it Muller over Bedene, two players who have had good seasons, in the quarterfinals.
Dark Horse: Mikhail Youzhny
There are plenty of seeds with a shot at this title, but don’t count out Youzhny. The veteran still has enough game to find form for a week and take a title. In the very least, he should make the quarterfinals, with a good chance at beating Karlovic.
Semis Cilic d. Karlovic
Muller d. Mahut
Final Cilic d. Muller
Cilic should be the clear favorite to take the title this week. I’ll back Muller’s form over all of his opponents to make the final, and he could take the title as well.
Zverev Wins Emotional First Title in Germany, Cilic Finds Form in Istanbul Steen Kirby and Manuel Traquete, Tennis Atlantic
Alexander Zverev won his third career ATP title and his first in his home country of Germany, an emotional moment for the 20 year old who put his skills on display and thumped Guido Pella 6-4 6-3 in the final, dropping a set in just one of his four matches at the BMW Open this week. Zverev, one of the tournament favorites, beat Jeremy Chardy and Roberto Bautista Agut in a pair of close sets, and in the quarterfinals he needed three sets and a tiebreak to defeat countryman J.L. Struff. Zverev has had a great season thus far and could be challenging for the top 10 soon.
Pella, a 26 year old now 0-2 in ATP finals, is a clay specialist and came through qualifying defeating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Fabio Fognini, Horacio Zeballos, and Hyeon Chung to reach the final. Zeballos and Chung were three setters, as Chung came up just short of making it an all ATP next-gen final after upsetting Gael Monfils earlier in the tournament. Zeballos couldn’t outmuscle his countryman on clay.
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah teamed up for more success on clay beating Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the doubles final.
After struggling to start the year out, Marin Cilic moved to 6-1 on clay this year and helped protect his top 10 ranking with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Milos Raonic, who also found renewed form in Istanbul this week. Cilic now has 17 career titles and hasn’t dropped a set in his six wins on clay this season. In Istanbul he defeated Damir Dzumhur, Steve Darcis, and Diego Schwartzman in relatively easy fashion.
Raonic is 14-3 this year and reached his second final of the season after beating Aljaz Bedene, Bernard Tomic and Viktor Troicki, against Bedene he needed a third set tiebreak to prevail, but his level of tennis improved as the week went on, and he could serve as dark horse at Roland Garros.
Czech’s Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely won via a double bagel in the doubles final over Turkey’s Tuna Altuna and Italian Alessandro Motti, the most lopsided doubles final on tour this year.
Pablo Carreno Busta claimed his first ATP title on clay and his third overall ATP title, moving to 15-5 on clay this season with a routine 6-2 7-6 victory over surprise finalist Gilles Muller. PCB got ahead early and was never threatened, although Muller served better in the second set, Carreno Busta just nipping the tiebreak after beating three Spaniards this week to reach the final. Muller moves to 4-2 on clay this year and will look to keep the momentum up for his part.
Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus upset Tommy Robredo and David Marrero in straight sets to take the doubles final after a surprising week on clay.