10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com


Photo by @rothenbaum via Instagram.
Photo by @rothenbaum via Instagram.

Two of this past week’s title winners, David Ferrer and Andrey Rublev, are getting right back on the court at the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg. Ferrer is recently captured the 27th ATP title of his career in Bastad, while the 19-year-old Rublev was a lucky loser in Umag and rolled all the way to the winner’s trophy.


Having failed to win a title since the fall of 2015, the 35-year-old Ferrer took care of business in Bastad with defeats of Federico Delbonis, Dustin Brown, Henri Laaksonen (saved two match points), Fernando Verdasco, and Alexandr Dolgopolov. He will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Hamburg first round and could meet Karen Khachanov in the quarters.


Rublev’s run in Umag also featured one victory in a third-set tiebreaker (over Fabio Fognini) prior to a 6-4, 6-2 thrashing of Paolo Lorenzi in Sunday’s championship match. The Russian will try to continue his hot streak when he takes the court against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Hamburg opening round. Either Rublev or Kohlschreiber will battle Gilles Simon in the second round before a possible encounter with Benoit Paire in the last eight.


The top seeds in Hamburg are No. 1 Albert Ramos-Vinolas and No. 2 Pablo Cuevas.


Although Hamburg offers 500 points to its champion, the Swiss Open Gstaad actually boasts the strongest field this week. Featured in the field of that 250-point event are David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut, Feliciano Lopez, and Fabio Fognini, all of whom have first-round byes. Lorenzi is also back in action, while an impressive unseeded group includes Dolgpolov, Dustin Brown, Ernests Gulbis, and Mikhail Youzhny.


Goffin will kick off his campaign against Youzhny or Radu Albot and the top-seeded Belgian could face Dolgopolov in the quarters. Bautista Agut is on a collision course for the last eight with Brown, while Fognini is in a section that also includes Lorenzi and Gulbis.


Action is underway here at the #BBTAO! Come check out the Qualifying rounds today and tomorrow – Photo by @bbtatlantaopen via Instagram.

Meanwhile, the 2017 U.S. Open Series is beginning on the hard courts of the BB&T Atlanta Open. John Isner has reached Atlanta final on four straight occasions and the only active player who has defeated him at this event is no longer in the field. Nick Kyrgios’ withdrawal leaves the three-time champion Isner as the clear favorite to triumph once again at what his arguable his favorite tournament.


Kyrgios toppled the 6’10” American 7-6(3), 7-6(4) in last season’s final. This time around, however, the 21st-ranked Australian is sidelined by a hip issue that also forced him to retire from his opening match at Wimbledon.


“Having to make the decision not to defend my title at the BB&T Atlanta Open was really tough and disappointing,” Kyrgios lamented. “We were very hopeful up to the last moment that my hip could respond and allow me to compete at the highest level, but unfortunately it’s just not ready. I hope all of the fans in Atlanta know that I wish I could have returned to win again, and hopefully I will be able to do so in the future.”


“Everyone in Atlanta wishes Nick the best and a speedy recovery back to ATP World Tour action,” tournament director Eddie Gonzalez added. “He has been a great BB&T Atlanta Open champion and we look forward to welcoming him back in the years to come.”


Isner’s return to Atlanta was never in doubt. The world No. 20 is 23-4 lifetime at this event with titles in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He was runner-up to Mardy Fish in 2010 and 2011 before falling to eventual champion Andy Roddick in the 2012 semis. All of Isner’s losses aside from the one against Kyrgios have come in three sets. Isner will be even more confident coming off a title last week in Newport, where he got the job done in all four of his matches in straight sets and did not face a single break point.


Seeded second behind compatriot Jack Sock, Isner will open against either Vasek Pospisil or Bjorn Fratangelo following a first-round bye. Gilles Muller, who upset Rafael Nadal on the way to the Wimbledon quarters, is the No. 3 seed and also owns a free pass to round two. Muller is in the same quarter of the bracket as three qualifiers and wild card Reilly Opelka, who made a run to the Atlanta semis last season before falling to Isner.


In the second section of the draw, six of the seven entrants are Americans–with Aussie John Millman the only exception. All-American openers include Jared Donaldson vs. Ernesto Escobedo and Taylor Fritz vs. Georgia Tech No. 1 player Christopher Eubanks. Sock is a potential semifinal opponent for any of those players.


Marcos Baghdatis, who finished runner-up to Isner two summers ago in Atlanta, will get things started against Kyle Edmund and could meet Sock in the quarterfinals.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.