ATP Picks: Sydney, Auckland

Sydney

Not long till the Aussie Open to get some match practice in for the players but a good chance to acclimatize to the weather. The first week saw some breakthrough performances from Dimitrov, Bautista Agut, John Millman and Aljaz Bedene. The seeds look a little fragile, so they need to be on their game.

Nice 1st rounder includes all the Aussie Bernie Tomic vs. Marinko Matosevic.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Jarkko Nieminen – Won his 2nd career title here last year and is back to defend but pulled with injury last week.

Nasty Floater: Roberto Bautista Agut – Surprise Chennai finalist last week is one to watch.

Veteran Watch:
Tommy ‘Can You See Me’ Robredo – Back from injury and a crucial season for the Spaniard.

Up and Coming: John Millman – Took a set off Andy Murray last week, which is not easy.

Slumping: Feliciano ‘F-Lo’ Lopez – Lost 1st round last week and needs a win.

On Fire: Grigor ‘Baby Fed’ Dimitrov – Lost final to Murray but fulfilling his potential better.

My pick: Gilles Simon – Has some match practice so picking him to nick this one.

Did You Know? Lleyton Hewitt won the Sydney title 4 times in 4 straight appearances.

Watch: Sydney Uncovered

Auckland

This tournament sees many players out for the first time this season. The ever-ready Ferrer tops the trickier top half of the draw with Querry and Haas looking to get some match practice.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: David ‘The Wall’ Ferrer – A ‘shock’ loss to former world number 3 Davydenko last week, looking to get back on track.

Nasty Floater: Benoit Paire – Streaky Frenchman could meet Ferrer in round 2.

Veteran Watch:
Xavier ‘X-Man’ Malisse – Gets tough opener against Klizan. Could be a long season for the X-Man.

Up and Coming: Jerzy Janowicz – Can the big Pole live up to his new seeded status?

Slumping: Gael ‘Force’ Monfils – New coach and needs to turn career around.

On Fire: Paolo Lorenzi – Had a great week last week but gets a tough draw.

My pick: Phillip ‘PK’ Kohlschreiber – Taking a flyer on PK to take down Ferrer. Call me a gambler.

Watch: Auckland Uncovered

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