ATP Week Ahead: Rotterdam, Costa do Saiupe, San Jose
Posted by gauloises1 on February 8, 2010
One 500 in Europe and two 250s in the Americas this week …
Even with Murray not returning and the withdrawals of Nadal and Tsonga, this is a really fun draw. Top seed Nole has a quota of dangerous floaters (Stakhovsky, Chiudinelli, Tipsy) but no-one that should cause him any real problems, including probable quarterfinal opponent Robredo. In the second quarter, Monfils should be OK despite having reinjured his knee in Johannesburg, unless of course Youzhny’s healthy and on good form. I’d anticipate maybe a Nole-Youzhny semifinal.
In the bottom half, the third quarter is the real question mark: seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic has a tricky encounter with Julien Benneteau in the first round, while Robin Soderling has had an abysmal start to the year and there are real questions over the state of his recurring elbow injury. Someone totally random could easily come out there. And the fourth quarter is loaded, with Troicki-Melzer, Baggy-Blake, and Kolya-Lopez all meeting in the first round. Still hard to bet against Mr. Consistency, Kolya, though.
Predicted champion: Novak Djokovic. He really should.
Costa do Saiupe
With defending champion Robredo not returning, the top four seeds are Juan Carlos Ferrero (Boss! looking to get off the mark in 2010), Albert Montanes, Igor Andreev and last year’s finalist, Thomaz Bellucci. Richard Gasquet is hanging about in Boss’ quarter, looking to cause trouble no doubt, and Victor Hanescu could do well if he can get past last week’s revelation Joao Souza.
Predicted champion: Montanes. He’s got a really nice draw.
Actually a brilliant draw for a 250; the top eight seeds are Roddick, Verdasco, Steps, Haas, Berdych, Kohlschreiber, Querrey and Chardy. Last year’s finalists Steps and Mardy Fish should meet in the second round, with the winner potentially having to contend with Taylor Dent or Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals. Top seed Roddick should handle the winner of Mayer-Gulbis in the second round without too much trouble and I wouldn’t count on Berdych upsetting him in the quarters, so should be a safe bet for the semifinals at least. In the bottom half of the draw, Verdasco has a smooth path, while the third quarter is packed with players who could do anything but probably won’t …
Predicted champion: Verdasco. His draw is very nice.