Am I the only person wondering where the heck this clay court season has gone? Rome will wrap up today and there will be just one week left for players to fine tune their game before Roland Garros kicks off NEXT SUNDAY. I won’t be investing heavily in next week’s tournaments, but here are my predictions with a few thoughts. If I get some time, there will be a few alternative posts next week before the previews for Roland Garros, which should be out next Saturday….
Final Prediction: Kerber d. Garcia
Angelique Kerber has had a rough few weeks as she struggled with a back injury in Madrid and then lost in her first round match in Rome to Petra Cetkovska. Competing on home soil, she has a comfortable draw in Nurnberg, which should allow her to find some form. Caroline Garcia is one of the in-form players on tour right now so it is hard not to see her doing well again this week. She has a great draw and I believe she will go all the way to the final. In regards to first round matches, Belinda Bencic v Mona Barthel is the stand-out for me. I’m a fan of both players and fancy Bencic going deep into this draw.
Final Prediction: Cornet d. Petkovic
The one thing to take away from this draw is a first round match between Alize Cornet and Camila Giorgi, which should be delightful. The pair played an epic final in Katowice with Cornet winning, 7-6(3) 5-7 7-5 in three hours and 11 minutes. The winner of that match will be the favourite to come through and make the final. Clay is Cornet’s best surface and she is my tip for the title this week. The top half has a distinctly American feel to it and I like Madison Keys‘s chances this week. Her draw is excellent to the quarters with Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in R1 who has laboured since winning her first title in Marrakech and then potentially Alison Riske in R2, who she beat handily in Rome. She could then meet Sloane Stephens depending on what Sloane is going to do this week (no idea). Andrea Petkovic had tough draws in both Madrid and Rome. In Strasbourg, her draw is much more favourable and I believe she will reach the final.
Final Prediction: Isner d. Gulbis
I have gone for the top two seeds to make the final in Nice. John Isner is the top seed and is perhaps a surprising pick based on his recent form. However the big man, who is reasonable on the clay, often sweeps up well in these types of events. Ernests Gulbis has become much more consistent this year with a few wacko results for good measure. Dominic Thiem, who beat Stan Wawrinka in Madrid two weeks ago, is in the draw and should do well. He could play Gilles Simon in R2, who he defeated at Indian Wells earlier this year.
Final Prediction: Melzer d. Kohlschreiber
Dusseldorf has the weakest draw of the week and it’s rather hilarious that one of these players will actually win a title. There is just one top 30 player in Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has not been in the greatest form this year. Therefore, I have gone for a punt with Jurgen Melzer in a draw that is likely to develop cavernous openings. The Austrian player came back from injury in Monte-Carlo recently and has already earnt some decent results. He made the third round in both Barcelona and Rome, beating John Isner in the latter. He plays Pablo Carreno Busta in the most intriguing of the first rounders. It’s not an exciting draw by any stretch of the imagination.