Last Call for Dirtball: 2013 ATP Kitzbuhel Preview, Predictions

Kitzbuhel Bet at Home Cup Site

Dirtballers unite! The last clay court event of 2013 has arrived!

I’m talking about the ATP 250 event in Kiztbuhel, Austria.

bet-at-home Cup Kitzbuhel

ATP World Tour 250
Kitzbuhel, Austria
July 28-August 3, 2013
Prize Money: €467,800

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)

1: Phillip Kohlschreiber
2: Juan Monaco
3: Fernando Verdasco
4: Jurgen Melzer

First Round matchups to watch:

Carlos Berlocq vs. Daniel Brands

Berlocq comes off a bad 2nd round loss in Umag to the poor form Horacio Zeballos, but has performed very well on clay post-Wimbledon. He will get a tough opening round meeting with Daniel Brands, who he has never played before. Brands topped Roger Federer en route to the Gstaad quarters, and I give a slight edge to Argentine Berlocq in this match.


Top Half:

Kohlschreiber hasn’t played since Stuttgart, where he reached the final, and he will play the winner of Leo Mayer/Kenny De Schepper in his opening match. In the quarters, Kohli will most likely face Gstaad quarterfinalist Marcel Granollers, if Granollers can beat Mate Pavic and Horacio Zeballos/Qualifier. Zeballos retired in his last match in Umag with a back problem.

Fernando Verdasco comes off quarters in Hamburg and will take on Thomaz Bellucci or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Bellucci lost his opening match in Gstaad, and GGL lost in the 2nd round of the same event. Verdasco should face Berlocq/Brands or current Gstaad finalist and twice defending champ Robin Haase. Haase opens with Guillaume Rufin in Round 1.

Bottom Half:

Gstaad quarterfinalist Pico Monaco will face Andreas Haider-Maurer or a qualifier. Haider-Maurer retired from his last match in Umag. In the quarters, Monaco should face Roberto Bautista Agut, if RBA can beat a qualifier and Dani Gimeno Traver/Qualifier.

Jurgen Melzer will be in his first tournament back since Wimbledon, hopefully fresh and healthy, as he takes on Andrey Kuznetsov or up-and-coming Austrian wildcard Dominic Thiem. The winner will get one of Gstaad semifinalist Victor Hanescu/Umag quarterfinalist Aljaz Bedene/Umag quarterfinalist Albert Montanes/Adrian Ungur, in a stacked section.

Dark Horse: Albert Montanes

Montanes can play very well periodically and does his best on clay. I mostly picked him as a darkhorse becuase of his draw. After Ungur, he will get Hanescu or Bedene. Hanescu may be tired and Bedene was honestly lucky to make the Umag quarters. With Melzer the seed in the quarterfinals section, the semifinals or even a final is possible, depending on Melzer’s form (and Monaco’s).



Verdasco d. Kohlschreiber

Monaco d. Montanes

Verdasco, assuming he can get past Kitzbuhel GOAT Haase.

If Robin makes it that far, he is 4-5 career against Peppo but they haven’t played since 2010.

I still give the Spaniard an ever-so-slight edge to advance.

Monaco isn’t in the greatest form, but beyond Bautista-Agut, I see nobody to stop him until the final.

Montanes, Melzer or perhaps Hanescu probably won’t. Montanes is 2-1 against Monaco, but his 2 wins were back in 2006 and 2009. Monaco won the 2012 meeting in 3 sets on clay.


Verdasco d. Monaco

Monaco is 4-2 against Verdasco on clay, and 5-4 overall.

But given their current form, I still like Verdasco if this is the final.

—Steen Kirby

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2013 ATP Dusseldorf, Nice Previews

2013 ATP Dusseldorf, Nice Previews
Steen Kirby,

Power Horse Cup

It’s time for the final stops on the road to Roland Garros for the ATP World Tour.

ATP Dusseldorf

Power Horse Cup
ATP World Tour 250
Dusseldorf, Germany
May 19-May 25, 2013
Prize Money: € 410,200

Dusseldorf was formerly known as the “World Team Cup”, a team based event, but now it is just a normal clay court ATP 250.

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Janko Tipsarevic
2: Tommy Haas
3: Juan Monaco
4: Phillip Kohlschreiber

Dusseldorf manages to bring in a solid field for a pre-slam 250.

First round matchups to watch:

(5)Lukas Rosol vs. Daniel Brands

Rosol is at a career high ranking of 33, and is looking to break into the top 30 with a solid showing. He won Bucharest of course and has been red hot this year. Now he will run into Brands, who has a 3-2 career H2H against him, though they last played in 2011. Brands is also at a career high ranking of 58 and is having his own excellent year. This should be a matchup of heavy ball strikers.

Top Half:

Janko Tipsarevic, who has had a miserable year thus far, will once again try to get it going against a qualifier. After that, he could face countryman Viktor Troicki, Bordeaux Challenger semifinalist David Goffin, Grega Zemlja or Michael Russell. Troicki made headlines with a crazy meltdown in Rome in a match against Ernest Gulbis.

Juan Monaco, who defeated Tipsarevic in the first round of Madrid but lost in the first round of Rome to eventual semifinalist Benoit Paire, will play a qualifier or Go Soeda. For the next round, expect him to meet one of Benjamin Becker/Tobias Kamke, Dmitry Tursunov/Nikolay Davydenko, this is quite a hollow section for Pico.

Bottom Half:

Phillip Kohlschreiber, who retired in the 3rd round in Rome with symptoms of vertigo, will play Igor Sijsling or a qualifier. If he is healthy, he should face Rosol/Brands or Jan Hajek/Evgeny Donskoy in a big quarterfinal matchup. Donskoy lost in the first round qualifying of Rome.

Tommy Haas, the German number one who was dropped out of the first round in Rome, will play Blaz Kavcic or the underappreciated Ivan Dodig. The winner could face Jarkko Nieminen/Lukas Lacko, or Roberto Bautista Agut/Gilles Muller. Nieminen lost Round 1 to Gulbis in Rome, while Bautista Agut has slumped a bit after issues with his wrist. Haas defeated Dodig in the Munich semis recently.

Dark Horse: Dmitry Tursunov

Tursunov still has talent left at age 30, but he is just inconsistent at this point with it. Overall, he has a 10-6 record at the ATP level this year and his ranking is back to 57. If he beats countryman Davydenko, Becker/Kamke should be easy enough and then he probably runs into Monaco. They have only met once back in ’06 and thus it would be a fresh slate. That match could shake out either way, with Monaco being a slight favorite heading in. The quarter above with Tipsarevic, Goffin and Troicki as top players is considerably weaker, so it really comes down to the quarterfinal match in regards to how far he can advance.


Monaco d. Goffin
Kohlschreiber d. Haas

Monaco, if in form,should cruise to the final. Goffin did well to make the Bordeaux Challenger semis but he may be fatigued from that, probably still has enough to beat the struggling Tipsarevic. Haas beat Kohlischreiber in the Munich final, but I have a feeling that if Peppo is healthy he will get revenge this time.

Monaco d. Kohlschreiber

This final is a tossup based upon form and health, as a Haas-Monaco final would be, but I’ll just flip a coin and say Monaco wins either way, probably in 3 sets.

ATP Nice

Nice Logo

Open de Nice Cote d’Azur
ATP World Tour 250
Nice, France
May 19-May 25, 2013
Prize Money: € 410,200

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)

1: Albert Montanes*
2: Gilles Simon
3: Sam Querrey
4: John Isner

*Tomas Berdych was supposed to be the top seed in Nice but he withdrew, moving Albert Montanes into the number 1 seed line.

1st round matchups to watch:

Santiago Giraldo vs (WC) Gael Monfils

Giraldo is your average, steady but not fantastic clay courter, but what makes this match interesting is the form of Monfils. Le Monf is in the final of the Bordeaux Challenger after limping and jumping his way through injuries and rust and everything else this year. It is impossible to predict what form and health he will show up in here. He could either do really well or bomb out in the first round. It really is something to watch.

Top Half:

The alternate, Montanes, will play Albert Ramos or Victor Hanescu. Then, Ramos will likely face Marcel Granollers or Carlos Berlocq. Leo Mayer and Paul-Henri Mathieu are also options in a literally wide open section.

Sam Querrey, who has looked aloof on Red Clay thus far, will play a qualifier and then could play Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Alejandro Falla, Ricardas Berankos or Denis Istomin. Querrey has been poor on clay, but this section is one of the least troubling he could ever hope for.

Bottom Half:

Top French seed Gilles Simon will play Paolo Lorenzi or a qualifier and then could meet up with Madrid semifinalist Pablo Andujar, if Andujar can beat Lleyton Hewitt and Andreas Seppi/Yen-Hsun Lu. Seppi has been playing below his normal level as of late.

John Isner, who has also struggled this year and looked aloof on clay, will play Robin Haase or Marinko Matosevic, and odds are lose to either one. After that, it will be Monfils/Giraldo, a qualifier, or Fabio Fognini.

Dark Horse: Gael Monfils

Monfils could either lose in the first round or win the entire tournament. It is that wide open of a draw and he is that unpredictable right now. After the match with Giraldo he could play Fognini again, a difficult but winnable match. If he gets through that Robin Haase is his likely opponent, followed by Andujar, Lorenzi or countryman Simon, who he just loves to rally with.


Ramos d. Roger-Vasselin
Fognini d. Andujar

The top half is open and weak but I’ll go with Ramos, and randomly go with Roger-Vasselin simply because he is ok on clay and the home player. Even a qualifier could emerge as a semifinalist in that section.

Fognini should be able to get by Monfils and Haase and Andujar is dangerous but inconsistent. I say he beats the steady but bland Simon, though.

Fognini d. Ramos

This is a difficult tournament to predict, but I’ll go with Fogna in what would be a rematch of their 2nd round Monte Carlo encounter this year.

2012 ATP Eastbourne Preview #AEGONInternational


2012 ATP Eastbourne Preview

By Steen Kirby,

ATP Eastbourne
AEGON International
ATP World Tour 250
June 17- June 23 2012
€ 455,700
Top 4 seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Richard Gasquet
2: Marcel Granollers
3:  Andreas Seppi*
4: Bernard Tomic
*Seppi will seek to defend his title in Eastbourne.
1st round matchups to watch:
Sam Querrey vs. Andy Roddick
Querrey, who comes off a semi final run at Queen’s Club, will take on a struggling Roddick, who is desperately trying to get his mojo back before Wimbledon. Both guys could use a good run here. 
Yen-Hsun Lu vs. Julien Benneteau
Lu, ranked just inside the top 60, comes off a surprising quarterfinal run in London where he knocked off top 10 player Janko Tipsarevic, the hard serving Ivo Karlovic and vet Igor Kunitsyn all in 3 sets. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire against Marin Cilic, but will hopefully be rested up to take on 5 seed Benneteau. 
Michael Llodra vs. Denis Istomin
Exciting serve and volleyer Llodra, a naturally adept player on grass, will take on Istomin. Istomin lost in the 2nd round at Queen’s Club to Querrey last week. 

Top Half:
Top seed Gasquet will begin his Wimbledon tune up against either James Ward or a qualifier. He could then face Spaniard Pablo Andujar or the aggressive vet Marcos Baghdatis.
4 seed Bernard Tomic, who retired in the 1st round against Tommy Haas in Halle this week, will face either the winner of Fabio Fognini vs Albert Ramos and then could face the big servers Roddick/Querrey or Jeremy Chardy/Qualifier. 
Bottom Half:
2 seed Marcel Granollers will actually be a likely underdog against Istomin/Llodra. The winner will face Benneteau/Lu, Ryan Harrison or a qualifier.
Defending champ and 3 seed Andreas Seppi will take on either Mikhail Kukukshkin or Carlos Berlocq. He would then have the unfortunate luck of getting a pretty sharp playing Philip Kohlschreiber, who comes off an upset of Nadal in Halle and is seeded 7th here. Peppo will play Go Soeda and then the Donald Young vs. Jamie Baker winner. 
Dark Horse: Philip Kohlschreiber
In one of the weaker fields of the year, Peppo has a good chance to shine and continue the momentum from his upset of Nadal in Halle. Later, he fell to Tommy Haas in the semis but still played well against the streaking Haas.  If he can get through Seppi, he has a very good chance to win the tournament as Tomic is struggling and Gasquet is, well, Gasquet…

Gasquet d. Querrey
Kohlschreiber d. Llodra
Kohlschreiber d. Gasquet

Del Po defends Estoril title, Kohlschreiber takes Munich, Seppi wins 2nd career title in Belgrade

Del Po defends Estoril title, Kohlschreiber takes Munich, Seppi wins 2nd career title in Belgrade

By Steen Kirby,

ATP Estoril:
Juan Martin Del Potro successfully defended his title in Estoril, taking out 2 seed Richard Gasquet in the final, 6-4 6-2.
Del Potro cruised through his week in Estoril taking out Rui Machado, Albert Montanes and Stanislas Wawrinka in succession before finishing off Gasquet, who had beaten  Paolo Lorenzi, Daniel Munoz-De La Nava and Albert Ramos to reach the final.
Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands took the doubles title over Austrian Julian Knowle and Spaniard David Marrero, 7-5 7-5.

ATP Munich:
Phillip Kohlschreiber captured the 2nd Munich title of his career (the other being in 2007) taking out Marin Cilic, 7-6 6-3.  Kohlschreiber, the 4 seed and one of the home favorites, took out Ernest Gulbis, Marinko Matosevic and Feliciano Lopez, the 2 seed in 3 sets, to reach the final.
Cilic,  the 3 seed, who continues to improve in his comeback efforts, took out ATP Bucharest semi-finalist Matthias Bachinger, Mikhail Youzhny and surprise semi-finalist Tommy Haas. Haas brought back memories of the past in his upset of top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the week, along with a victory over Marcos Baghadatis and a 1st round drubbing of countryman Michael Berrer.
Top seeds Frantisek  Cermak and Filip Polasek, of the Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively, won the doubles title over Xaiver Malisse and Dick Norman of Belgium,  6-4 7-5. 

ATP Belgrade:

Andreas Seppi won his 2nd career ATP World Tour title with a 6-3 6-2 victory over surprise finalist Benoit Paire of France.  The Italian, Seppi, who was seeded 2nd,  took out Ivan Dodig, Gilles Muller and 4 seed David Nalbandian in 3 sets to reach the final.
Paire upset 6 seed and ATP Bucharest finalist Fabio Fognini in the 1st round and followed it up with 3 set victories over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 3 seed Jarkko Niemenen  and top seed Pablo Andujar  to reach the final.
Israeli Danger Duo Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won the Belgrade doubles title over Martin Emmrich and Andreas Siljestrom.

2012 Munich Preview #ATP

2012 ATP Munich Preview

by Steen Kirby,
BMW Open
ATP World Tour 250
Munich, Germany
April 30-May 5, 2012
Prize Money: € 398,250
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nicolas Almagro and Feliciano Lopez headline the field at the BMW Munich Open on the clay courts, where veteran Russian Nikolay Davydenko will try to defend his title.
Top 4 Seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2: Feliciano Lopez
3: Marin Cilic
4: Phillip Kohlschreiber
1st round matchups to watch:

 Michael Berrer vs. Tommy Haas

2 veteran Germans wild card beneficiaries will duke it out.  Berrer’s serve and volleying style creates an interesting match-up with Haas, whose game is well suited for clay.
Alejandro Falla vs. Matthias Bachinger
Bucharest semi-finalist and local favorite Bachinger will take on the Colombian Falla.
Cedrik Marcel-Stebe vs.  Sergiy Stakhovsky
The promising young German Stebe is fun to watch and will take on Ukrainian Stakhovsky, who fell to Andy Murray last week in Barcelona.
Top Half:

Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face either Haas or Berrer before a possible match-up with another German, Daniel Brands (a wildcard), 8 seed Marcos Baghdatis, a qualifier or Tobias Kamke. If Kamke advances as expected, he will likely face 3 seed Marin Cilic.
Cilic will open up against Bachinger or Falla, followed by a match-up with 6 seed Mikhail Youzhny, Petzschner, Santiago Giraldo or Steve Darcis of Belgium.
Bottom Half:

2 seed Feliciano Lopez will start off against Stebe or Stakhovsky before a possible match-up with 5 seed Bernard Tomic (Potito Starace, Olivier Rochus or a qualifier are also possibilities).  He would likely face 4 seed Phillip Kohlschreiber in the semis.  
Kohlschreiber will face Xaivier Malisse or Ernest Gulbis. If he can advance he will face Mikhail Kukukshkin, Nikolay Davydenko or a qualifier.
Dark Horse: X-Man Xaiver Malisse
Malisse, a former top 25 player who knocked off 2 seed Florian Mayer last week in Bucharest, will face Ernest Gulbis in the 1st round.  If he advances, he will face the 4 seed Kohlschreiber, who lost to Tsonga in Monte Carlo. If he can pull off the upset, he will likely face Kukushkin or Daveydenko. Though he won’t be favored, all his matches are winnable.  

Tsonga d. Cilic
Lopez d. Kohlschreiber 
Lopez d. Tsonga
Lopez, a semi-finalist on the clay in Houston will try and overcome a tough 3 set loss to David Ferrer in the Barcelona quarterfinals and capture the title in Munich.
On one other note, Pablo Andujar is the top seed in Belgrade as Novak Djokovic chose to skip his own tournament (partly owned by the Djokovic family). Andreas Seppi, Jarkko Nieminen and David Nalbandian are also in the field.  The other top Serbian players, Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki, also chose to skip ATP Belgrade.