The last tournament before the US Open starts is in beautiful North Carolina and has a field more like a 500 level than 250.
Lots of hard court specialists and a few veterans hanging onto their tour card and needing some wins. Roddick gets Tomas ‘Big Berd’ Berdych in his quarter and could meet good buddy and fellow Vet James Blake in round 2.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 250
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Defending Champion: John Isner – The 27 year old, who beat Julien Benneteau in the 2011 final, returns to defend his title.
Nasty Floater: Gilles Muller – This is one dangerous lefty who’s shown form on the US hard courts this year.
Veteran Watch: Nikolay ‘The Machine’ Davydenko – Hot and Cold for the Russian and could get fellow AARP member Nalbandian 2nd round.
Up and Coming: Martin Klizan – Tearing up the Challenger circuit this year and steps it up here.
Slumping: David ‘Nails’ Nalbandian – I’ll give Donald Young a pass this week and bestow the honor on Nalbandian who’s on a run of 4 consecutive st round losses.
On Fire: Vicktor ‘Tricky’ Troicki – Does a 2 and love beat down of Lleyton Hewitt count? Still impressive to me.
My pick: Tomas Berdych – If he can get his head straight, I like the big Czech to take this one.
Did You Know? John Isner grew up in nearby Greensboro, NC.
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks and amusement!