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Tennis • 10sBalls • Ricky’s Preview & Picks For This Week’s Events in Rotterdam, New York, & Buenos Aires

By Ricky Dimon

The Big 3 are still resting and Dominic Thiem is out of the Argentina Open, but the February swing is nonetheless heating up this week. It is highlighted by the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, where Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils, and Andrey Rublev are among those in action. Buenos Aires is suffering without Thiem, while New York is home to big servers John Isner, Milos Raonic, Reilly Opelka, and Ivo Karlovic.

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Surface: Indoor hard
Points: 500
Top seed: Daniil Medvedev
Defending champion: Gael Monfils

It’s a new era in Rotterdam, where Roger Federer occasionally headlined the field but has now given way to an injection of youth. Medvedev are Tsitsipas are the top two seeds, joined by Rublev, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner, and Alexander Bublik. Although Tsitsipas has to go up against one of those talents (Hurkacz) right off the bat, Medvedev’s draw is actually tougher. The fifth-ranked Russian will open with Vasek Pospisil before possibly running into Rublev in the quarters and Monfils, Khachanov, or Fabio Fognini in the semis.

On Tsitsipas’ side, one QF contest likely turn out to be Roberto Bautista Agut vs. David Goffin. The other could go in a number of directions. Hurkacz is dangerous for Tsitsipas, while Shapovalov (vs. Grigor Dimitrov) and Auger-Aliassime (vs. Jan-Lennard Struff) have tough openers on their hands and Benoit Paire could also make some noise. Paire will open with a rematch of a contentious U.S. Open encounter with Aljaz Bedene before possibly colliding with either Tsitsipas or Hurkacz.

Quarterfinal picks: Daniil Medvedev over Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov over Gael Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut over David Goffin, and Stefanos Tsitsipas over Grigor Dimitrov

Semifinals: Medvedev over Khachanov and Bautista Agut over Tsitsipas

Final: Medvedev over Bautista Agut

New York Open

Where: New York, New York
Surface: Indoor hard
Points: 250
Top seed: John Isner
Defending champion: Reilly Opelka

There is nothing that Isner will like about his New York draw. Fellow huge server Reilly Opelka has taken him out multiple times in recent years, including at this very tournament en route to the title last year. Isner could meet Opelka in the semifinals this time around, but before that the 34-year-old American may be in store for a similar matchup with Ivo Karlovic in the last 16. Kevin Anderson also finds himself in the top half of the bracket, so Opelka could run into some trouble prior to the last four.

Raonic, who made a surprise QF run at Melbourne Park, should have an easier time of things in the bottom half. Among the challengers are Ugo Humbert, Kyle Edmund, and Miomir Kecmanovic. Humbert has cooled off since capturing the Auckland title, while Edmund and Kecmanovic are struggling. Jack Sock is making another return from injury and may benefit from a favorable draw with Marcos Giron in the first round followed by Humbert.

Semifinal picks: Reilly Opelka over Jordan Thompson and Milos Raonic over Miomir Kecmanovic

Final: Raonic over Opelka

Argentina Open

Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Surface: Clay
Points: 250
Top seed: Diego Schwartzman
Defending champion: Marco Cecchinato

Guido Pella joked that he hoped Thiem would skip Benos Aires in order to give everyone else a chance. And, a few days later, that is exactly what happened. Pella is a direct beneficiary, too, as the 22nd-ranked Argentine would have been the third seed and liable to be on the same side of the bracket as the Australian Open runner-up. Instead, Pella has moved up to the No. 2 spot opposite top-seeded compatriot Diego Schwartzman. Of course, things still aren’t going to be easy for anyone in Buenos Aires. The field is loaded with strong clay-courters, not unlike the case this past week in Cordoba. Pella will likely begin his week against Cordoba semifinalist Andrej Martin and could meet either Laslo Djere (also a Cordoba semifinalist) or Juan Ignacio Londero in the QFs.

Schwartzman is on course to face countrymen in his first two matches, starting with Federico Delbonis and then Leonardo Mayer. Also in the top quarter are Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pablo Cuevas, while Borna Coric, Cristian Garin, and Corentin Moutet are potential SF opponents for Schwartzman. Garin, who finds himself in the Cordoba title match on Sunday, will go up against Moutet in round two.

Semifinal picks: Corentin Moutet over Diego Schwartzman and Juan Ignacio Londero over Dusan Lajovic

Final: Londero over Moutet

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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