2 @USTASOUTHERN SECTION TEAMS TO PLAY FOR @USTA JUNIOR TEAM TENNIS 14U NATIONAL TITLES SUNDAY

2 @USTASOUTHERN SECTION TEAMS TO PLAY FOR @USTA JUNIOR TEAM TENNIS 14U NATIONAL TITLES SUNDAY
Finals set for 14U Advanced and Intermediate Divisions in Cayce, S.C.

USTA Texas (Austin) Advances to JTT Advanced Championship Match on Sunday

USTA Texas (Austin) Advances to JTT Advanced Championship Match on Sunday

CAYCE, S.C. (Oct. 18, 2014) — The USTA Southern Section Advanced team from Madison, Miss., will take on USTA Texas from Austin in the final of the Junior Team Tennis 14U Advanced National Championships on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.

Madison defeated the USTA Eastern Section NJTL team from Queens, N.Y., 54-30, to advance to the final. Austin downed Flight 4 winner Midwest from Columbus, Ohio, in the other semifinal matchup of Flight winners on Saturday, 55-27.

The Intermediate 14U National Championship will be contested at 9 a.m., also at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.

The Southern team from Woodstock, Ga., downed Caribbean of San Juan, Puerto Rico, 52-28, and will face the Midwest winner from Ann Arbor, Mich., which just barely got past Flight 3 winner Eastern from Maywood, N.J., 49-44.

Every team will play on Championship Sunday, determining National rank for all participants.

All the 1st-8th place matches for both Advanced and Intermediate will take place at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center on Sunday. All 9th-16th matches for Advanced and Intermediate will take place at the Lexington County Tennis Complex and will be played at 9 a.m.

Sunday’s Championships Schedule

Starting at 9 a.m.

NOTE: 1st-8th place matches at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center; 9th-16th match played at the Lexington County Tennis Complex

ADVANCED CHAMPIONSHIP: Flight 2 winner Southern (Madison, Miss.) vs. Flight 3 winner Texas (Austin, Texas)

ADVANCED 3rd-4th: Flight 1 winner Eastern (Queens, N.Y.) vs. Flight 4 winner: Midwest (Columbus, Ohio)

ADVANCED 5th-6th: Flight 2 2nd place Northern California* (Los Gatos, Calif.) vs. Flight 3 2nd place Southern California (Temple City, Calif.)

ADVANCED 7th-8th: Flight 1 2nd place Northern California (Berkeley, Calif.) vs. Flight 4 2nd place Northern (Minneapolis)

ADVANCED 9th-10th: Flight 2 3rd place New England (Stamford, Conn.) vs. Flight 4 3rd place Southern California* (San Diego, Calif.)

ADVANCED 11th-12th: Flight 1 3rd place Midwest* (Wheaton, Ill.) vs. Flight 3 3rd place Southern* (Johns Creek, Ga.)

ADVANCED 13th-14th: Flight 2 4th place Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) vs. Flight 3 4th place Mid-Atlantic* (Richmond, Va.)

ADVANCED 15th-16th: Flight 1 4th place Middle States* (Hershey, Pa.) vs. Flight 4 4th place Eastern* (Brewster, N.Y.), 57-28

Starting at 9 a.m.

NOTE: 1st-8th place matches at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center; 9th-16th match played at the Lexington County Tennis Complex

INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Flight 1 winner Southern (Woodstock, Ga.) vs. Flight 4 winner Midwest (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

INTERMEDIATE 3rd-4th: Flight 2 winner Caribbean (Puerto Rico) vs. Flight 3 winner Eastern (Maywood, N.J.)

INTERMEDIATE 5th-6th: Flight 3 2nd place Southern California (Coronado, Calif.) vs. Middle States (Skillman, N.J.)

INTERMEDIATE 7th-8th: def. Flight 4 2nd place Pacific Northwest (Seattle) vs. Flight 2 2nd place Southwest (Albuquerque, N.M.)

INTERMEDIATE 9th-10th: Flight 1 3rd place Mid-Atlantic (Alexandria, Va.) vs. Flight 3 3rd place New England (Madison, Conn.)

INTERMEDIATE 11th-12th: Flight 2 3rd place Missouri Valley (St. Louis, Mo.) vs. def. Flight 4 3rd place Northern California (San Francisco)

INTERMEDIATE 13th-14th: Flight 2 4th place Northern (Fridley, Minn.) vs. Flight 3 4th place Hawaii-Pacific (Lahaina, Hawaii)

INTERMEDIATE 15th-16th: Flight 1 4th place New England* (Longmeadow, Mass.) vs. Flight 4 4th place Texas (Kerrville, Texas)

14U – Advanced Single-Elimination Results:

Flight 2 winner Southern (Madison, Miss.) def. Flight 1 winner Eastern (Queens, N.Y.), 54-30

Flight 3 winner Texas (Austin, Texas) def. Flight 4 winner: Midwest (Columbus, Ohio), 55-27

Flight 2 2nd place Northern California* (Los Gatos, Calif.) def. Flight 1 2nd place Northern California (Berkeley, Calif.), 54-41

Flight 3 2nd place Southern California (Temple City, Calif.) def. Flight 4 2nd place Northern (Minneapolis), 46-44

Flight 2 3rd place New England (Stamford, Conn.) def. Flight 1 3rd place Midwest* (Wheaton, Ill.), 46-36

Flight 4 3rd place Southern California* (San Diego, Calif.) def. Flight 3 3rd place Southern* (Johns Creek, Ga.), 59-27

Flight 2 4th place Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) def. Flight 1 4th place Middle States* (Hershey, Pa.), 56-22

Flight 3 4th place Mid-Atlantic* (Richmond, Va.) def. Flight 4 4th place Eastern* (Brewster, N.Y.), 57-28

14U – Advanced Round Robin Results:

Flight 1: Eastern (Queens, N.Y.) advanced with 172 total games won over Northern California (Berkeley, Calif.) 154; Midwest* (Wheaton, Ill.) 118 and Middle States* (Hershey, Pa.) 49.

Flight 2: Southern (Madison, Miss.) advanced with 162 total games won over Northern California* (Los Gatos, Calif.) 155; New England (Stamford, Conn.) 117 and Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) 68.

Flight 3: Texas (Austin, Texas) advanced with 179 total games won over Southern California (Temple City, Calif.) 130; Southern* (Johns Creek, Ga.) and Mid-Atlantic* (Richmond, Va.) 68.

Flight 4: Midwest (Columbus, Ohio) advanced with 167 total games won over Northern (Minneapolis) 152; Southern California* (San Diego, Calif.) 116 and Eastern* (Brewster, N.Y.) 68.

14U – Intermediate Single-Elimination Results:

Flight 1 winner Southern (Woodstock, Ga.) def. Flight 2 winner Caribbean (Puerto Rico), 52-28

Flight 4 winner Midwest (Ann Arbor, Mich.) def. Flight 3 winner Eastern (Maywood, N.J.), 49-44

Flight 1 2nd place Middle States (Skillman, N.J.) def. Flight 2 2nd place Southwest (Albuquerque, N.M.), 53-39

Flight 3 2nd place Southern California (Coronado, Calif.) def. Flight 4 2nd place Pacific Northwest (Seattle), 54-28

Flight 1 3rd place Mid-Atlantic (Alexandria, Va.) def. Flight 2 3rd place Missouri Valley (St. Louis, Mo.), 56-34

Flight 3 3rd place New England (Madison, Conn.) def. Flight 4 3rd place Northern California (San Francisco), 50-42

Flight 2 4th place Northern (Fridley, Minn.) def. Flight 1 4th place New England* (Longmeadow, Mass.), 45-40

Flight 3 4th place Hawaii-Pacific (Lahaina, Hawaii) def. Flight 4 4th place Texas (Kerrville, Texas), 47-46

14U – Intermediate Round Robin Results:

Flight 1: Southern (Woodstock, Ga.) advanced with 155 total games won over three other teams: Middle States (Skillman, N.J.) 146; Mid-Atlantic (Alexandria, Va.) 116 and New England* (Longmeadow, Mass.) 56.

Flight 2: Caribbean (Puerto Rico) advanced with 177 total games won over: Southwest (Albuquerque, N.M.) 134; Missouri Valley (St. Louis, Mo.) 111 and Northern (Fridley, Minn.) 62

Flight 3: Eastern (Maywood, N.J.) advanced with 161 total games won over: Southern California (Coronado, Calif.) 145; New England (Madison, Conn.) 123 and Hawaii-Pacific (Lahaina, Hawaii) 90

Flight 4: Midwest (Ann Arbor, Mich.) advanced with 163 total games over: Pacific Northwest (Seattle), 147, Northern California (San Francisco) 108; and Texas (Kerrville, Texas) 78

* denotes wildcard

—S. Pratt

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Main Draw Set @USTAMacon50K, Qualifying Begins

Main Draw Set @USTAMacon50K, Qualifying Begins
Stratford Academy, Macon
MACON, Georgia, (October 18, 2014) Singles qualifying begins on Sunday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m.at Stratford Academy for the 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon.

30 players will compete for four qualifying spots on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning.

Featured matches on Sunday include former University of Florida star, Allie Will taking on No. 5 seed, Jasmine Paolini of Italy. Not before 11;30, Mari Ozaka of Japan takes on Jacqueline Cako and not before 3:30, former world No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova takes on Macon teenager, Ariadna Riley.

Four courts will feature qualifying action on Sunday.

“It’s a great qualifying draw,” says Mercer Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach, Eric Hayes. “There are going to be some great matches and this sets us up for the rest of the week. The weather is going to be perfect and this is what we work all year for.”

This is one of the three fall events where U.S. players can earn points for the USTA’s wildcard into the first major of 2015.

You can see the qualifying draw here: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/qualifying_draw382.PDF

Additional 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon facts:

Headlining this year’s Macon 50K field is veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated Venus Williams to win the WTA event in Quebec City, last month. Americans, Madison Brengle and defending champ Anna Tatishvilli are also scheduled to return to Middle Georgia. Also in the field are three players with Georgia connections in Melanie Oudin, Irina Falconi and Grace Min.

Even Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit is impressed with what could be Macon’s field.

Brian Earley

Brian Earley

“The USTA Tennis Classic of Macon will feature one of the strongest fields on the USTA Pro Circuit, with at least four women in the top 100 players on the WTA computer. Due in equal parts to its timing (after the WTA season has concluded), geography and the fact that the Americans are playing for a possible spot in the main draw of the Australian Open, we love that the winner in Macon will have earned the title over some of the best players in the world.”

Hayes says once again the tournament will host a pro am where local tennis players can play against the pros. A “players party” will also be held this year at Twangs, a local restaurant.

Live streaming of the USTA Pro Circuit can be viewed on the USTA Pro Circuit’s website at http://www.procircuit.usta.com.

—Rick Limpert

Brady, Embree, Stewart & Halbauer Awarded Wildcards @USTAMacon50K

Brady, Embree, Stewart & Halbauer Awarded Wildcards @USTAMacon50K

Lauren Embree

Lauren Embree


MACON, Georgia, (October 17, 2014) Main draw wildcards were awarded on Thursday for the 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon.

Those receiving wildcards are Americans, Jennifer Brady, Lauren Embree, Katerina Stewart and Ellie Halbauer.

Here are the wildcard recipient’s capsules:

Jennifer Brady
Brady completed her freshman year at UCLA last year, where she was a member of the 2014 NCAA championship-winning team. Earlier this month, she won her first USTA Pro Circuit singles title, at the $25,000 event in Redding, Calif., while also taking the doubles title. Brady also won two doubles events in 2011.

Lauren Embree
Embree completed her stellar college career in 2013 at the University of Florida by being named the National College Player of the Year. Embree went 26-3 in her final year for the Gators at the No. 1 singles spot, and she compiled a staggering 117-16 singles record during her college career. As a pro in 2013, she won her second USTA Pro Circuit singles title at the $10,000 event in Fort Worth, Texas, and reached the second round at the $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky. She won her second career doubles title at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Redding, Calif., this September and reached the singles final of the $25,000 event in Rock, Hill, S.C., this October.

Katerina Stewart
Stewart, was victorious ar the USTA Girls’ 18s National Clay Court championship this past July in Memphis. That capped a 34-match winning streak in junior and pro matches, during which she won three USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 clay court events (Orlando, Fla.; Bethany Beach, Del.; and Charlotte, N.C.). She was awarded a wildcard into qualifying of the US Open and won her first-round qualifying match over Yuliya Beygelizimer, a former Top 100 player.

Ellie Halbauer
Halbauer, a highly regarded junior player from South Carolina won the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 event at Hilton Head last fall. Halbauer has played the qualifying draw at the WTA’s Family Circle Cup in Charleston.

A new presenting sponsor in The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation means the tournament moves up to a 50K event and will take place October 19-26 on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar at Stratford Academy. This is one of the three fall events where U.S. players can earn points for the USTA’s wildcard into the first major of 2015.

Additional 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon facts:

Headlining this year’s Macon 50K field is veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated Venus Williams to win the WTA event in Quebec City, last month. Americans, Madison Brengle and defending champ Anna Tatishvilli are also scheduled to return to Middle Georgia. Also in the field are three players with Georgia connections in Melanie Oudin, Irina Falconi and Grace Min.

Even Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit is impressed with what could be Macon’s field.

“The USTA Tennis Classic of Macon will feature one of the strongest fields on the USTA Pro Circuit, with at least four women in the top 100 players on the WTA computer. Due in equal parts to its timing (after the WTA season has concluded), geography and the fact that the Americans are playing for a possible spot in the main draw of the Australian Open, we love that the winner in Macon will have earned the title over some of the best players in the world.”

Players will compete in singles and doubles and a 32-woman qualifying event will start on Sunday, October 19,

Hayes says once again the tournament will host a pro am where local tennis players can play against the pros. A “players party” will also be held this year at Twangs, a local restaurant.

Live streaming of the USTA Pro Circuit can be viewed on the USTA Pro Circuit’s website at http://www.procircuit.usta.com.

Tickets are available, and volunteers will be needed once again. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301-2269.

NATION’S TOP TEAMS TO COMPETE AT 2014 USTA JR. TEAM TENNIS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN CAYCE, S.C.

NATION’S TOP TEAMS TO COMPETE AT 2014 USTA JR. TEAM TENNIS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN CAYCE, S.C.

14U Intermediate Mid-Atlantic, Alexandria VA

14U Intermediate Mid-Atlantic, Alexandria VA

14U Intermediate Southern, Woodstock GA

14U Intermediate Southern, Woodstock GA

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced the 2014 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships will be played on Oct. 17-19 for the 14 and Under division and Oct. 24-26 for the 18 and Under division. The tournament, which will be held at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center in Cayce, S.C., will feature the top 64 teams from across the U.S., totaling more than 500 participants.

The National Championships feature teams that have advanced from the Section level to compete for the title. Each year the USTA crowns a national champion in two age divisions (14U and 18U) in both Intermediate and Advanced play divisions.

“The National Championships are the culmination of the Jr. Team Tennis season and bring together the best teams from the 17 sections,” said Craig Jones, Director, USTA Junior. Play. “Not only is the level of competition incredible, but the kids are treated like royalty throughout the event with free meals, player parties and that famous “Southern Hospitality.”

This is the third year that the Cayce Tennis Center will host to the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. In addition, a second tennis facility, the Lexington County Tennis Complex, also will be utilized to serve the hundreds of players competing each weekend.

“We are thrilled to have so many young people and their families coming to our international award-winning tennis and fitness facility in the City of Cayce again this year,” said Cayce Mayor Elise Partin. “Many of our Cayce residents and residents across the Midlands enjoy this facility, and we couldn’t be more pleased to share it with other families across the nation for these upcoming USTA events.”

Established in 1991, USTA Jr. Team Tennis provides youth with all of the health and social benefits of tennis in a co-ed, fun and competitive team environment, and allows participants to compete with and against individuals of similar skill and age levels.

With more than 99,000 players competing nationwide, USTA Jr. Team Tennis brings players together to enjoy camaraderie and teamwork, providing a fun environment for kids to learn that succeeding is really more about how they play the game—win or lose.

Visit the USTA Jr. Team Tennis website at ustajtt.com for complete results, stories and photos.

14U Advanced Midwest, Wheaton IL

14U Advanced Midwest, Wheaton IL

—S. Pratt

2014 Tashkent, Tiburon and Rennes ATP Challenger Recaps

2014 Tashkent, Tiburon and Rennes ATP Challenger Recaps
Chris De Waard, Tennis East Coast

ATP Challenger Tour Official Page

Tashkent

The seeds didn’t disappoint as three of the four top seeds made it to the semi-finals. The one who didn’t make it, top seed Dusan Lajovic, lost 7-6(5) 7-5 to Borna Coric in the quarterfinal, which was always going to be a hard match for him. Fellow top seeds Sergiy Stakhovsky, Lukas Lacko and Adrian Mannarino all had tough quarterfinal matches as well, as all three of them needed three sets to get the job done. In the semi-finals Lacko managed to beat Coric in two tight sets, while Stakhovsky followed a similar pattern against Mannarino. In the final it was a lot less close, however, as Lacko easily dispatched Stakhovsky 6-2 6-3 to win the title. Lacko’s victory saw him rise sixteen ranking spots to #83, while Stakhovsky jumped ten spots to #62.

Tiburon

Sam Querrey

Contrary to the situation at Tashkent, seeds were bombing out left and right here. Only three of them survived the first round, two the second and top seed Sam Querrey was the last one standing in the semi-finals. Qualifier Matt Reid managed to profit from #4 seed Peter Polansky pulling out and getting replaced by a lucky loser, as he made it all the way to the semi-final. In the bottom half another qualifier reached the semi-final, Nils Langer, after trashing #6 seed Thiemo de Bakker 6-1 6-3 in the first round. He almost managed to go a step further, but John Millman beat him 5-7 6-2 7-5 for a place in the final. There he faced the #1 seed and undisputed favorite Sam Querrey, who reached the final without losing a set. The final was no different, as Querrey beat Millman 6-4 6-2 to claim his third Challenger title in just as many weeks. Querrey rose eight spots to #40, while Millman made a big jump of 121 spots to #285.

Rennes

Rennes provided an even worse scenario for the seeds, as none of them went through to the semi-finals. #1 seed Jan-Lennard Struff lost to Robin Haase in the second round, who then lost to wild card Enzo Couacaud in a dramatic match after missing three match points: 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(4). Unfortunately Couacaud had to dig so deep that he was forced to retire from his semi-final match against Nicolas Mahut in the first set. In the bottom half Steve Darcis took out Dustin Brown in the semi-final, after which he reached the final by beating Marsel Ilhan, who took out two seeds in Thomaz Bellucci and Andreas Haider-Maurer. Darcis was very convincing in the final, as he beat Mahut 6-4 6-2 to win the first Challenger title of his comeback. With this result he re-enters the top 200 at #172, jumping 81 spots. Mahut dropped six spots to #108, as he was defending the title.

2014 Indore, San Juan ATP Challenger Previews, Picks

2014 Indore and San Juan Challenger Previews, Picks
Chris De Waard, Tennis East Coast

ATP Challenger Tour Official Page

Only two tournaments this week: one in India on hardcourt and the other one in Argentina on clay.

Indore Open ATP Challenger

ATP Challenger Tour
Indore, India
13-19 October
Prize Money: $125,000

Seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)

1: Aleksandr Nedovyesov (121)
2: Alexander Kudryavtsev (129)
3: Somdev Devvarman (142)
4: Hiroki Moriya (157)
5: Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (163)
6: Yuki Bhambri (184)
7: Kimmer Coppejans (193)
8: Stefano Travaglia (215)

The last direct acceptance is Karunuday Singh, ranked 499th.

First round match-ups to watch

Gianluigi Quinzi – Ramkumar Ramanathan

Quinzi has been marked a great prospect and is making his comeback on Challenger level here after being out with injury for two months. Ramanathan is 19, a year older than Quinzi, so it will be interesting to see how these two youngsters match up.

Top Half

Two players here are the clear favorites here to make the semi-finals, #1 seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov and #3 seed Somdev Devvarman. It would be a pretty big surprise to see one of the other players in this half upset one of them. Nedovyesov and Devvarman have played each other twice this year, with Nedovyesov winning in four sets at Roland Garros and Devvarman taking down the final of the New Delhi Challenger very comfortably in two sets, 6-3 6-1. Given that New Delhi was played on hardcourt as well, I’d say that result is a better indication of how this match will pan out.

Bottom Half

This half looks considerably more open than the top half, with Yuki Bhambri, Hiroki Moriya, Kimmer Coppejans and Alexander Kudryavtsev all being decent picks to make it through. Bhambri has been struggling with injuries for a while, but if he is in good shape, he is my favorite to reach the final.

Predictions

Semis:

Devvarman > Nedovyesov
Bhambri > Coppejans

Final:

Bhambri > Devvarman

A home country final, resulting in a win for the new generation. They played each other in the beginning of the year at Chennai, with Bhambri comfortably winning in two sets, 6-2 6-4.

Copa San Juan Gobierno

ATP Challenger Tour
San Juan, Argentina
13-19 October
Prize Money: $40,000

Seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)

1: Diego Schwartzman (79)
2: Joao Sousa (89)
3: Alejandro Gonzalez (90)
4: Horacio Zeballos (104)
5: Facundo Bagnis (120)
6: Facundo Arguello (144)
7: Thiemo de Bakker (147)
8: Guido Andreozzi (150)

The last direct acceptance is Renzo Olivo, ranked 276th.

First round match-ups to watch

(5) Facundo Bagnis – Gonzalo Lama

Bagnis isn’t in the best of shapes, with a 6-6 record in his last six Challenger events. Despite losing to Bagnis twice this year, Lama should feel confident after pushing Victor Estrella Burgos to three sets in his previous tournament.

(3) Alejandro Gonzalez – Guido Pella

Both men have seen better days, but while their career high rankings are pretty close to each other, #70 for Gonzalez and #75 for Pella. Gonzalez is still in the top 100 at #97, while Pella is ranked a lot lower at #196. Their previous matches were both close encounters, with both men winning one, so this should be an interesting battle.

Top Half

After reaching back to back finals, top seed Diego Schwartzman got upset in the first round of the Cali Challenger, where he lost to Christian Lindell. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t the favorite again here. There is some stiff competion awaiting him, with Jason Kubler or Guido Andreozzi in the quarterfinal and Horacio Zeballos, Andre Ghem or Facundo Arguello in the semi-final.

Bottom Half

#2 seed Joao Sousa is by far the best pick to advance here. He’s been solid as of late and is less likely to throw in a random bad match like some others in this half are known to do (See: Thiemo de Bakker, Facundo Bagnis). However, he has a tough second round match against the up and coming Nicolas Jarry, who beat him in three sets at Quito a month ago.

Predictions

Semis:

Schwartzman > Zeballos
Sousa > Gonzalez

Final:

Schwartzman > Sousa

Don’t be surprised if you see Jarry in the final instead of Sousa, however. Their match is likely to be very close and decisive to determine the finalist coming from the bottom half.

2014 ATP Stockholm, Vienna and Moscow Previews, Picks

2014 ATP Stockholm, Vienna and Moscow Previews, Picks
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast

With just three weeks left in the ATP World Tour Season, the race is on for the final World Tour Final spots, while most other players on tour are seeking to boost their year-end ranking by earning some late season ranking spots. There are three 250 level indoor hard court events in Europe this week and here is a preview of each one.

Stockholm Official Site

ATP Stockholm
If Stockholm Open
ATP World Tour 250
October 13-October 19, 2014
Prize Money: €521,405

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Tomas Berdych (7)
2: Grigor Dimitrov (10)
3: Kevin Anderson (16)
4: Alex Dolgopolov (24)

Stockholm attracts three top 20 players and it’s a solid field for a 250 level event.

Berdych and Dimitrov are in contention for the World Tour Finals.

First Round matchups to watch:

Marcos Baghdatis vs. Adrian Mannarino
Baghdatis had sustained periods of strong play this summer but he has not been healthy since the US Open, and he is looking to take his aggressive game indoors and enjoy success in Stockholm. He starts with the versatile Frenchman Mannarino, who has done very well at the challenger level on hard courts, but has struggled translating that success to the ATP level this year. This is a challenger-level round 1 matchup, and I think Mannarino will sneak through. The two veterans have never met before in a tournament match.

(6)Jeremy Chardy vs. (WC)Elias Ymer
The veteran Frenchman Chardy will take on the 18-year-old Swede Ymer, who gets a wildcard in a home event for him. Ymer is the most promising young Swede and he played reasonably well recently in a trio of USTA Pro Circuit Events. He scored two wins, and pushed the American trio of Sam Querrey, Denis Kudla, and Rhyne Williams to three sets in each tournament. Chardy should prevail, but it’s possible Ymer could earn his second career ATP main draw win this week.

Top Half:

Former Stockholm Champion Tomas Berdych opens with a qualifier or Swedish wild card Christian Lindell. Berdych went 6-2 on the Asian swing, and appears to be playing well at the moment with his only losses to Djokovic and the in-form Gilles Simon. Look for him to ease his way into the semifinals, after defeating Joao Sousa, the number 8 seed, in the quarterfinals. Sousa has lost two straight matches but he is known to play well on indoor hard, including Metz recently where he made the final, and his competition en route to the quarters, a qualifier, and Pablo Carreno Busta or a qualifier, is far from imposing.

Alex Dologopolov gets a bye, but he is 0-2 since returning to the ATP tour from a knee injury, and he could suffer a loss to the Baghdatis/Mannarino winner. Dolgo showed major improvement between his Tokyo and Shanghai losses though, and I think he has just enough game to reach the quarterfinals, given Baggy and Mannarino are both erratic. That said, Donald Young or Igor Sijsling have great shots at making the semifinals this week. Young opens with 5 seed Leo Mayer, who is far more comfortable on clay (though he nearly beat Roger Federer in Shanghai), and Sijsling opens with a qualifier. That said, both Young and Sijsling are also struggling: Sijsling has been far from impressive indoors on the challenger circuit in Europe, and Young lost to journeyman Malek Jaziri in Shanghai. Given Sijsling’s previous successes on indoor hard, I have him beating a qualifier, Young and then Dolgopolov (or even Baghdatis/Mannarino) to reach the semifinals in what is a toss-up section.

Bottom Half:

Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov opens with Teymuraz Gabashvili or Alejandro Falla. Neither of those players are playing good tennis at the moment and Dimitrov should set up a quarterfinal meeting with Chardy/Ymer or Jack Sock/Andrey Golubev. Sock just beat Golubev in Tokyo, and he has another great chance at a strong week, after winning consecutive matches in both Tokyo, where he beat Dolgopolov, and Shanghai, where he upset Kei Nishikori. Dimitrov, who is a year older than Sock, has never played him before, and I think Sock will put up a competitive showing, but I have Grisha into the semifinals yet again. He lost in the second round of Shanghai after making the quarters in Beijing.

Kevin Anderson is set to face Bernard Tomic in round 2. Tomic plays Swedish wild card Patrik Rosenholm in round 1. Tomic has beaten Anderson twice on hard courts, both times in 3 sets: once in 2013 in Sydney, and the other time in Shanghai in 2011. Tomic qualified in Shanghai, and Anderson went just 2-2 on the Asian swing, with losses to Chardy and Mikhail Kukushkin. Anderson has been more successful indoors than Tomic, but not by a lot, which is surprising given Anderson is a lanky big server. I have Tomic sneaking through to the quarterfinals in my bracket. At that stage he could face 7 seed Fernando Verdasco, Marinko Matosevic, Albert Ramos, or most likely, in my estimation, Jarkko Nieminen. Nieminen has always been a top performer indoors and he reached the semis in Kuala Lumpur. He also has beaten Verdasco before on hard courts, twice in fact, once in 2005, and once in 2013. Verdasco won a 3 setter in Stockholm last year, and once more indoors in Rotterdam in 2008, but I’m not very convinced by his form right now. He is just 2-3 in his last five matches, though two of those losses are to Dimitrov, and Marin Cilic. He still seems a bit lost at the moment.

Dark Horse: Jarkko Nieminen
I have the unseeded Igor Sijsling in the semis this week and the unseeded Tomic in the quarters, but neither of them really have the potential to make the final, in my estimation. Nieminen, on the other hand, should reach the semis, assuming he can upset Verdasco, and Verdasco may even lose to Matosevic in round 1. Nieminen-Tomic or Nieminen-Anderson would also be a tough contest, but Jarkko should get his upset shot against Dimitrov in the semis. He is 2-0 career against the Bulgarian, with both of his wins coming indoors. Dimitrov is much improved since those matches were played, but the h2h still is what it is.

Predictions

Semis:
Berdych d. Sijsling
Dimitrov d. Nieminen

Berdych should cruise to the final, barely facing any competition, given the weak top half of the draw. He crushed Sijsling in Davis Cup earlier this year, and the result should be the same no matter who he faces in the semis.

I have Dimitrov beating Nieminen since he’s a superior talent at this point, and he cares about retaining the Stockholm crown.

Final:
Berdych d. Dimitrov

Dimitrov and Berdych have split h2h meetings this year, both times on clay, and Dimitrov was 2-0 before that, but both of those hard court meetings went to a decisive third set. After watching them both in the Asian swing, I think everyone would agree Berdych is playing superior tennis right now, and that should be enough to win him his second Stockholm title.

Chris De Waard’s picks

Semis:
Berdych d. Dolgopolov
Dimitrov d. Tomic

Final:
Berdych d. Dimitrov

Vienna Official Site

ATP Vienna
Erste Bank Open
ATP World Tour 250
Vienna, Austria
October 13-October 19, 2014
Prize Money: €521,405

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP Ranking in parentheses)
1: David Ferrer (5)
2: Andy Murray (11)
3: Feliciano Lopez (21)
4: Philipp Kohlschreiber (23)

Murray and Ferrer are fighting to make the World Tour Finals and they highlight the field in Vienna, which is balanced otherwise.

First Round matchups to watch:

Carlos Berlocq vs. (WC)Gerald Melzer
Berlocq is the far more accomplished player, but he’s very poor on indoor hard, and the younger Melzer won a couple of matches at the Mons challenger on indoor hard. The wild card is looking for his first career ATP main draw victory yet again and he should be motivated. Berlocq is likely to advance, but he is coming off playing clay court challengers, and this one has some upset potential.

Martin Klizan vs. Benjamin Becker
Two in-form players will do battle in a match that I am really looking forward to. Klizan is 8-3 over his last 11 matches, and he made round 2 in Shanghai after reaching the semis in Beijing. He lost to David Ferrer in a competitive 3 set battle in Shanghai that he very much should have won. Becker reached the semis in Tokyo after reaching the quarters in Kuala Lumpur and he pushed Kei Nishikori to 3 sets in Tokyo, very nearly pulling off a massive upset. With both players playing some of their best tennis all year right now, and given they both have aggressive playstyles, this one should be full of highlights. It’s very hard to predict and both are solid indoors, but I have Klizan sneaking through in 3 sets because I feel his game at a peak level is better than what Becker brings to the table.

Thomaz Bellucci vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Bellucci just beat Mathieu in the Orleans Challenger semifinals a couple of weeks ago, which was surprisingly their first head to head meeting, though they have both played on tour for a while. Bellucci is on a two match losing streak, while Mathieu lost in round 2 of the Rennes challenger, and they have both been playing indoor hard courts at the challenger level in Europe, rather than going to Asia for ATP competition this Fall. Given PHM has nominally been superior on indoor hard over the course of his career, I have him through to round 2 but it could go either way.

Top Half:

David Ferrer will need to be on upset alert for his first contest against either Simone Bolelli or Tobias Kamke. Both are competent on indoor hard and Ferrer is just 2-4 in his last six matches. He did manage to win consecutive matches in Shanghai, including a 3 set win over Andy Murray, and he’s fighting to make the World Tour Finals, thus I do have him through to the quarters after a test from Bolelli. Bolelli has a 2-0 h2h against Kamke and more peak potential than the journeyman German who has been plying his trade at the indoor hard court tournaments in Europe this fall. Look for a Ferrer vs. Ivo Karlovic quarterfinal. The big serving Croat made the third round in Shanghai, upsetting Marin Cilic en route, and he broke a poor run of form he was having for quite some time. His first opponent is Federico Delbonis, and then a qualifier or Jurgen Melzer, the home favorite, is to follow. Melzer is a two-time champion in Vienna, and he’s a career 5-1 against Karlovic, but he’s been struggling all year and he’s ranked outside the top 100. Though he played alright in Tokyo, his form has to be suspect right now, and that’s why I have Karlovic beating him. Ferrer is 2-1 against Karlovic, and I feel he’s motivated enough to the reach the semis.

Philipp Kohlschreiber opens with the Gerald Melzer/Berlocq winner. Kohli is struggling, and he suffered a shoulder injury in Metz from which he may not have fully recovered. However, barring a big upset, Kohli should reach the quarterfinals before falling to Klizan. Other potential quarterfinal opponents are Becker and local hope Dominic Thiem. Thiem opens with the pedestrian Robin Haase and then will face the Becker/Klizan winner. Of course, that should be a great match, and I feel form favors Klizan, or Becker, to reach the quarterfinals, though Thiem made round 2 in Shanghai and is far from a pushover. I have Klizan over Kohlschreiber given the form factor at the moment.

Bottom Half:

Andy Murray will open with Vasek Pospisil or a qualifier and he very well could fall to the Canadian, who played reasonably well in Asia without any deep runs to show for it. Murray is 9-2 since the US Open though, and he has not lost to a non-top 20 player since the grass court season. In fact, he has just three losses to a player ranked outside the top 20 in 2014, which has not been one of his best seasons by any measure.

Look for Murray to cruise into the semis if he can get past Vashy. His quarterfinal opponent, one of JL Struff/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Sergiy Stakhovsky/qualifier is far from imposing and he should not have any trouble. Stako is playing well at the moment: he won the Orleans challenger on indoor hard and fell in the finals of the Tashkent challenger on hard courts last week. However, he is 0-3 career against Struff, with all those matches taking place this year or last, and the German should be fresher for this tournament. Struff was a semifinalist in Metz and should have a good week.

Shanghai semifinalist Feliciano Lopez will look to make a quick turnaround and continue his fine play in Vienna. The Spaniard will open with the Mathieu/Bellucci winner and unless he’s worn out he should setup a meeting with Lukas Rosol in the quarters. Rosol opens with Tashkent champion Lukas Lacko, who should be tired, and then Victor Estrella or a qualifier. Rosol has lost six straight matches, but he actually has a rather easy path to the quarters. Mathieu/Bellucci will have an outside shot at making a run this week, but signs point to Lopez making the semis in this rather weak section.

Dark Horse: Martin Klizan
Klizan can play some great tennis when his game is clicking, through his path of Becker, Thiem/Haase and Kohlschreiber, before a likely meeting with Ferrer. Ferrer in the semis is far from easy, but he’s talented enough to survive the gauntlet. He nearly beat Ferrer in Shanghai, but he couldn’t put the match away, and I don’t think he will beat Ferrer this time either, but I’m sure he’s hungry for revenge.

Predictions

Semis:
Ferrer d. Klizan
Murray d. Lopez

Ferrer just survived a battle with Klizan in Shanghai, and Murray has never lost to Lopez in nine career meetings, including two this season.

Final:
Murray d. Ferrer

Ferrer did just beat Murray in Shanghai, but I chalk that 3 set loss up to fatigue more than anything else, and the Scot should be motivated to take this title. It could be a close match, but I’m going with Murray as champion this week.

Chris De Waard’s picks

Semis:
Ferrer d. Thiem
Pospisil d. Lacko

Final:
Ferrer d. Pospisil

Kremlin Cup Official Site

ATP Moscow
Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow
ATP World Tour 250
Moscow, Russia
October 13-October 19, 2014
Prize Money: $776,620

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP Ranking in parentheses)
1: Milos Raonic (8)
2: Marin Cilic (9)
3: Ernests Gulbis (13)
4: Fabio Fognini (17)

Cilic and Raonic are both in contention to make the World Tour Finals and like the other two tournaments this week, it is a balanced field in Moscow.

First round matchups to watch:

(8)Andreas Seppi vs. Dusan Lajovic
The rising Serb Lajovic will have a nice upset chance against Seppi, who is a former champion in Moscow. Seppi has not had the best of seasons and he hasn’t played great on indoor hard at the ATP level the past two seasons. Seppi has a h2h win on clay and Lajovic has yet to have sustained success indoors, but I do see this match going 3 sets. I have Seppi getting through in my bracket but the upset possibility is there.

Mikhail Kukushkin vs. (WC)Karen Khachanov
The 18 year old Khachanov made a run to the quarterfinals last year in Moscow and now he has some major points to defend against Kukushkin. Kukushkin played well in Asia, going 4-2 overall, with wins over Kevin Anderson and Tommy Robredo in Shanghai, before narrowly losing to Novak Djokovic in 3 sets. Khachanov, who has yet to really break through and find the consistency he needs to compete with the top players, comes off qualifying for the Rennes challenger, where he lost in round 2. Kukushkin could win this comfortably but Khachanov will have home support, and it should at least be an enjoyable match.

Top Half:

Milos Raonic opens with a qualifier, then most likely Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters. RBA has Andrey Kuznetsov, a home favorite, up first, then Sam Groth or wild card Andrey Rublev in his path. Rublev is currently the world number 1 junior player, and at 16, he’s making his ATP main draw debut at a home tournament in Moscow. Groth has a big serve but little else going for him, and Rublev will at least have a chance at getting his maiden ATP win. RBA comes off the third round in Shanghai and he has never played Raonic before. Raonic retired most likely due to fatigue, or perhaps the flu, in round 1 in Shanghai, but he should be fresh and fit here in Moscow. Given it’s an indoor hard court tournament, Raonic should cruise to the semis if healthy.

Ernests Gulbis is struggling: the Latvian appears to be carrying a shoulder injury and I’m honestly not sure why he’s playing Moscow nor why he played in Shanghai last week. He’s visibly injured and it’s affecting his game. He should fall to Jiri Vesely, who opens with dirtballer Daniel Gimeno-Traver, in round 2. Vesely has made two consecutive indoor hard court semifinals in Orleans and Mons, and he’s playing well right now. It should be a Vesely vs. Seppi/Lajovic or Ivan Dodig quarterfinal. Dirtballer Pere Riba is also in this section, the first opponent for Dodig. Dodig reversed a previously 0-4 h2h against Seppi across surfaces and beat him in Toronto in 3 sets this year, thus their match in Moscow is an unpredictable affair, should it occur. I have Dodig through to face Vesely, but I am not entirely confident.

Bottom Half:

Marin Cilic will open with Dudi Sela or Evgeny Donskoy. Sela is 2-0 against the underachieving Russian, so he should get through to round 2. Look for Cilic to face Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals. Robredo will face Malek Jaziri or Filip Krajinovic in round 2 before Cilic. Robredo and Cilic have both lost two straight matches after previously playing well, but the h2h does favor Cilic who is 2-1 on hard courts and 2-1 against the Spaniard this season. Given the indoor hard court surface, it should be Cilic in the semis.

Fabio Fognini lost to a Chinese wild card in Shanghai and he really appears to be off the rails right now. I have him losing to Kukushkin in round 2, and his lack of focus and effort is shining through at the moment. Look for a Kukushkin vs. Mikhail Youzhny quarterfinal, assuming the former Moscow champ can get past a qualifier, and Juan Monaco/Paolo Lorenzi. Youzhny just beat Monaco en route to the Shanghai quarterfinals, perhaps his best result all season, a year in which he has fallen from the top 30 and struggled with consistency. Kukushkin and Youzhny have split indoor hard court meetings on Russian soil and they both had good runs in Shanghai. It’s a hard to predict matchup, given how poor Youzhny has been this season by and large, but he is playing at a tournament he normally does well at so look for the Colonel to advance.

Dark Horse: Jiri Vesely
Kukushkin will also have a chance to do well this week, but Vesely should make the semis with wins over DGT, an injured Gulbis, and Seppi/Dodig/Lajovic. Vesely vs. Seppi and Vesely vs. Dodig would be hard to predict, but the young Czech has a game built to do well on indoor hard and I feel he’s motivated and in the right sort of form to do well.

Predictions

Semis:
Raonic d. Vesely
Cilic d. Youzhny

Unless something is wrong with Raonic, he should make the final this week comfortably enough. He crushed Vesely on clay, his weakest surface, at the French Open this year and he’s motivated to make the World Tour Final.

Cilic has won the last 3 meetings with Youzhny, and 4 of the last 5, after the Russian started with a strong h2h advantage. This includes their last three indoor meetings, two of which went to a decisive third set, and though Cilic has lost two straight, he should recover and reach the final, given Youzhny has been poor most of the season.

Final:

Raonic d. Cilic

Raonic and Cilic have a 1-1 hard court h2h and Cilic won indoors in Valencia in 2011. Both guys have had excellent seasons, and Cilic has perhaps had the higher peak given he won the US Open, while Raonic has just been a very consistent top 10 player in a variety of tournaments and across surfaces. He plays some of his best tennis indoors and that should be enough to give him the edge.

Chris De Waard’s picks

Semis:
Bautista Agut d. Dodig
Cilic d. Kukushkin

Final:
Cilic d. Bautista Agut