Five of the ATP’s top ten will be in Rotterdam for this week’s ATP 500 event. Here are some thoughts from James Peeling on how the draw may unfold.
Juan Martin del Potro headlines the Rotterdam draw as the number one seed. This was somewhat of a surprise after there were confirmed reports that he was struggling with a wrist injury. Del Potro apparently travelled to Rochester in America to consult the same doctor he saw for the other wrist, which sidelined him for a year in 2010. He faces Gael Monfils in the first round, a repeat match-up from the 2013 edition of Rotterdam where Del Potro won 6-3 6-4. Taking into account Del Potro’s recent injury woes and Monfils’s stark improvements in 2014, which included winning an ATP 250 title this week in Montpellier, it is bound to be a much closer match than last year’s clash.
Del Potro is projected to meet Australian Open quarter-finalist, Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight. Dimitrov has made a promising start to the year and made the semi-finals in Rotterdam last year. This is a tournament he has always flourished in having beaten Tomas Berdych in 2009 and pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets. Dimitrov has a workable draw that should see him take advantage of a struggling Del Potro.
At the bottom of the draw, Murray will play Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the first round. Murray, who will also play the formerly clay, but now hard court event in Acapulco later this month, has made a smart move, in my opinion, to get more matches under his belt. Murray could meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals. Murray is not quite there yet in terms of competing at his very best level, but matches over the next couple of weeks should mean that he will be a legitimate contender for Indian Wells next month. Tsonga opens against Florian Mayer and could then meet Zagreb champion, Marin Cilic in the second round. Cilic has a 2-1 head-to-head lead over Tsonga, but the Frenchman will be a danger indoors.
The second quarter features Tomas Berdych and Tommy Haas. Both will play top 35 players in their first round matches as Berdych takes on Andreas Seppi and Haas will play Fernando Verdasco. Haas reached the final in Zagreb, but has been injury prone of late and is unlikely to be able to produce another solid performance next week. Jerzy Janowicz, who reached the semi-finals in Montpellier, was in rather impressive form considering his recent foot injury and would be my tip to make the last eight. The third quarter, which includes Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny is by far the weakest. Gasquet looks to be the clear favourite to come out of this quarter and he has shown decent form in Montpellier where he didn’t lose a set en route to the final.
There are a handful of players who could come through but in my opinion, the winner will come from the quarter featuring Tsonga and Murray. Played on hard indoors and with a stacked line-up, this should be a great week of ATP tennis.
Final Prediction: Tsonga d. Dimitrov
Pundit Arena, James Peeling.