2012 UNICEF Open ATP Preview

2012 UNICEF Open ATP Preview
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com

The 2nd set of grass court events and final tune ups before Wimbledon will kick off next week in the Netherlands and Eastbourne, England. The UNICEF Open is previewed below, and the Eastbourne preview follows shortly.
Unicef Open

ATP World Tour 250
‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
June 17-23, 2012
Prize Money: €450,000
Top 4 seeds
1: David Ferrer 
2: Viktor Troicki
3: Jurgen Melzer
4: Robin Haase

David Ferrer

Ferrer returns to action after a semi-final performance in Paris while Haase carries home hopes and Troicki comes off a loss in Halle. The UNICEF Open is a combined event with the WTA.
1st round matchups to watch:
Oliver Rochus vs. Malek Jaziri
Veteran serve and volleying Belgian Rochus is coming off tough 1st round losses to Sam Querrey at Queen’s Club and Leonardo Mayer in Paris as he tries to get in the groove before Wimbledon.  He will face Tunisian Jaziri, who continues to climb in the rankings considerably and will be a tough out. 
Jurgen Melzer vs. Igor Kunitsyn
A couple of crafty veterans who have been down on their luck recently, but still have plenty of talent will battle it out. Melzer is only .500 on the year (12-12) and Kunitsyn  continues to float right around the top 100, reaching the quarterfinals in the Nottingham challenger in his last event. 
David Goffin vs. Benoit Paire
 A Round of 16 participant at Roland Garros, Goffin, who has now broken into the top 70 will take on Belgrade finalist Paire in a battle of a Frenchman vs. Belgian in the Netherlands. 
Flavio Cipolla vs. Potito Starace
Potato Starch will take on his countryman Chips. Combined, they make an Italian potato chip.

Potito Chips, anyone?

Top Half:
Top seed David Ferrer begins his tune up for Wimbledon with a qualifier and then Leonardo Mayer or a qualifier. If he gets through, Rochus or 6 seed Jarkko Nieminen, the lefty vet from Finland, are likely quarterfinal match ups.
3 seed Jurgen Melzer will face Kunitsyn, Tatsuma Ito or a qualifier and then Goffin/Paire or Dudi Sela/Lukasz Kubot, the 8 seed. This is a wide open part of the draw. 
Bottom Half:
2 seed Viktor Troicki comes off a 2nd round loss to Tomas Berdych in Halle and will take on veteran Xaiver Malisse. He could then face the man who beat Tsonga in Halle, Ivan Dodig, and after that 5 seed Santiago Giraldo, serve and volleyer Gilles Muller or Ruben Ramirez Hildalgo/Alejandro Falla.
4 seed Robin Haase will seek to win one of his home countries 2 ATP tournaments facing wild card Mate Pavic then a qualifier or Dmitry Tursunov. That would  follow with a match up against Alex Bogomolov Jr., Vasselin or Starace/Cipolla in another permeable part of the draw.
Dark Horse: Ivan Dodig
Dodig, ranked just inside the top 70, comes off a quarterfinals run at Queen’s Club where he knocked off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and fell in 3 sets to Sam Querrey. While his recent results haven’t been stellar, he will face a weak draw and has momentum on grass going in. If he can beat Paolo Lorenzi and overcome the roadblock that is Viktor Troicki (an inconsistent player himself ), the route to the final is somewhat clear as none of the other seeds in the bottom half of the draw look that daunting (Haase, Giraldo and Bogomolov).

Ferrer d. Kubot
Dodig d. Haase
Ferrer d. Dodig

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Legg Mason Video: Isner Wins/Troicki Moonlighting Unmasked


Vik Troicki was knocked out of the Legg Mason tournament last night by the Tree. Isner scared us a bit in the second set before ending Troicki’s very respectable ride through Rock Creek Park.

Isner takes Georgia's 15 Electoral Votes

It felt like an election night party, as the media swarmed to the monitor to catch the big match.

Vik Troicki prepares for concession speech

We’ve never seen Troicki’s adroit moves before in person and we anticpate a quality showing  at the US Open for him, depending on the draw. We also can’t help but notice his striking resemblance to Emmy award-winning actor Aaron Paul.

Aaron Paul

Vik Troicki


Trophy. See what we mean??

Look, we’ll never mention it again. Video of Isner’s win may be seen at the top of the post. Please note that the header video is All About Isner. If you’ve come to see Troicki, you’ve got the wrong video (Advisory).

Quarterfinal Friday at Legg Mason Begins at 2 p.m.

Big John makes another Quarterfinal

It’s important that the small group known as Tennis Maryland actually play tennis from time-to-time. That is why we skipped Legg Mason again tonight.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t help but think about it the whole time.  

Friday is the business end of the tournament. It’s a cliché as old as Bud Collins, but just as entertaining. Tomorrow is the kind of day where tennis fans salivate like Pavlov’s Dog, which is a worse cliché.

No-Hair-Fer leads off Tomorrow's Legg Mason Tennis Insanity

Fernando Verdasco, or No-Hair-Fer, as @TennisRomi or @RacquetRequired @onthegotennis aptly designated him, plays Radek Stepanek at 2 p.m on Stadium Court. At 5 p.m., Donald Young takes on Marcos Baghdatis. Young has had a lot of support from the DC-area crowd, and we’d love to see him pull the upset. John Isner will get things going after that against Victor Troicki. Tell the babysitter you’ll be home late, because Thursday’s double-header sweeper Gael Monfils will play Janko Tipsarevic not before 9:15 p.m. If Isner plays a couple more Legg Mason Thai-Breakers against Troicki like he did against Blake, it might be more like not before 10:00 p.m. for Monfils and Tipsy.

John Isner must eat every meal in Washington right here

We miss you guys down there. We’ll see you all weekend. Hope you missed us as much as we missed you. Expect confusing twitter photos and bad press conference questions from 4:00 p.m.

Legg Mason Kid’s Day, Qualifiers ramp up at 10 a.m.


If you’re not already on your way, gather the kids and head to 16th & Kennedy Sts for easily the best family-friendly day in tennis outside Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day. Tennis Maryland visited the site yesterday, and it seems that the tournament and her footprint grow larger every year. Clinics, mascots, bouncy rides and facepaint will abound.  There are also four UVA grads/students playing today, so if you’re a Wahoo, well, Wahoo to you.

Here’s a look at Serbian Viktor Troicki taking first practice on Center Court yesterday at Morris Stadium.