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Tennis • Ricky’s Preview And Predictions For This Week’s ATP Events In Munich, Estoril, and Istanbul

Australia’s Alex de Minaur in action against Portugal´s Gastao Elias during their first round match of the Estoril Open tennis tournament in Cascais, near Lisbon, Portugal, 30 April 2018. EPA-EFE/JOSE SENA GOULAO

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Sandwiched in between much bigger tournaments (Monte-Carlo and Barcelona then Madrid and Rome), this week includes a trio of 250-point events in Munich, Estoril, and Istanbul. That means—luckily for the rest of the tour—that Rafael Nadal is taking a break from his clay-court dominance. Unlike in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona (and perhaps in Madrid and Rome down the line, too, titles are completely up for grabs. Alexander Zverev will try to lift the trophy (again) in front of the home crowd in Munich, Estoril has Kevin Anderson and Pablo Carreno Busta in the field, and Marin Cilic looks like the cream of the crop in Istanbul.

 

BMW Open

Where: Munich, Germany

Prize money: 501,345 Euros

Top seed: Alexander Zverev

Defending champion: Alexander Zverev

 

The home crowd should enjoy this week, because there are a whole host of Germans in the draw and several of them could do some serious damage. It is possible—albeit not likely—that Zverev, the top seed and defending champion, takes an all-German path to the title: Yannick Hanfmann in round two, Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarters, Matthias Bachinger in the last four, and either Philipp Kohlschreiber, Maximilian Marter, Dustin Brown, or his older brother in the final. The 21-year-old is more likely to run into either Hyeon Chung, Gael Monfils, or Martin Klizan on Saturday.

 

Zverev may not have any real issues in the top half of the bracket if Chung and Monfils are still less than 100 percent, but the other half of the draw appears to be wide open. Second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut could be challenged by Marius Copil in the last 16, by Kohlschreiber or Ivo Karlovic in the quarterfinals, and by Diego Schwartzman or Fabio Fognini in the semifinals. Fognini is set for an all-Italian first-round affair with Marco Cecchinato, who won his first career ATP title as a lucky loser this past weekend in Budapest.

 

Semifinal picks: Alexander Zverev over Hyeon Chung and Diego Schwartzman over Roberto Bautista Agut

Final: Zverev over Schwartzman

 

Estoril Open

Where: Estoril, Portugal

Prize money: 501,345 Euros

Top seed: Kevin Anderson

Defending champion: Pablo Carreno Busta

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas will have to make a quick turnaround after finishing runner-up to Nadal in Barcelona. Coming off the best week of his professional career, the 19-year-old from Greece will be back in action on Tuesday and it won’t be easy. Standing in his way of the last 16 is Pablo Andujar, whose resurgent clay-court swing already includes a title in Marrakech and a third-round result in Barcelona. This section of the Estoril bracket is absolutely loaded, as the Tsitsipas-Andujar winner has to face No. 1 seed Anderson. Also in the top half of the draw are Kyle Edmund, Robin Haase, Daniil Medvedev, Alex de Minaur, and Roberto Carballes Baena.

 

The bottom half is less daunting, but that does not mean it will be easy for the seeds. Leonardo Mayer has to kick off his week against 22-year-old Nicolas Jarry, with the winner possibly to face Carreno Busta in the quarters. Albert Ramos-Vinolas has an all-lefty showdown with Federico Delbonis on his hands, while Gilles Muller’s second-round test will come in the form of Frances Tiafoe after Tiafoe outlasted fellow American Tennys Sandgren in a third-set tiebreaker on Monday.

 

Semifinals: Kevin Anderson over Joao Sousa and Pablo Carreno Busta over Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Final: Carreno Busta over Anderson

 

Istanbul Open

Where: Istanbul, Turkey

Prize Money: 426,145 Euros

Top seed: Marin Cilic

Defending champion: Marin Cilic

 

Roger Federer actually played (and won, of course) this event in 2015 before making the unsurprising decision to not defend his title the ensuing year. This time around the defending champ is back, and it’s Cilic. Amazingly enough, the Croat is ranked fourth in the world despite having not captured a single title since Istanbul last spring (two Grand Slam runner-up performances can certainly explain that). Cilic should be able to get back in the winner’s circle because the next highest-ranked entrant is No. 32 Damir Dzumhur. After Dzumur it goes all the way down to world No. 4 Andreas Seppi.

 

Cilic’s only roadblock prior to the championship match may be a second-rounder against Malek Jaziri, whose 2018 season includes a semifinal showing in Dubai and a third-round run in Barcelona (lost to Grigor Dimitrov 10-8 in a final-set tiebreaker). Seppi and fellow Italian Paolo Lorenzi are potential semifinal adversaries for Cilic. In the other half of the bracket, Dzumhur is on a collision course for the quarters with either Nikoloz Basilashvili, Jeremy Chardy, Dusan Lajovic, or John Millman, That quartet makes up the most intriguing pod in the draw, with Millman looking to build on a runner-up finish last weekend in Budapest.

 

Semifinals: Marin Cilic over Andreas Seppi and Rogerio Dutra Silva over Jeremy Chardy

Final: Cilic over Dutra Silva

 

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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