The Race to London continues to heat up with two spaces up for grabs after Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic were officially confirmed as qualifiers last week. Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov are all still in the hunt and unsurprisingly, all four are playing next week. I’ll be concentrating on Singapore, but it’s likely i’ll get to watch more of the ATP action because of the time difference.
Basel has a super line-up with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal headlining this ATP 500 draw. Federer’s opening match in Basel will be against Gilles Muller. At Wimbledon, a second round match between the pair was heavily tipped to be one of Federer’s toughest match of the fortnight. In the end, Federer strolled past Muller, 6-3 7-5 6-3. Fed is on course for a quarter-final with Grigor Dimitrov, which would be delightful. After a patchy run of form stretching all the way back to Wimbledon, Dimitrov reached the final of Stockholm. There are a number of showcase first round matches and the one to watch from the first quarter will see Dimitrov take on the 17-year-old, Alexander Zverev. Since reaching the semi-finals of the ATP 500 event in Hamburg during the summer, Zverev’s best result was at the Challenger event in Mons where he beat Dustin Brown en route to the quarters.
Federer is projected to meet Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals. Stanley is on a wretched run of form having gone 0-2 in Asia. His most recent match in Shanghai saw him lose to the eventual finalist, Gilles Simon losing the last eight points in a 5-7 7-5 6-4 loss. His first rounder in Basel will be against Mikhail Kukushkin, who has had some excellent results of late, most notably reaching the semi-finals in Moscow. The third quarter is topped by Milos Raonic and David Goffin. Raonic suffered a surprising loss in Moscow to Ricardas Berankis. The Canadian world number 8 has been so solid of late, but it was a disappointing loss with so much up for grabs and London looming. Goffin will play Dominic Thiem in an exciting first rounder and a rematch from the final of Kitzbuhel earlier this year. Goffin won that match, 4-6 6-1 6-3. After compiling a sensational 25 match winning streak earlier in the year, Goffin is going for it again and has won his last 12 matches.
The final quarter features Rafael Nadal… i’ve got no idea what Rafa is doing with regards to his appendix. Obviously we don’t know the medical details, but it seems slightly odd that he is still continuing to persist in playing tournaments when the later he leaves surgery, the more it is going to impact into his preparation for 2015, which surely should be the priority? I assume with Basel, he has a huge appearance fee. Nadal’s first match of the week will be against a qualifier. Another intriguing first round match features Ernests Gulbis and Borna Coric; Coric recently won a Challenger title and has a fair shot at the upset.
I’m going with Rog against Raonic or Goffin in the final. I imagine Nadal will win a couple of matches, but he is not a title contender in his current health.
1st Round Predictions: Federer d. Muller in 2 tight sets, Janowicz d. Istomin in 3 sets, Pospisil d. Nieminen in 3 sets, Dimitrov d. Zverev in 2 sets, Wawrinka d. Kukushkin in 2 tight sets, Karlovic d. Rosol in 3 tight sets, Goffin d. Thiem in 2 sets, Raonic d. Johnson in 2 sets, Coric d. Gulbis in 3 sets
Final Prediction: Federer d. Goffin
In the hunt for London, David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych are all competing in Valencia. It will be interesting to see if any of them will suffer from fatigue having all reached a final in Stockholm or Vienna. Ferrer is the number one seed and opens against Andreas Seppi. His projected quarter-final opponent is Roberto Bautista Agut, who reached the final in Moscow. Ferrer could meet Andy Murray in the semi-finals, which would be the third time they have played each other in as many tournaments if both make it that far. Murray, coming off the back of a title in Vienna, opens against Jurgen Melzer. His first projected seed, Kevin Anderson has a tricky opener against Philipp Kohlscheiber, who reached the semi-finals in Vienna, pushing Ferrer to a third set tiebreak. Anderson has never recovered since a horrid loss to Grigor Dimitrov in Canada from match points up.
Gilles Simon is coming off the back of a sensational run to the final in Shanghai. His draw is great and he could quite easily make another final this week. In the first round he takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov, who has lost his last three matches on tour since returning from injury. Simon could meet Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals, who he defeated in the semi-finals of Shanghai. I think Simon’s toughest match could be in the second round against Jeremy Chardy. The Stockholm champion, Berdych bookends the draw and takes on Pablo Andujar in the first round. He is projected to meet John Isner in the quarter-finals, who he has beaten four times in a row and all in straight sets.
1st Round Predictions: Ferrer d. Seppi in 2 sets, Verdasco d. Mayer in 3 sets, Bautista Agut d. Giraldo in 3 sets, Murray d. Melzer in 2 sets, Klizan d. Kozlov in 3 sets, Kohlscreiber d. Anderson in 2 sets, Simon d. Dolgopolov in 2 sets, Granollers d. Carreno Busta in 2 sets, Isner d. Robredo in 3 sets, Lu d. Garcia-Lopez in 2 sets, Berdych d. Andujar in 2 sets
Final Prediction: Murray d. Simon
9 thoughts on “ATP Basel, Valencia: Preview and Predictions”
I’ll be interested to see how Federer fares this coming month. Three tournaments is a lot to ask and none of them look like easy competition.
I have read a rumour that Federer won’t play Paris.
Really? I read that he was definitely looking to play all three.
Djokovic recently said he’d miss the tournament depending on the baby, so Federer would be MAD to miss it.
Fed would much rather claim the tour finals title than the number one ranking for a few weeks. If he feels playing Paris will hinder his chances of doing that, he won’t play it simply to chase ranking points. Also of much greater importance is the Davis Cup final. He has a great chance of winning both of those events, and there’s no point jeopardising that just to say he was world number 1 for a bit longer than he otherwise would have been, as impressive as it might seem on paper.
That suits me fine because I’d like to see Djokovic end the year out as world number one. There’s a good chance he’ll surpass Nadal for weeks at #1 if he finishes this year on a high and start 2015 better than he started this one.
I’ve picked the same four finalists as you this week James so I’m hoping you end the year on a high!
Basel: it depends on Roger’s preparation for the London. If he wants to win Basel, there is a big chance that he can achieve the title. On the other hand, if he treats this tournament as the last step of preparation for the London, he should go up to QF or SF
Reblogged this on Tennis news today and commented:
Tennis News Today
Nice predictions. I watched Coric defeating Gulbis earlier… Great game, this Coric is really good, but he needs to be more agressive when he is leading… Many times, i thaught he was waiting for Gulbis to fail. He really slowplayed many points when he had some break balls. Specifically, 1set 2/2, Gulbis to serve…. 0/40, there were 3 opportunities, and he slowplayed the first, then Gulbis throw 2 aces. Moo, could you send a new jamboree of prédictions for ATP for the next days ? Thank you.