Albert Montanes won a round in Bastad last week, and the Spanish veteran looks set to oust Austrian clay specialist Gerald Melzer, who has stalled in his development as a player this year in some ways. The aging Montanes could have a good tournament.
(7)Inigo Cervantes vs. (Q)Daniel Gimeno-Traver
DGT qualified and has been in solid form over recent weeks. Cervantes likewise has been playing well and this should be a competitive, and technically sound clay court match. It’s hard to predict a winner, but a fresher Cervantes likely has a slight edge.
Top seed Dominic Thiem is a heavy favorite, nearly retired wild card Jurgen Melzer, or Taro Daniel should fall to him in round 2, with Cervantes or Montanes set to do the same in the quarterfinals.
Roberto Carballes Baena and Paolo Lorenzi will contest a quarterfinal spot. RCB just has to defeat wild card Dennis Novak in round 1. With Lorenzi slightly better this season on clay, I have him advancing from the quarterfinals after defeating a struggling J.L. Struff. Struff is seeded, and faces wild card Akira Santillan in round 1. The 19 year old Santillan was born in Japan and appears to have a bright future ahead as he makes his ATP debut, although he’s sharper on faster surfaces compared to clay. Both Michael Berrer and Daniel Munoz De La Nava are in terrible form, so Struff likely wins in round 2 as well.
Philipp Kohlschreiber, the defending champion, could use some good mojo. Kohlschreiber was a quarterfinalist in Hamburg and should have no problem defeating either Karen Khachanov or qualifier Filippo Volandri in round 2. Facundo Bagnis or Dusan Lajovic should be his quarterfinal opponent. Lajovic played Davis Cup, although he’s been struggling recently, and Rogerio Dutra Silva his round 1 opponent hasn’t been playing well either. Bastad quarterfinalist Bagnis should defeat Mischa Zverev and Lajovic, before falling to Kohlschreiber.
Spanish veteran Marcel Granollers looks to be a near lock for the semis based on how his draw sets up. Granollers will face the lower ranked qualifier Maximo Gonzalez or Adam Pavlasek in round 2, with likely Lukas Rosol to follow in the quarters. Rosol hasn’t been playing well, although Nikoloz Basilashvili, and either Igor Sijsling or Kenny de Schepper are weaker opponents on clay than he is. De Schepper and Sijsling play power tennis, but poorer than Rosol does, while on clay, Granollers has a clear edge.
The Swedish home favorite will face the battling Spanish veteran in a match that could go either way. Both have had shown decent form at the challenger level, but have been poor in ATP play. I favor Ymer, a rising talent, because he’s playing at home.
David Ferrer is the top seed. After facing a qualifier, he should get either Aljaz Bedene or Dustin Brown in a routine quarterfinal matchup. Bedene opens with wild card Isak Arvidsson, while Brown faces a struggling Daniel Munoz De La Nava. Given this is clay, Ferrer over Bedene is my pick. Although Ferrer struggled at Wimbledon, he’s set to improve on clay against this weak Bastad field.
Albert Ramos, an RG quarterfinalist, looks set to reach the quarterfinals, although Roberto Carballes Baena could trouble him in round 2, presuming he defeats Michael Berrer in round 1. Both are dirtballers, though Ramos has a better resume. Karen Khachanov/Evgeny Donskoy and Andrea Arnaboldi/Marco Trungelliti are also in this section for the quarterfinals. Based off recent challenger form, Trungelliti over Khachanov in round 2 is my pick before Ramos beats one of them for the semifinal spot.
A decent clay courter, Joao Sousa should defeat either Swedish wild card Fred Simonsson or Carl Soderlund to reach the quarterfinals. Horacio Zeballos is likely to be opposite him at that stage, as Zeballos opens with Taro Daniel, with Gastao Elias or a qualifier in round 2. Zeballos just won the Bastad challenger and is in good form, thus I have him reaching the quarterfinals, but falling to Sousa to fatigue at that stage.
The Montanes/Ymer winner will face Fernando Verdasco or a qualifier, with Verdasco favored to win that match and end up opposite Facundo Bagnis or Marcel Granollers in the quarterfinals. Bagnis will need to defeat a struggling Jurgen Zopp in round 1. I have Granollers over Verdasco, after he defeats Bagnis. The Spaniard has been in better recent form than his countryman, and Verdasco could even lose to Montanes or Ymer in round 2.
Given his recent success in Bastad’s challenger, he could get through his section and upset Sousa, the weakest top 4 seed on clay, to reach the semifinals. The Argentine has shown flashes of talent and promise, but has failed to cement himself as a regular on the ATP tour through the years.
Ferrer d. Ramos
Granollers d. Sousa
Ramos has never defeated Ferrer, while Sousa has a win over Granollers this year on clay, but I feel Marcel is the stronger player at the moment, this pair have a heated history.
Ferrer d. Granollers
Despite Ferrer’s recent poor play, he’s still the tournament favorite for this small 250. He desperately needs some confidence boosting wins.
2016 ATP Istanbul Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The third ATP tournament this week is a clay 250 in Istanbul, Turkey. This tournament is in the second year of its existence, and is one of the few tournaments in the Middle East.
TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open
ATP World Tour 250
April 25-May 1st, 2016
Prize Money: €426,530
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Bernard Tomic (21)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (28)
3: Ivo Karlovic (29)
4: Federico Delbonis (40)
This is the weakest ATP tournament this week with two of the top four seeds likely to exit early.
First round matchups to watch:
Facundo Bagnis vs. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman
Schwartzman leads the h2h with Bagnis 2-1, and it’s a battle of rising Argentines. Bagnis has a quarterfinal in Casablanca on his recent record, while DSS has just one win in his last five matches. I favor Bagnis to prevail in a tough battle.
Bernard Tomic is the top seed, but he’s terrible on clay and I have him losing to either DSS or Bagnis in the second round. Current Bucharest finalist Lucas Pouille has to play Monday in Romania, and then travel to Istanbul to face Illya Marchenko. He should win that match and continue his good form, but I have Damir Dzumhur beating Teymuraz Gabashvili, and then Pouille, for a spot in the quarterfinals, due to fatigue for Pouille. Dzumhur isn’t a great player, but Gabashvili is in poor form, and Bagnis is my semifinalist from an open first section.
Federico Delbonis is 10-5 on clay this season and just made the semis in Bucharest, after taking the title in Casablanca. Delbonis will open with Dudi Sela, or qualifier Andrey Rublev in round 2. Rublev is better on clay than Sela, but Delbonis has the edge to reach the quarterfinals. Albert Ramos isn’t in great form, but he’s better on clay than Adrian Mannarino, he’ll have a tough match wild card Karen Khachanov in round 2, after Khachanov defeats Aljaz Bedene. Given it’s clay, I have Delbonis defeating Ramos for a semifinal spot.
Grigor Dimitrov is the most talented player in this field, and he should roll to the quarterfinals, with a win over Filip Krajinovic, or qualifier Adrian Ungur. Jiri Vesely is 5-2 in recent clay court matches, and stands in the way of Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. Vesely opens with Thiemo De Bakker, with Roberto Carballes Baena, or wild card Marsel Ilhan to follow. Dimitrov beat Vesely on clay last year, and thus I have him reaching the semifinals of a tournament for the third time this season.
Ivo Karlovic is 0-6 on the season and thus I have qualifier Renzo Olivo defeating Dusan Lajovic, and then Karlovic for a quarterfinal spot. Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Marcel Granollers should defeat local favorite Cem Ilkel and then qualifier Carlos Berlocq, or Hyeon Chung to reach the quarterfinals. I have Granollers showing his veteran talent to reach the semis over Olivo.
Aljaz Bedene, Lukas Rosol Move To Paris Masters Main Draw Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic Embed from Getty Images
The tenth and final Masters tournament of 2015 will get underway on Monday at the BNP Paribas Masters Open, held at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. The tournament will be a golden opportunity for the lower ranked players to end their season on a high note as they prepare for their off-season.
24 players participated in the qualifying tournament for six places in the main draw. Leading the seeds was Great Britain’s Aljaz Bedene. Bedene is currently at a career ranking high of 48th in the world and has claimed three Challenger titles this year. In his opening match, Bedene faced French wild card Gregoire Barrere. The 21-year-old won his second Futures title in September, first since 2013. Despite there being almost 200 places between the two players, Barrere put up a spirited fight before losing 7-6 (2), 7-6( 2), to the Brit. The reward for Bedene was a mouthwatering clash with Jerzy Janowicz. Janowicz defeated Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in three sets in the first round (7-5, 3-6, 6-3).
It was at the Paris Masters where Janowicz had his breakthrough tournament where as a qualifier he defeated five top 20 players to reach the final of the 2012 tournament before losing to David Ferrer. The Polish player failed to reproduce his sensational run this year as Bedene defeated the 24-year-old 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-5. Janowicz had two chances in the final game of the match to force proceedings into a deciding tiebreak but failed to convert either as Bedene held his nerve to progress to the main draw.
Spanish 11th seed Marcel Granollers overcame a duo of French players to reach his sixth Paris Masters main draw. After dismissing wild card Quentin Halys in straight sets (6-4, 6-4), he set up a showdown against Kenny de Schepper. Schepper eased into the final round after second seed Donald Young retired early in the second set. Young was playing a day after his quarterfinal loss to Jack Sock at the Swiss Indoors in Basel. In the final clash Granollers edged past Schepper 6-4, 6-4 after an hour and 44 minutes. The Spaniard fended off three break points throughout the match and converted 2/11 break points.
Rosol (photo credit: Marc Imperatori)
Czech world No.69 Lukas Rosol caused an upset on his way into the main draw. The 30-year-old is yet to win a title this year and currently has a main draw win-loss this season of 19-29. Rosol started his qualifying campaign with a straightforward 6-3, 6-3, win against Moldova’s Radu Albot. In the final round he played 3rd seed Teymuraz Gabashvili, the Russian defeated Inigo Cervantes in straight sets in his first match. The Czech was forced to come from a set down to stun Gabashvili 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7). In the crucial tiebreak, Rosol squandered three match point opportunities before he was successful with his fourth.
Pablo Carreno Busta dropped 11 games in two matches during his qualifying campaign. During his first match, the world No.70 recovered from a 1-3 deficit in the second set to defeat 35-year-old German, Michael Berrer, in straight sets (6-2, 7-5). Carreno Busta avoided a final clash with Argentine 4th seed Federico Delbonis after he suffered a tough three-set loss to America’s Rajeev Ram. Earlier this year Ram claimed his second ATP title in July at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport. After a tight opening set, the 31-year-old was blown away by Carreno busta ,6-4, 6-0, in just 58 minutes. This year the 24-year-old Spaniard has won two Challenger titles in Poznan and Perugia.
Out of the five home players participating in the draw, only one managed to grab back-to-back wins. Edouard Roger-Vasselin staged a epic comeback to upset Ukrainian 8th seed Sergiy Stakhovsky in his first match. The Frenchman trailed 4-6, 0-3, before clawing his way back in the second set on route to grabbing the seemingly unlikely victory (4-6, 6-4, 6-3). The next test for Roger-Vasselin was Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Struff knocked out 5th seed Robin Haase in his first match. After losing a close first set tiebreak, the world No.150 won 12 out of 15 games to win 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1. The 31-year-old has enjoyed greater success on the doubles tour this year by winning three ATP titles.
Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic completes the line-up of qualifiers. Lajovic, who was unseeded in the qualifying draw, defeated 12th seed Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the first round – 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-2. The win was sweet revenge for the Serbian after he suffered a straight sets loss to the Spanish player in their previous meeting at the 2013 Buenos Aires Open. In his final qualifying match he faces France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Mathieu was originally awarded a wildcard into the main draw but refused. The Frenchman refused because he was afraid of compromising his place in the Australian Open next year. If he lost in the first round, he would of got zero points and lose 10 points. In contrast, if he played in the qualifying rounds, a win would give him 16 points which would cement his place in the main draw of the Australian Open.
The Frenchman grabbed the 16 points after beating 6th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Mathieu’s run was swiftly ended in the final round by Lajovic after the Serbian took the match 6-3, 6-3 to move into the main draw. The 25-year-old has so far only won one main draw match in a Masters tournament, which was in the first round of the 2014 Miami Masters.
The main draw matches
(Q) Edouard Roger-Vasselin – Ivo Karlovic ~ Karlovic has played Roger-Vasselin three times before, winning two of them. Their last meeting was at the 2013 Hall of Fame Championships where the Frenchman won in straight sets.
(Q) Lukas Rosol – Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ~ This is the third meeting between the two players this year. Garcia-Lopez has won both of them in straight sets.
(Q) – Pablo Carreno-Busta – Grigor Dimitrov – Dimitrov has won their two previous encounters in straight sets. Their last meeting was in the first round of the 2014 Madrid Masters where the Bulgarian won 6-2, 6-4.
(Q) Marcel Granollers – (Q) Aljaz Bedene ~ This will be their second meeting. Last year in the first round of the Argentina Open, Granollers won in three sets.
(Q) Dusan Lajovic – (WC) Nicolas Mahut ~ first meeting
2015 ATP Hamburg and ATP Gstaad Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2015 ATP clay court season continues with a 500 series event in Hamburg, Germany, and a 250 in Switzerland as many of the top European players are still battling away on the red clay, even as tennis action in America shifts to hard courts.
2015 ATP Hamburg Preview
Bet-At-Home Open German Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 500
July 27-August 2, 2015
Prize Money: €1,285,955
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Rafael Nadal (10)
2: Tommy Robredo (21)
3: Roberto Bautista Agut (23)
4: Andreas Seppi (26)
Nadal headlines a field that is dotted with Spanish players, 11 out of the 32 man singles field in total. Perhaps this tournament should be renamed the “Spanish tennis championships”.
First round matchups to watch:
(1)Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
Nadal dominates the h2h record but these two left handed Spaniards have played some great matches against each other, and this one could be of top-class as well. Verdasco has in fact won the last two meetings, including a win this year in Miami over Rafa, but he’s a rather pedestrian 8-7 on clay this year. Nadal struggled at Wimbledon again, and overall is having a rough season, but he’s still 21-6 on clay and I’d presume focused and fit for Hamburg, thus I give him the edge to win this one.
(3)Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Borna Coric
A rematch of their match just a couple of days ago in Umag, RBA won that one 6-3 6-3 and the Umag semifinalist should be the favorite here, but Coric is a talented young gun who is improving and learning day by day on tour. Both these guys are great shotmakers when in form and this match could be close, I don’t see Coric flipping the script, you never know.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Benoit Paire
Kohli beat the Bastad champion Paire on clay this year in Barcelona and he comes off the quarterfinals in Umag, thus his clay court form seems to be alright. Paire, who has a talented backhand just like Kohli, just won his first ATP title in Bastad, and given that he’s notorious for having a lack of consistency and commitment, he may well be wiped out for Hamburg, giving Kohlschreiber the edge.
(2)Tommy Robredo vs. (WC)Alex Zverev
The 18 year old Zverev just lost to the veteran Robredo in the Bastad semis but she scored three solid wins there and really seems to enjoy playing in Hamburg, where he had a shocking run deep into the week last year. Robredo, a former Hamburg champion, showed good form in Bastad, but the veteran has been notoriously shaky from week to week this year, and I wouldn’t put it past Zverev to learn from his loss and best his veteran rival just a few days later.
Given this is clay, even a struggling Nadal likely has a clear path to the semifinals. He’ll face the winner of Andreas Haider-Maurer/Jiri Vesely after FerVer, AHM may well be injured while Vesely isn’t in great form and likely doesn’t have the game to deal with Rafa’s topspin. In the quarters Bastad semifinalist Pablo Cuevas likely awaits.
Cuevas will open with struggling young gun Diego Schwartzman, and then gets JerzyJanowicz (who beat qualifier Taro Daniel on Monday) in round 2. JJ i just 3-5 on clay this year, but two of those wins have come in the past two weeks, so his form may be improving, still Cuevas is an accomplished clay courter who tends to have consistency on the surface. Cuevas and Rafa played a three setter in Rio back in the spring, it was close for two sets but then Nadal put up a bagel in the third, and he likely will break his opponents resistance this time too.
Andreas Seppi looked awful in Umag, and thus the #4 seed is actually an underdog against Martin Klizan who won a round there. Klizan has a big game, but he’s streaky, while Seppi lacks a lot of weaponry, but can frustrate opponents when his game is clicking. You never know how it will go with Klizan, but if he wins Florian Mayer awaits, as the funky hitting German veteran slipped past fellow veteran Albert Montanes Monday. Mayer is just 4-9 on clay this year and hasn’t been great since returning from injury, thus Klizan has the edge to reach the quarters.
The section below Klizan/Seppi is rather weak as Lukas Rosol faces off with Simone Bolelli, while veteran Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will face 18 year old wild card Jaume Munar, who played doubles with Nadal this tournament. Rosol is 6-8 on clay in 2015, and tends to have streaky form while the shotmaker Bolelli is slightly better on the surface, but likewise hasn’t caught fire as of late. Bolelli likely beats Rosol while the 32 year old GGL should beat Munar, who isn’t quite ready for the ATP main stage. It’s hard to pick a winner between Bolelli/GGL, but GGL has a better record on clay this season, and thus gets the edge. Klizan beat GGL in Rio on clay last year, and in this section that is up for grabs I have him reaching the semis in what would be a promising result. He has a semifinal in Barcelona and a title in Casablanca on his 2015 record.
Robredo/Zverev will face Paire/Kohlschreiber, and from that I have Kohlschreiber reaching the quarters as fatigue should factor on Paire and Robredo, while Kohli has home soil advantage. 2012 champion Juan Monaco is a strong favorite to reach the quarterfinals above that section, Pico, 13-10 on clay in 2015, opens with the continually lost and struggling Ernests Gulbis, who to his credit did win a match in Bastad, a rare sight for him this season. After that Monaco will face Lucas Pouille, who beat Inigo Cervantes on Monday. The young gun Frenchman Pouille has plenty of talent but struggles with consistency, he could reach the quarters as well, but a Monaco vs. Kohlschreiber quarter seems like the safest prediction. Kohlschreiber is 2-1 against Monaco and with his superior form should be able to survive an interesting section and reach the semis.
RBA/Coric will face Aljaz Bedene or veteran Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Bedene appears to be in reasonably good form, while DGT does not, and thus RBA over Bedene should be the second round result, unless Coric spoils proceedings. #8 seed and 2013 champion Fabio Fognini, an Umag quarterfinalist, opens with Jeremy Chardy, who he is 4-0 in the h2h against, and then unless he collapses, will face Albert Ramos round 2, after Ramos scored a minor upset over his countryman Nicolas Almagro on Monday. Fognini is 6-0 against Ramos, and thus the Italian should reach the quarterfinals and perhaps beyond this week.
Fognini is 2-1 on clay against RBA and both seem to be in decent form, Fognini has always had the talent but mentally he tends to float, and thus I have RBA reaching the semis in another difficult match to predict.
Zverev, Klizan, and Coric are all non-seeds who could have excellent weeks in Hamburg, but the home player Kohlschreiber should reach the semis based on the draw. He has clay court ability, veteran experience, and hopefully good form and could reach the final based on what happens in the RBA/Fognini section.
Semis: Nadal d. Klizan Bautista Agut d. Kohlschreiber
Presuming no hiccups for Nadal he’s clearly the favorite given his level on clay is above the rest of the field, Klizan shocked him in Beijing last fall,but that as on hard courts, and Nadal still owns a 2-1 h2h advantage, peak Klizan with his power can bother Rafa, but I don’t see that happening on clay, likewise RBA and Kohli have a close record, but RBA’s form should see him through to an all-Spanish final.
Final: Nadal d. Bautista Agut
Nadal beat RBA in Madrid last year, and generally RBA lacks the big game needed to beat the top 10 level players in key moments. Rafa has struggled this season, but he’s still long term the greatest clay courter of all time, and it takes a special effort to beat him. What’s interesting is both of my picks could lose in the first round, or at least have their toughest matches at that stage. Nadal should win his second ATP Hamburg title.
Swiss Open Gstaad
ATP World Tour 250
July 27-August 2, 2015
Prize Money: €439,405
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: David Goffin (14)
2: Feliciano Lopez (18)
3: Dominic Thiem (24)
4: Pablo Andujar (35)
Two top 20 players in Gstaad as it’s a pretty solid field for a 250.
First round matchups to watch:
Robin Haase vs. Marcel Granollers
Haase comes off of a challenger semifinal and tends to play well in Switzerland, that said he’s just 2-4 on ATP clay this year (10-3 below that level) and he’ll be facing off with Spanish veteran Marcel Granollers, who owns a 2-1 h2h record against him. Granollers dropped to 6-7 in ATP main draw clay court matches this year with an opening round loss in Umag, and if Haase can keep his mental game together he should beat the loud Spanish grunter and advance to round 2.
Top seeded Belgian David Goffin has what should be a clear path to the quarterfinals as his round 2 opponent is Argentine veteran Horacio Zeballos. Zeballos got past young gun Andrey Rublev in round 1 but he lost to Goffin at Wimbledon (though clay is his best surface) and given the difference in ranking and talent, D Goff is a strong favorite, even after an opening match loss to eventual Bastad champ Benoit Paire.
Joao Sousa is likely to be Goffin’s quarterfinal opponent, the Umag finalist comes off of a fantastic week in Croatia, and the Portugese #1 has now reached two clay court finals in 2015 (Geneva and Umag). Fatigue could play a factor, but the battling baseliner will face journeyman Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen in round 1, which hould be an easy match, and then Bastad quarterfinalist Denis Istomin awaits. Istomin already scored a round 1 win over Maxime Teixeira and is in good form, but Sousa has a h2h win against him this year, and likely has the advantage on clay. Goffin is 2-1 against Sousa in the h2h and should be fresher, thus I have the undersized ball striker reaching the semis.
Defending champion Pablo Andujar’s toughest early match towards defending his title is likely to come in the quarterfinals against Thomaz Bellucci. Andujar faces Dusan Lajovic first, after Lajovic beat qualifier Calvin Hemery in round 1 and he should move his 11-8 clay court mark in 2015 to 12-8 before facing Bellucci. Bellucci, a two time Gstaad champion, opens with the struggling Kimmer Coppejans after reaching the Bastad quarterfinals. After Coppejans he should breeze past Stephane Robert or Joao Souza, his countryman, both of whom are relative journeymen.
I have Bellucci getting past Andujar and into the semis, as he’s 4-1 on clay in the head to head, and the big hitting Spaniard appears to be in better form, along with the fact he loves Gstaad.
#2 seed and newlywed Feliciano Lopez, who hasn’t been particularly hot this season (just 7-7 on clay with 1 ATP final in Quito boosting those stats), will face Blaz Kavcic or Julian Reister in round 2. Reister qualified with ease while Kavcic tends to struggle on clay, thus Lopez over Reister is the likely round 2 result. The serve and volleying Spaniard still has enough game to beat the journeyman German.
A struggling Santiago Giraldo (11-11 on clay in 2015) will face veteran Paolo Lorenzi in round 1, presuming he still has enough big game hitting to win that he could get an interesting match with Andrey Kuznetsov, who comes off of a clay court challenger final, in round 2. Kuznetsov will need to recover quickly from that final and beat Marsel Ilhan first, and I wouldn’t put reaching the quarterfinals past him, but if fatigue is a factor, a Giraldo vs. Lopez quarterfinal is the most likely outcome, even with both players not in the best of form.
Lopez has a 2-0 h2h against Giraldo though they have never met on clay (Lopez’s worst surface and Giraldo’s best), and it could go either way but Lopez probably slices and serves into the semis.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, the young gun champion of Umag, has a weak section he could feast on and make another deep run, but he may have trouble recovering and Federico Delbonis, his first opponent, could take advantage. Delbonis just defeated Marco Chiudinelli, Thiem is the better player, and I have him reaching the quarters, but we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in. Haase/Granollers could face him in the quarters, or Pablo Carreno Busta, who should dispatch the slumping Mikhail Youzhny in round 1. PCB, like Haase, has been in good form on challenger tour clay, and he has a h2h win over the Dutchman, thus I have a Thiem vs. PCB quarterfinal and PCB advancing (1-1 h2h on clay) due to Thiem’s fatigue.
Haase has a weak section and could break through over Granollers/PCB, then take advantage of Thiem’s fatigue to reach the semis. He’s had success at 250s like this before, and has the talent, but as always it’s his mental game that matters.
Semis: Bellucci d. Goffin
Lopez d. Carreno Busta
Bellucci’s power should bother Goffin and he appears to be in solid form, along with his previous success at this tournament. Lopez is simply a better player compared to PCB, but it’s clay so he may not do well.
Final: Bellucci d. Lopez
Bellucci and Lopez have a split h2h overall, but given record and form, look for the Brazilian to win his second ATP title of the season, he also won Geneva.
A pair of clay courters contested the final clay court ATP final of the year, and it would be the Spaniard, Marcel Granollers who would take it 0-6, 7-6, 6-3. Monaco got off to a totally dominant start, as the scoreline would indicate, and he looked comfortable in the first two sets just before the tiebreak. Things began to unravel though, and Granollers would take the tiebreak, then break in Set 3 and finish things off for his 4th career ATP title and first since 2011.
Monaco will improve his ranking but drops to 8-10 overall in career ATP finals, along with moving to 1-1 in finals this year. Monaco beat Andreas Haider-Maurer, Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Albert Montanes to reach the final, while Granollers took out Mate Pavic, Horacio Zeballos, Leo Mayer and Robin Haase. Haase gave it a good go, but couldn’t three-peat in Kitz, suffering a three set semifinal loss. He did beat Fernando Verdasco along the way.
Martin Emmrich and Christopher Kas took the doubles title over Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy.
A shout out to the Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem, who beat Andrey Kuznetsov and Jurgen Melzer to reach the quarterfinals. The 19 year old is closing in on the top 200 and and has spent most of his time this year at the futures level.