ATP Hamburg: Preview and Predictions

It always takes me a few days to get over Wimbledon as it marks the end of my favourite stretch of the tennis calendar.  It felt a good time to take a week off from blogging although I couldn’t help myself following the live scores! The two things I took away from last week; the courts in Newport are beautifully odd and Alexander Zverev, who lost a tight first round match to Lukas Rosol in Stuttgart, is a very talented prospect and a player to keep an eye on in the next few years.  There are two ATP tournaments next week in Hamburg and Bogota.  This preview focuses on the ATP 500 event Hamburg…

Updates to Moo’s Tennis Blog: I’ve updated a few sections of the site following Wimbledon.  The “Tournament Experiences” page has been updated with my reports from Eastbourne and Wimbledon.  The “2014 Predictions Archive” is also up-to-date and includes my Wimbledon predictions, which on the whole, were reasonably respectable.  I haven’t had a great year so far although I just do it for fun.  All my predictions from 2014 are available for your viewing pleasure.  As ever, your predictions are always encouraged so if you have some thoughts about the Hamburg draws will pan out, please do leave a comment 🙂

Ferrer

David Ferrer headlines the Hamburg draw after accepting a late wildcard.  The Spaniard suffered a surprising quarter-final defeat to Carlos Berlocq in Bastad last week.  In 2014, Ferrer has had some great wins including two Grand Slam quarter-final appearances.  However his performances at the these type of events has not been as convincing.  Back in 2012, Ferrer was sweeping up titles left, right and centre with seven to his name.  So far in 2014, he has won just one title in Buenos Aires.  His consistency can be judged by some of the players he has lost to in 2014. As well as losing to Berlocq in Bastad, he has come up second best against the likes of Daniel Brands, Yen-Hsun Lu, Teymuraz Gabashvili and Andrey Kuznetsov, all players you would never expect someone of Ferrer’s quality to be losing too.  His first match in Hamburg will be against Mikhail Kukushkin or a qualifier and the first seed he could meet in the third round is Andreas Seppi.

If Ferrer were to reach the quarter-finals, his opponent is likely to be a Spaniard.  Fernando Verdasco and Roberto Bautista Agut are the two seeds, who are joined by Pablo Andujar and Pablo Carreno Busta (who plays Dustin Brown for the second consecutive week).  Verdasco and Bautista Agut both had solid weeks in Bastad and Stuttgart respectively; Verdasco reached the semi-finals of Bastad losing to Pablo Cuevas, meanwhile Bautista Agut made the final in Stuttgart.  The pair could meet in the third round of Hamburg, which would be an interesting match-up.  Their H2H currently stands at 1-1.  I’d expect Ferrer to have a better week, but I would fancy the winner of this section to take out Ferrer in the quarters.  It’s always a challenge to determine whether a player who goes deep in one draw wil be able to sustain that form and energy into the next week.  Fognini proved it can be done at this time last year  and i’d like Bautista Agut’s chances of having another solid week in Hamburg.

The second quarter features Alexandr Dolgopolov, MIkhail Youzhny, Santiago Giraldo and Federico Delbonis as seeds.  Apart from reaching the final in Rio earlier this year, Dolgopolov’s best results have been away from the clay.  After a brilliant start to the year, his form has tailed off.  He could meet Jerzy Janowicz in the second round, who continues to slump in 2014.  In the third round, Dolgo is projected to meet Delbonis.  The Argentine had a wonderful run to the final in Hamburg last year, beating Tommy Robredo, Fernando Verdasco and an ailing Roger Federer.  He came incredibly close to winning the title having match points, but eventually losing out to Fabio Fognini in an exciting final, 4-6 7-6(8) 6-2.  Delbonis can truly be described as a clay court GOAT as he is yet to win a match on any surface other than clay in 2014.  His record on clay should present him a reasonable chance of causing an upset against Dolgo in the third round, assuming both make it that far with Delbonis set to play Tobias Kamke or Jarkko Nieminen in his first match.

Philipp Kohlschreiber, an ever present figure in most ATP draws this year, joins Tommy Robredo as one of the top eight seeds in the third quarter.  Both players will be looking to rebound after a pair of lacklustre losses in ATP action last week; Robredo lost to the world number 282, Renzo Olivo in his first match in Bastad, meanwhile Kohlschreiber was ousted in the second round by eventual finalist, Lukas Rosol.  Robredo opens his campaign in Hamburg to Teymuraz Gabashvili or a qualifier and Kohlschreiber will play Albert Montanes or a qualifier.   These clay court draws are always prone to disintegrating so watch out for the likes of Martin Klizan, Gilles Simon and Joao Sousa to stop Kohlschreiber and Robredo in their tracks.

The final quarter features Fabio Fognini and Marcel Granollers.  It was at this stage of the season last year where Fognini went on an absolute tear, winning 13 straight matches, which featured title runs in Stuttgart and Hamburg before running out of steam in the final of Umag.  Fognini is never a safe person to back with his rapidly increasing likelihood of going completely off the rails in matches.  In a tournament of this calibre, you would still favour him as one of the most likely contenders to be the champion at the end of the week.  In his first match, Fognini will play Jan-Lennard Struff or a qualifier.

The most interesting first round match features two of the talented up-and-comers, Dominic Thiem and Jiri Vesely.  Thiem struggled to find his game during the grass court season, but should be more at home on clay where he has enjoyed his best results this year.  This included a victory over Stan Wawrinka in Madrid and a run to the third round in Barcelona.  In both those events, he came through qualifying.  Vesely hasn’t received nearly as much attention but is an equally talented prospect.  He reached his first ATP main draw semi-final in Dusseldorf earlier this year.  The pair have played once in a Futures event in 2012, which Vesely won, 6-4 6-4.  This time round it would be incredibly close to call, but i’d give the edge to Thiem.

1st Round Predictions: Monaco d. Riba in 2 tight sets, Carreno Busta d. Brown in 2 tight sets, Nieminen d. Kamke in 2 sets, Paire d. Golubev in 3 sets, Haase d. Zverev in 3 sets, Klizan d. Sijsling in 2 sets, Rosol d. Reister in 2 sets, Thiem d. Vesely in 3 sets, Mayer d. Gojowczyk in 3 sets and Lajovic d. De Schepper in 2 sets

Quarter-Final Predictions: Ferrer v Bautista Agut, Delbonis v Giraldo, Kohlschreiber v Sousa and Thiem v Fognini

Fognini

Moo’s Final Prediction: Fognini d. Giraldo

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