ATP Picks: Marseille, Rio, Del Ray Beach

Open 13

The Open 13 is one of five French tournaments on the ATP World Tour calendar, held on the Mediterranean coast in the city of Marseille.

The French are in force, fielding 8 players. Wildcards go to big-serving Albano Olivetti; Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis and young Brit Kyle Edmund.

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Jo ‘Willy’ Tsonga – Seeks his 3rd crown here and is has reached 300 career match wins. No. 2 seed here.

Nasty Floater: Igor Sijsling – The big-serving Dutchman has had a good start to the season. Faces tough opener against vet Davydenko.

Up and Coming: Albano Olivetti – Has a massive serve and could cause pose some questions of Ivan Dodig first round.

Slumping: Nicolas Mahut – Had a great 2013 but not got started yet in 2014. Should like these courts.

On Fire: Ernests ‘Lights Out’ Gulbis – Lost to Berdych in the semi-finals last week but showed good form. Gets a good draw here.

My pick: Jo Tsonga – Looks good for a 3rd title here but could face tough final against Gasquet.

Did You Know? Six Frenchmen have lifted the Marseille trophy – Guy Forget-1996; Fabrice Santoro-1999; Arnaud Clement-2006; Gilles Simon-2007; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-2009 & 2013 and Michael Llodra in 2011.

Watch: Tsonga vs. Berdych 2013 Final

Rio Open

The Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv is a new event in the ATP and the WTA calendars. The tournament is held on the eight clay courts of the Jockey Club Brasileiro, including a 6,200-seater Stadium.

Rafael Nadal will headline the 2014 event. “I am looking forward to playing for the first time ever in Rio de Janeiro. I have heard so much about the city, and now I will finally have the opportunity to be there,” said Nadal.

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Clay

Defending Champion: None

Nasty Floater: Jeremy Chardy – Comes in with a 9-4 match record and tests Ferrer in the 1st round.

Up and Coming: Joao Sousa – The Portuguese no. 1 only has 2 match wins this season but does have 1 title to his name.

Slumping: Juan ‘Pico’ Monaco – Not won a match this year and is ranked down at No. 42. Time to get going on the clay Pico.

On Fire: Fabio Fognini – He is 19-1 on clay since last year’s Roland Garros campaign.

My pick: Rafael Nadal – Hard to bet against the man closing in on 700 career match wins.

Did You Know? It is the only combined ATP World Tour 500 and WTA International event in South America.

Delray Beach Open

Lots of fan favorites here this week in Del Ray. Isner, Querry, Haas, Hewitt, Cilic and Nishikori. Pretty good for a 250 level event!

Cilic and Nishikori are bringing the form, so watch out for those two to shine in the Del Ray sun.

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Ernests Gulbis – Skips to play Marseilles this year.

Nasty Floater: Lleyton Hewitt – Won the inaugural Delray Beach title in 1999 as an 18-year-old. He has a 5-1 record in two appearances.

Up and Coming: Vasek Pospisil – Has a 4-1 match record this year. Could be a big threat.

Slumping: Sam Querry – Still stop-starting in 2014. This is his kind of tournament though, so perhaps a change coming.

On Fire: Marin Cilic – A title in Zagreb and a win over Andy Murray. Things are clicking in 2014 under new coach Ivanisevic.

My pick: Kei Nishikori – Playing with new belief under Michael Chang and brings a 7-2 record into the event.

Did You Know? Delray Beach hosts the world’s only combined ATP World Tour/ATP Champions Tour event.

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