2012 ATP Valencia and ATP Basel Previews
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The final dual 500’s of the year are this week with players fighting for every last ranking point. Here is a preview.
Valencia Open 500
ATP World Tour 500
October 21-October 28, 2012
Prize Money € 1,424,850
Top 4 seeds
1: David Ferrer
2: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
3: Janko Tipsarevic
4: Juan Monaco
Valencia has a stellar field with all eight seeds being top fifteen players and three of the top four seeds all looking to earn a spot in London.
First Round Matchups to watch:
Juan Monaco vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Monaco, who is on the outside looking in when it comes to the World Tour Finals, suffered a 2nd round loss in Shanghai and didn’t play this week while Hewitt notched a couple of wins in Stockholm en route to the quarterfinals. This is a match Monaco needs to win and should win, but the gritty Hewitt always brings something to the table and if he catches Monaco off he will be sure to capitalize.
Milos Raonic vs. Gilles Muller
Two of the biggest and best servers in the game will meet in what is sure to be a ‘hold-fest’ with break point chances rare and many aces. Muller is coming off a good run to the semis in Vienna while Raonic has had a good year but has been a bit inconsistent. This match will really come down to who wins the tiebreaks at the end of the set.
Gilles Simon vs. Janko Tipsarevic
Assuming Nadal does not play the World Tour Finals, which is pretty much assured, Tipsarevic at no. 9 would be the last man in. In order to keep his spot, he is going to have to get past Simon in the first round and probably win a couple of more matches along with doing well in Paris next week. On the positive side, he made the semis in Vienna but suffered an upset loss to Grega Zemlja. Simon has had an up and down year, but seems to have somewhat recovered from his summer swoon. Tipsy and Simon have recently met twice, with Simon winning in Bangkok and Tipsarevic winning in Tokyo. This should be a close match.
Valencia’s hometown favorite, David Ferrer opens against a qualifier and then would play fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos or a qualifier. In the quarters, he could meet another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, who just made the semis in Stockholm and lost to Berdych again. Almagro will take on Juan Carlos Ferrero in what should be the tennis royal’s final match.
Ferrero is a former French Open champ, US Open Finalist and a former world number 1, but he suffered a career decline as time went on and last played in Umag on clay earlier in the year. Also in this part of the draw are Sam Querrey and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who play each other.
The winner of Monaco/Hewitt will likely meet Philip Kohlschreiber in the 2nd round, a dangerous floater here, then could do battle with the winner of Martin Klizan vs. Marin Cilic in the quarters (Cilic just beat Klizan in Shanghai). Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is also in this dangerous part of the draw as is another formerly high ranked Spanish Tennis star, wild card Tommy Robredo.
Tsonga, who has done himself some favors in the race to London by making the final in Stockholm where he will take on Tomas Berdych, opens against another veteran in the field, Xaiver Malisse, then will play the winner of Jurgen Melzer vs. Carlos Berlocq. In the quarters he could meet John Isner, who plays Fabio Fognini, and then the winner of Pablo Andujar vs. David Goffin. Isner last beat Tsonga in the Winston Salem final.
The winner of Tipsarevic/Simon will play Spaniard Marcel Granollers or a qualifier and then could face the winner of Muller/Raonic in the quarters or Alexandr Dolgopolov, who plays Filippo Volandri. Dolgopolov blew five match points and lost in three sets to Edouard Roger-Vasselin in his last match in Moscow. Either Simon or Tipsarevic have a good draw here.
Dark Horse: Fernando Verdasco
In what is a very tough field for most, Verdasco gets a wild card in Robredo to open and then would need to get past Cilic and avenge a loss to him in Shanghai, assuming Klizan doesn’t do so first. After that, he would likely get Monaco, who he beat in Shanghai and then Almagro or Ferrer in the semis, which would probably be his biggest roadblock.
Almagro d. Verdasco
Tsonga d. Tipsarevic
Tsonga d. Almagro
Tsonga might be looking at his second title in a row here if things pan out.
Swiss Indoors Basel
ATP World Tour 500
October 22-October 28, 2012
Prize Money € 1,404,300
Top 4 seeds
1: Roger Federer
2: Juan Martin Del Potro
3: Richard Gasquet
4: Stanislas Wawrinka
Five time champ and hometown hero Federer opens against Jeremy Chardy, who might give him a bit of trouble. After that, he would get the winner of surprise Moscow finalist and possible champion Thomaz Bellucci vs. Go Soeda. In the quarters, he could see the man Bellucci will play in the Moscow final, Andreas Seppi, who opens with Benoit Paire.
The other home country favorite, Stan Wawrinka, opens against Nikolay Davydenko and then meets the winner of Paul Henri Mathieu vs. Henri Laaksonen. In the quarters, he could get Viktor Troicki, who plays Grigor Dimitrov in the first round or Julien Benneteau, who opens against a qualifier.
Del Potro will vie for the Vienna final Sunday and is still looking for points towards the World Tour Finals. JMDP will open against Alejandro Falla and would follow up with Brian Baker or a qualifier. In the quarters, Del Po could meet Florian Mayer, who lost in the 2nd round of Stockholm and opens against Marinko Matosevic. Also in this part of the draw are Jarkko Nieminen and Kevin Anderson, a couple of players who can do damage indoors.
Richard Gasquet looks to close out his year in style and will start with Robin Haase before drawing the winner of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs. Swissman Marco Chiudinelli. In the quarters, he could see Mikhail Youhzny, who opens against Bernard Tomic, or another Aussie, Matt Ebden, who plays a qualifier.
Dark Horse: Julien Benneteau
Benneteau hasn’t played since Beijing but he has a good draw opening with a qualifier and then 8 seed Viktor Troicki, who is rather inconsistent as of late. After that, he would duel with favorite Wawrinka, who struggles with consistency and can be upset on an off-day.
Federer d. Wawrinka
Del Potro d. Gasquet
Federer d. Del Potro
Look for the Swiss Maestro to make it six on his home turf.