We’re in Austria this week to a historic tournament that dates back to 1970. It had a hiatus for a couple of years, but seems to back in the calendar for a while. Verdasco and Monaco are back and have good records here, both could pick up the title here if they hit their stride.
Austrian tennis is in rough shape. No clear ‘successor’ to Jurgen Melzer apart from Andreas Haider-Maurer, who is yet to make an impact.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 250
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Defending Champion: Robin Haase – The two-time defending champion with a 9-0 record here, goes for a third and is finding form again.
Nasty Floater: Daniel Brands – Federer’s conquerer last week and can trouble 1st round opponent Carlos Berlocq.
Veteran Watch: Jurgen ‘Tuna’ Melzer – The 32 year old owns a 17-18 record this year and returns to his homeland in decent form.
Up and Coming: Aljaz Bedene – Playing well but gets the seasoned Hanescu in round 1
Slumping: Thomaz Bellucci – The former world #21 is now ranked 113 and is 8-11 this year. Is in desperate need to do well here this week.
On Fire: Robin Haase – Seems to love this time of year as he’s getting back to his best form.
My pick: Juan Monaco – Narrowly lost to Youzhny last week but you can’t keep a good man down.
Did You Know? ATP World Tour tennis returned to Kitzbuhel in 2011 after a one-year absence
The big 500 tournament in Washington D.C is an important even in the US Open Series. It’s a great opportunity to see a lot of good hard courters in one place and to check out how the latest US players are faring.
Well-chosen wildcards go to Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla, Jack Sock and James Duckworth with plenty of other US talent on display including Mardy Fish, Ryan Harrison, Rajeev Ram, Sam Querry, John Isner and James Blake. US tennis could be worse shape.
ATP Level: 500
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Defending Champion: Alexandr ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov – Not having a great season so far coming in 15-15 but he likes hard courts and will be motivated.
Nasty Floater: Gael ‘Force’ Monfils – Had a good week in Umag and if his head is right can blow most players away. We’ll see which Monfils shows up here.
Veteran Watch: Tommy ‘Gun’ Haas – First competed in Washington in 1997 and will be making his eighth appearance (15-7 record).
Up and Coming: Denis Kudla – An exciting talent who gets a qualifier in round 1 and could face Raonic.
Slumping: Sam Querry – Needs to get some mojo working again and where better than on home soil?
On Fire: Lleyton Hewitt – Could face Del Potro in the 2nd round, which would be a cracker.
My pick: Juan ‘The Hammer’ Del Potro – Loves playing the US hard courts and with no Murray, Nadal 0r Djokovic in the field, is the man to beat.
Did You Know? The Citi Open at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park is one of only eleven prestigious ATP World Tour 500 tournaments