ATP Picks: Dubai, Acapulco, Sao Paulo

Dubai Duty Free Tennis

There are some real bruisers coming to the desert this week in Dubai. The Bigs include Del Potro; the in-form Berdych; 3-time champ Djokovic; Tsonga; and 5-time champ Federer.

Federer could get Djokovic in the semi-finals while Berdych could tussle with Del Potro. Wildcards go to James Ward, Somdev Devvarman and Malik Jaziri. Lots of points and money to play for – should be fun!

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Indoor Hard

Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – The Serb, who has a 28-3 tournament record, won three successive titles between 2009-11.

Nasty Floater: Florian Mayer – Owns a 7-4 match record this season and the most awkward game to play.

Up and Coming: Roberto Bautista Agut – The slayer of Del Potro at the Aussie Open is through to round 2.

Slumping: Mikhail ‘The Colonel’ Youzhny – Owns a 1-4 match record this season. Not the stats of a world no. 16.

On Fire: Tomas Berdych – Comes into Dubai having ended a 16-month title drought with victory in Rotterdam.

My pick: Novak Djokovic – The Serb, who has a 28-3 tournament record here looks good for a fifth title.

Did You Know? The tournament has won the ATP World Tour 500 award nine times in 10 years (2003-06, 2008-12).

Watch: Dubai Uncovered 2014

Abierto Mexicano Telcel

The Abierto Mexicano Telcel used to be part of the Golden Swing clay schedule but they switched to hard courts, so the make-up of players looks very different this year.

Headlining are Ferrer and Murray; Nishikori pulled out with a hip injury.

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal – Not playing this week.

Nasty Floater: Alex ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov – Made the final last week in Rio and seems to be back on form

Up and Coming: Grigor Dimitrov – The Bulgarian is chasing his second career title.

Slumping: Sam Querry – Carries a 3-7 match record into the event. Gets a wildcard first round for confidence.

On Fire: Ernests ‘Lights Out’ Gulbis – Won his 5th career title last week and is in the top 20.

My pick: Andy Murray – A tough year so far, but he’s the top dog in this field.

Did You Know? In 2007, Acapulco won the ATP World Tour award for best tournament of the year in its category.

Brasil Open

After 11 successful years in Costa do Sauipe, the Brasil Open moved in 2012 to Sao Paulo, where it was played at the Complexo Desportivo Constâncio Vaz Guimarães on indoor clay.

No real surprises in the entrance field except 35 year-old Tommy Haas has elected to play for the first time – he must have heard the beaches were good.

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Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Indoor Clay

Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal – Not playing.

Nasty Floater: Thomaz Bellucci – Finally finding form after a good run in Rio last week with wins over Geraldo and Monaco.

Up and Coming: Guido Pella – The 23 year old left hander form Argentina gets compatriot Leonardo Mayer.

Slumping: Juan Monaco – Looking to find his top form after winning just one match in three tournaments this season.

On Fire: Thomaz Bellucci – Plays Giraldo again this week. Another win could see a decent run.

My pick: Nicolas Almagro – The clay masters are not here this week. Just how he likes it.

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

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