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Ricky’s Picks For This Week’s ATP Tennis Events In Atlanta, Hamburg, And Gstaad

Photo by @BBTatlantaopen via Twitter

By Ricky Dimon

 

As the U.S. Open Series begins, the post-Wimbledon clay-court swing continues. It’s a busy week in Atlanta, Hamburg, and Gstaad, where John Isner, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Roberto Bautista Agut are among those in action. Isner, who is coming off a fourth career Newport title, is bidding for a sixth triumph in Atlanta. Thiem and Zverev are both playing at the 500-point event in Hamburg.

 

BB&T Atlanta Open

Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Surface: Hard
Points: 250
Top seed: John Isner

 

Isner is an unreal 31-4 lifetime in Atlanta with five titles, three runner-ups, and one semifinal finish in nine lifetime appearances. The only other event at which the 6’10’’ American comes close in Newport, where he just won for the fourth time on Sunday. Thus Isner heads back to his favorite tournament feeling good about his health and his game. But the draw is not easy, as the man he beat in the Newport final—Alexander Bublik—could be his first opponent in Atlanta. If it’s not Bublik it will be 6’11’’ Reilly Opelka, who upset Isner earlier this season in Australia and New York while playing seven tiebreakers in seven sets. Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, and Dan Evans could also be factors in the top half of the bracket.

Jack Sock, who has not played since the Australian Open, is making his comeback from injury and finds himself in a difficult bottom quarter with Taylor Fritz, Ugo Humbert, and Grigor Dimitrov. Whoever emerges from that section could run into either Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jordan Thompson, or Alexei Popyrin in the semifinals. Dimitrov, Popyrin, Miomir Kecmanovic, and qualifier Soonwoo Kwon are unseeded floaters to keep an eye on in the bottom half.

Quarterfinal picks: John Isner over Dan Evans, Alex de Minaur over Frances Tiafoe, Alexei Popyrin over Jordan Thompson, and Ugo Humbert over Grigor Dimitrov

Semifinal picks: Isner over de Minaur and Humbert over Popyrin

Final: Isner over Humbert

 

 

Hamburg European Open

Where: Hamburg, Germany
Surface: Clay
Points: 500
Top seed: Dominic Thiem

 

Thiem is back on his clay-court stomping grounds following a Wimbledon first-round loss to Sam Querrey, but it is not entirely good news for the fourth-ranked Austrian. Pablo Cuevas, his first-round opponent, is also a clay-court wizard and tested Thiem in a tight three-setter at Roland Garros this spring. Either Thiem or Cuevas will face either Philipp Kohlschreiber or Marton Fucsovics in the last 16. The top half of the Hamburg bracket also includes Fabio Fognini, Jan-Lennard Struff, and Christian Garin.

At the bottom of the draw, Zverev’s path to the final is similarly problematic. It begins against Nicolas Jarry, who secured his first career title in Bastad. Marco Cecchinato is a potential second-round foe for Zverev and Rio de Janeiro champion Laslo Djere is a possible quarterfinal opponent. With defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili slumping, Hugo Dellien or Juan Ignacio Londero could capitalize as unseeded threats.

Quarterfinal picks: Dominic Thiem over Christian Garin, Jan-Lennard Struff over Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire over Hugo Dellien, and Marco Cecchinato over Laslo Djere

Semifinals: Thiem over Struff and Cecchinato over Paire

Final: Thiem over Cecchinato

 

 

Sarasin Swiss Open

Where: Gstaad, Switzerland
Surface: Clay
Points: 250
Top seed: Roberto Bautista Agut

 

Bautista Agut is one of the few Spaniards who doesn’t love playing on clay. He just made a run to the Wimbledon semifinals and is now making the transition back to clay, where life may not be easy in Gstaad. Compatriot Jaume Munar could be a tough second-round adversary and Joao Sousa also lurks in the top quarter of the draw. In-form competitors Corentin Moutet and Thomas Fabbiano could also do some damage in the top half.

 

The bottom half is especially wide open, as No. 2 seed Fernando Verdasco isn’t exactly on fire and fourth-seeded Dusan Lajovic is making a quick turnaround on the heels of his first career title in Umag. Spaniards Roberto Carballes Baena and Albert Ramos-Vinolas are among those who could take advantage.

 

Semifinal picks: Thomas Fabbiano over Roberto Bautista Agut and Albert Ramos-Vinolas over Dennis Novak

Final: Fabbiano over Ramos-Vinolas

 

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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