We move onto the the oldest Tennis club in Spain for a high class tournament with a strong field. No Djokovic or Federer, but it looks like Murray is finding momentum and it will be interesting to see how Soderling does on the dirt this year. Nishikori is my dark horse, based on his efforts in Houston despite the toughness of his quarter. Defending champ Verdasco desperately needs to get his season going, so he should be pumped.
Melzer and Ferrer should be dangerous but could meet again in the quarters. Rafa looks to have an easy draw until perhaps meeting Soderling in the semi-finals, who can cause him problems as we well know. It would be boring to predict Rafa winning every clay event this year, so I am going to assume he gets injured or gets beaten by Soderling for a Ferrer tournament win, but don’t for heaven’s sake put any money down against him.
Let’s look at some potential good 1st rounders, upsets and winners:
Top 1st Round Match: Nikolay Davydenko vs. Alex ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov
Dark Horse: Kei Nishikori
Defending Champion: Fernando Verdasco
Wild Cards: Juan Monaco, Albert Ramos
Late Withdrawals: Tommy Robredo, Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray
My pick: David Ferrer
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more predictions!