ATP Picks: Metz and St. Petersburg

A couple of events this week kick off the Fall season.

Moselle OpenMetz

Frenchman love this event, with Arnaud Clement winning the inaugural tournament in 2003, followed by Jerome Haehnel (2004), Gael Monfils (2009), Gilles Simon (2010) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2011). Monfils returns form injury (again) and there are 7 Frenchmen in the main draw, so the odds of a French winner look good again.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Jo ‘Willy’ Tsonga – Coming off a disappointing US Open but will feel comfortable back home.

Nasty Floater: Cedrik Marcel Stebe  – CMS played great against Australia in Davis Cup and could upend a seed here.

Veteran Watch:
 James ‘Breaking Back’ Blake – Clock is ticking for James. Needs to win some main tour matches toward the end of the year.

Up and Coming: Igor Sijsling – With 3 challenger tour titles to his name, one to watch.

Slumping: Nikolay Davydenko – The Machine is breaking down and time is running out for him too.

On Fire: Florian Mayer – With 2 crushing wins in Davis Cup, the awkward one is back.

My pick: Jo Tsonga – You can’t count this heavyweight out.

Did You Know? It’s yellow limestone architecture gives it the nickname ‘The Green City.’ 

St. Petersburg OpenSt. Petersburg

The St. Petersburg Open began in 1995 when Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov lifted the trophy. Since then, Russian tennis has ebbed and flowed. Right now it’s ebbing and their veteran players are hanging in there, but for how much longer?

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Marin Cilic – Having a good year but skips the event this time.

Nasty Floater:
Sergiy ‘Stakka Bo’ Stakhovsky – Been radio silent for a while, but his game is suited to fast indoor courts.

Veteran Watch:
Mikhail Youzhny – Top seed but with something to prove; this Russian patriot would love to win a home event.

Up and Coming: Vasek Pospisil – Young Canadian gets Youzhny 1st round. Should be interesting.

Slumping: Igor Andreev – This guy’s career is really going out with a whimper.

On Fire: Yen Hsun Lu – He’s crushing it on the Challenger tour recently. Watch out!

My pick: Mikhail Youzhny – I think he has enough game and motivation to take this one in front of the home crowd.

Did You Know? Marat Safin and Andy Murray are the only  winners of consecutive titles here.

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks and amusement!

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