ATP Picks: Metz and St. Petersburg

A couple of 250 events this week kick off the Fall season.

Moselle OpenMetz

France have 14 players in the top 100 and 2 in the top 10, which is a testament to their national tennis programs and coaching. In most cases, they combine power with flair and it’s a joy to watch Gasquet, Tsonga, Llodra and Monfils.

Tsonga returns from injury looking for a hat-trick of titles here, while Gilles Simon anchors the draw with an eye on picking up another title on home soil. Wild cards go to newcomer Albano Olivetti, veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu and Gilles Simon.

open de moselle

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Jo ‘Willy’ Tsonga – Back from injury and looking to capture his 3rd crown in Metz.

Nasty Floater: Nicolas Mahut – The Marathon man could serve and volley his way deep if the courts are quick.

Veteran Watch:
 Ivo Karlovic – The 34 year old is still serving missiles. Gets Querry first round in marquee match.

Up and Coming: Albano Olivetti – A giant serving Frenchman is one to watch and could face the flashy Benoit Paire

Slumping: Sam Querry – He’s been worse but could see his way back here.

On Fire: Phillip Kohlschreiber – P.K had a good summer and should feel like an event like this is within his grasp.

My pick: Gilles Simon – Rock solid and if Tsonga is not fully fit, will pounce.

Did You Know? Frenchman Arnaud Clement won the inaugural tournament in 2003, with countrymen Jerome Haehnel (2004), Gael Monfils (2009), Gilles Simon (2010) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2011-12) following his success.

St. Petersburg OpenSt. Petersburg

Russia have 6 players in the top 100, but they are aging. The glory years of the 90s and 2000s are behind them and rebuilding is needed. They do have 2 bright prospects however in Evgeny Donskoy and Andrey Kuznetsov, ranked 90 and 83 respectively.

Wildcards go to the Russians Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev and Michael Elgin.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 9.26.43 AM

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Martin Klizan –  Been invisible all year but maybe memories of last year will help him.

Nasty Floater:
Marcos ‘The Bagman’ Baghdatis – A few in the draw but Baggy did play well in the US Open and plays Tursunov in marquee first round.

Veteran Watch:
Mikhail ‘The Colonel’ Youzhny – Has a great record here, is in form and is my pick for the final.

Up and Coming: Karen Khachanov – This Russian already dumped Hanescu out so he’s in.

Slumping: Janko Tipsarevic – Had a bad 2013 but with his Davis Cup heroics, could be a turning point. Loves indoors too.

On Fire: Dimitry Tursunov – Had a great summer hard court season. At home, so should continue his form.

My pick: Mikhail ‘The Colonel’ Youzhny – He’ll be gunning like no one else for this.

Did You Know? The St. Petersburg Open began in 1995 when Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov lifted the trophy.

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

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