ATP Picks: Vienna, Stockholm, Moscow

It’s hard to keep track this week, as we visit 3 beautiful European cities.

Erste Bank OpenVienna

The Austrian capital plays host to the Erste Open with a weaker field in my opinion than the other events playing this week. The top 4 seeds look in good shape, although Del Potro is coming off an injury. Past champ Melzer will look to re-kindle some form at home, while Tipsarevic is looking to qualify for London and will be hungry.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Jo Tsonga – Skips this one to play Stockholm.

Nasty Floater: Ernests Gulbis (WC) – Could face Tipsarevic in round 2. Then again, could lose to Devvarman.

Veteran Watch:
 Jurgen Melzer – Won here twice and should see his way to the semi-finals at least.

Up and Coming: Andreas Haider-Maurer – Tall Austrian could face countryman Melzer and is one to watch.

Slumping: Guillermo ‘Go-Lo’ Garcia Lopez – Loves indoors but can’t find his range in 2012.

On Fire: Tommy ‘Gun’ Haas – Age no matter for Tommy. Looks good to win his 500th career match this week.

My pick: Juan Del Potro – The big man looks a good bet if he can stay injury free this week. 

Did You Know? Former World No. 1 Thomas Muster played his final ATP World Tour tournament at the age of 44. The Austrian was beaten in the first round by 18-year-old countryman Dominic Thiem.

If Stockholm OpenStockholm

While Swedish tennis is in the doldrums, they still can put on a great tournament. A solid field this week with 2 top 10 players in attendance.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Gael ‘Force’ Monfils – Unseeded and in a tough quarter with Berdych and Youzhny.

Nasty Floater:
Kevin ‘Mr.’ Anderson – Slipped down the rankings but played well last week and tackles Hewitt 1st round.

Veteran Watch:
Lleyton ‘Rusty’ Hewitt (WC) – Yet another wildcard but still good to see him playing. Tough opener against Anderson.

Up and Coming: David ‘The Boffin’ Goffin – Should play Baghdatis hard but Baggy is playing well.

Slumping: Sergiy Stakhovsky – Where has this guy been? He owns 4 career titles!

On Fire: Marcos ‘The Bagman’ Baghdatis – Finally getting some traction on court and could do well this week.

My pick: Tomas ‘T-Berd’ Berdych – Another loss to Djokovic last week but won’t have to worry about him here.

Did You Know? There have been six different Swedish titlists in the tournament’s history. Thomas Johansson was the last one in 2004.

Kremlin CupMoscow

In 2011, Janko Tipsarevic defeated Viktor Troicki in the first-ever all-Serbian final on the ATP World Tour. This year, Tipsarevic opts for Vienna but Troicki returns.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Janko Tipsarevic – In Austria.

Nasty Floater: Ivo Karlovic – The Ace machine is in Dolgopolov’s quarter.

Veteran Watch:
 Nikolay ‘The Machine’ Davydenko – Plays fellow ‘Russian’ Bogomolov and could get Karlovic who he owns.

Up and Coming: Andrey Kuznetzov (WC) – Has won 4 challenger titles this year and the future of Russian tennis?

Slumping: Alex ‘Back in the USSR’ Bogomolov Jr. – Since turning Russian, not the same player. 

On Fire: Alex Dolgopolov – Seems to have come alive again since winning Washington and is the best player in the field.

My pick: Alex Dolgopolov – The quickest service action on tour and on quick courts, looks a likely winner.

Did You Know? Russian players have dominated the event, winning 14 of the 21 titles, with Yevgeny Kafelnikov winning a record five consecutive titles between 1997-2001.

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

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