2012 ATP Winston-Salem Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
In the final tune up before the US Open and the last event in the summer long Emirates US Open Series, pros will battle it out on courts at the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Winston-Salem is in just its second year on the ATP calendar.
ATP World Tour 250 (and Emirates US Open Series)
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
August 19-August 25, 2012
Prize Money $553,125
Top 8 seeds (who all receive 1st round byes, asdo the top 16 seeds)
1: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2: Tomas Berdych
3: John Isner
4: Alexandr Dolgopolov
5: Andy Roddick
6: Marcel Granollers
7: Sam Querrey
8: Julien Benneteau
The addition of top 10 players Tsonga and Berdych gives Winston-Salem a stellar field for an ATP 250.
1st round matchups to watch:
Go Soeda vs. Ryan Harrison
Harrison lost last week to fellow youngster Bernard Tomic in Cincy and hasn’t had the brightest summer, while Soeda hasn’t played since the Olympics and will make his return to the hardcourts where he last made the semis in Atlanta.
Tommy Robredo vs. Lukasz Kubot
Tommy Robredo was once a top ten player, but after struggling mightily with the injury bug, he sits inside the top 200. The Spanish vet has had to make do playing on the challenger circuit and the occasional main draw of ATP events, and while he prefers clay, his results have been looking up recently. On theother hand, Kubot lost to Yen-Hsun Lu in Cincy and hasn’t been hot recently. Robredo could pull off an upset.
Tsonga, hopefully recovered from a knee injury that forced him to skip Cincy, will start off against either Thomaz Bellucci or Marcos Baghdatis (who pushed eventual quarterfinalist Milos Raonic to three sets in Cincy). It gets easier for Tsonga from there as he likely faces 15 seed Pablo Andujar or Atlanta finalist Gilles Muller in the third round.
Marcel Granollers will face the winner of Harrison/Soeda, while 12 seed Kevin Anderson, who lostin the first round of both Toronto and Cincy and has been icy this summer, will face a qualifier or grinder Carlos Berlocq in the second round. This part of the draw is pretty open for whoever wants to seize the moment.
Toronto semifinalist and defending champ John Isner will face Benoit Paire or Martin Klizan and then could see 13 seed Jurgen Melzer, who gave Sam Querrey a scare in Cincy. After that, he could play the man he beat in the Winston-Salem final last year, Julien Benneteau, who plays the winner of Kubot/Robredo, or more likely 10 seed Viktor Troicki.
Berdych, who has struggled mightily on the hard courts this summer, will face either fellow struggler Alex Bogomolov or Malek Jaziri in the second round, after that he could battle 16 seed Jarkko Nieminen , Tatsuma Ito or a qualifier.
5 seed Andy Roddick, the Atlanta Champ who lost to Jeremy Chardy in Cincy and might be slightly banged up, will face the winner of wildcard James Blake vs. Albert Ramos and then could face 11 seed Denis Istomin inthe third round. Istomin will play a Belgian in his opener: either Xaiver Malisse or Steve Darcis.
4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, the wildly inconsistent DC champ who got completely thrashed in his last two matches, to Radek Stepanek in Toronto and Nikolay Davydenko in Cincy, will face the winner of Lukas Lacko vs.Yen-Hsun Lu. Whoever advances will face either 14 seed David Nalbadian, who nearly managed to enact revenge on Tommy Haas in the 1st round of Cincy but choked away the match, or the winner of Nikolay Davydenko/Robin Haase. Davydenko impressed in advancing to the third round of Cincy out of nowhere, but had to retire with shoulder issues against Novak Djokovic.
7 seed Sam Querrey, the LA champ, will face either Santiago Giraldo or Edouard Roger-Vasselin and then likely faces a tough match up with 9 seed Feliciano Lopez. Lopez will play the winner of Leonardo Mayer vs. Donald Young. Young has lost has lost 17 matches in a row and it shows no signs of stopping.
Dark Horses: Viktor Troicki and Feliciano Lopez
Troicki made the third round of Cincy and has been better of late. In addition, he has the advantage of having a pretty easy draw until he’d reach Isner in the quarterfinals. While he would be an underdog in that match, it would be winnable.
As for Lopez, the Winston-Salem draw is stronger in the top half than it is in the bottom, which is much more wide open. While he hasn’t shown anything that dynamic, Feli always has it in him to make a run and the only other seed in his path is the still somewhat inconsistent Sam Querrey. If he defeats Querrey, he either gets Nalbandian or Dolgopolov, and you never really know which Dolgopolov is going to show up. The semis are certainly possible for Feli and if he gets the inconsistent and possibly injured Roddick in the semis, and then a possibly still injured Tsonga in the final, ANYTHING is possible.
Tsonga d. Isner
Lopez d. Roddick
Tsonga d. Lopez