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Ricky’s Tennis Preview and Predictions For This Week’s Events In Rotterdam, New York, & Buenos Aires

Photo by @randymaster4 via Instagram



By Ricky Dimon


One month. Four weeks. Twelve events. Such is life on the ATP World Tour in February.


Tournaments in Rotterdam, New York, and Buenos Aires make for one of February’s most high-profile weeks. It will certainly be the most newsworthy of the four weeks, as Roger Federer is making a surprise appearance in Rotterdam for an assault on the No. 1 ranking. Federer, who has not played in Rotterdam since 2013, will become the oldest man to be No. 1 if he advances to the semifinals.


ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Surface: Indoor hard

Points: 500

Top seed: Roger Federer


At an impressive 500-point tournament, Federer is not a lock to reach the semifinals. Still, though, based on current form he is a huge favorite to make it that far—and to win the title. The 36-year-old will open against qualifier Ruben Bemelmans before possibly meeting Karen Khachanov in round two and countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarters. Wawrinka’s post-knee injury woes are well-documented, and he is coming off a loss to Mirza Basic in the Sofia semis. Things may start getting difficult for Federer in the semis, with Alexander Zverev among his potential adversaries.


On the other side of the draw, David Goffin (upset Federer at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals) and Tomas Berdych (fell to Federer in the Australian Open quarters) are on a collision course for the Rotterdam quarterfinals. Goffin, the runner-up in 2017, is coming off a semifinal result in Montpellier. Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov’s quarter of the draw includes Lucas Pouille, Andrey Rublev, and Marius Copil.


Quarterfinal picks: Roger Federer over Robin Haase, Alexander Zverev over Gilles Muller, David Goffin over Tomas Berdych, and Andrey Rublev over Grigor Dimitrov

Semifinals: Federer over Zverev and Goffin over Rublev

Final: Federer over Goffin


New York Open

Where: New York, New York

Surface: Indoor hard

Points: 250

Top seed: Kevin Anderson


It’s not often that Kei Nishikori has to play in the opening round of a 250-point event in which the top four seeds get byes. But that is the case in New York, where the former world No. 4 is back in ATP-level action for the first time since the Montreal Masters last summer. Nishikori, who has been sidelined by a wrist injury, made two recent Challenger appearances and lost in the first round in Newport Beach before capturing a title in Dallas. Nishikori’s status as the No. 5 seed is bad news for first-round opponent Noah Rubin and also for third-seeded John Isner, who could meet Nishikori in the quarters. Isner and Nishikori are potential semifinal opponents for No. 1 seed Kevin Anderson.


The bottom half is American-heavy. It is home to Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison Steve Johnson, Donald Young, and Jared Donaldson. Among that group, only Harrison—who is kind of the defending champion, having triumphed last year in Memphis—is in particularly stellar form. Harrison’s draw is not a difficult one, with Young in the first round, likely Ivo Karlovic in the last 16, and possibly Querrey in the quarterfinals.


Semifinal picks: Kei Nishikori over Kevin Anderson and Adrian Mannarino over Sam Querrey

Final: Nishikori over Mannarino


Argentina Open

Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Surface: Clay

Points: 250

Top seed: Dominic Thiem


Dominic Thiem is a borderline clay-court specialist at this point in his career. That is not great news for him because he is obviously striving for much more, but it is especially bad news for the rest of the Buenos Aires field. Depending on which Fernando Verdasco shows up, he could give the two-time French Open semifinalist some trouble in the quarterfinals. Something similar can be said of Fabio Fognini, who is even more mercurial than Verdasco and could emerge as Thiem’s semifinal opponent.


In the bottom half of the draw, Albert Ramos-Vinolas will be aiming for a second consecutive final appearance (currently playing in Quito). Ramos-Vinolas and fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta are the clay-court class of the bottom half in Buenos Aires, although Aussie Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund is no slouch on the red stuff stuff. Edmund has a tough opener on his hands in the form of another Spaniard and another current Quito finalist, Roberto Carballes Baena.


Semifinal picks: Dominic Thiem over Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman over Pablo Carreno Busta

Final: Thiem over Schwartzman


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

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