ATP Picks: San Jose, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo

San Jose

This week, tournaments come at us faster than a net-rushing Michael Llodra!

A North America heavy draw with lots of potentially good match ups this week in San Jose. American traitor Jesse Levine squares off against one to watch Bradley Kahn and the semi-finals could see Raonic vs. Querry and Haas vs. Isner.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Milos Raonic – The Canadian Rocket is aiming for his 3rd straight title here.

Nasty Floater: Ivo Karlovic – The human landline could serve anyone out of the draw here.

Veteran Watch:
 Lleyton Hewitt – Goonies never say die! Rusty playing well despite injuries and age.

Up and Coming: Bradley Kahn – Been up and coming for a while but could win some matches this week.

Slumping: John Isner – Had a bad Davis Cup and needs to kick it back into gear this week.

On Fire: Sam ‘Samurai’ Querry – Had a good Davis Cup and needs to keep it in top gear.

My pick: Milos Raonic – He loves San Jose and vice versa.

Did You Know? The SAP Open is the second oldest men’s professional tennis tournament in the United States, first held in 1889.

Rotterdam

Richard Krajicek lured in Federer last year and keeps the players happy at this 500 level event. A pretty stacked draw with some nice match ups including battle of the young bloods in Tomic vs. Dimitrov. The Dutch provide 3 good talents on display for the home crowd to get behind with Igor Sijsling beginning to string some wins together.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Roger Federer – The Swiss Army Knife is back to defend and get some mojo going headed into the March hard court events.

Nasty Floater: Gael ‘Force’ Monfils – Gets Del Potro 1st round and things should get interesting.

Veteran Watch:
  Michael Llodra – Serve and Volley slows down aging in tennis players and he loves indoor hard courts.

Up and Coming: Benoit Paire – A finalist in Montpellier last week and putting some results together.

Slumping: Gilles Simon – Early round loss last week in Montpellier.

On Fire: Richard ‘Head’ Gasquet – Won 2 titles already this season and gunning for more.

My pick: Roger Federer – Should have enough motivation to retain the trophy again.

Did You Know? The first edition of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, held in 1974, was won by Dutch tennis ace Tom Okker.

Watch: Richard Krajicek on the tournament

Sao Paulo

The Golden Swing picks up pace in Brazil with Nadal continuing his comeback. Home favorite Bellucci will want to do well and gets a favorable draw. Juan Monaco needs to make amends but this has a Nadal vs. Almagro smackdown written all over it.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Clay

Defending Champion: Nicolas Almagro – Normally could say he’s a shoe-in to retain but Rafa cancels that out.

Nasty Floater: David ‘Nails’ Nalbandian – Always a joy to see his name in the draw.

Veteran Watch:  Albert Montanes – Played well last week and his backhand never gets old.

Up and Coming: Albert Ramos – Had a good week last week but is in Rafa’s quarter.

Slumping: Juan ‘Pico’ Monaco – Beaten by Guillaume Rufin last week. Enough said.

On Fire: Horacio Zeballos – Finally doing something in singles after strong doubles performances.

My pick: Rafa Nadal – Call me controversial.

Did You Know? The tournament also moved from outdoors to indoors due to regular wet weather in Sao Paulo in February.

Watch: San Jose, Rotterdam, Costa do Sauipe Uncovered

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