Oeiras and Munich previews and predictions

Four of the next six weeks will feature either a Masters 1000 event or a Grand Slam. This one, however, is the calm before the storm. The fields in Oeiras and Munich are decent by 250-point standards, but they could have been even stronger. Among the player who withdrew from this week’s action were Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco, Kevin Anderson, and Bernard Tomic. David Ferrer, however, is short on clay-court matches and he decided to take a late wild card into Oeirasthe Portugal Open. Ferrer is the lone Top 10 player in action as the rest of the top crop takes a break before Madrid.

Portugal  Open

Where: Oeiras, Portugal
Surface: Clay
Top seed: David Ferrer
2012 champion
: Juan Martin Del Potro (not playing)

Draw analysis: Ferrer’s 2013 clay-court has not exactly gone according to plan. Rafael Nadal stole the limelight during the Golden Swing, Ferrer skipped Monte-Carlo after finishing runner-up in Miami, and he lost his Barcelona opener to Dmitry Tursunov. The Oeiras draw, however, should give the top-seeded Spaniard every chance to get on track in time for Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros. Ferrer will begin against either Gilles Muller or Edouard Roger-Vasselin and his potential seeded quarterfinal opponent is Benoit Paire. Possible semifinal opponents for Ferrer are Andreas Seppi and an in-form but surely fatigued Tommy Robredo.

No. 2 seed Stanislas Wawrinka may have a more difficult time in the bottom half of the bracket. His opener will almost undoubtedly be difficult, with two stellar clay-courters—Albert Ramos and Carlos Berlocq—battling for the right to face him. Ramos is coming off a quarterfinal performance in Barcelona. Wawrinka’s nearest seed is Horacio Zeballos, who is the only man other than Novak Djokovic to beat Nadal this season. A potential semifinal opponent for Wawrinka is Fabio Fognini. Seeded fourth this week, Fognini made a surprising run all the way to the Monte-Carlo semifinals before falling to Djokovic. The Italian’s Oeiras section also features Julien Benneteau and David Goffin.

First-round upset alert: Daniel Gimeno-Traver over (8) Tommy Robredo. Robredo is in the midst of a resurgence at 31 years old. He has climbed back up to No. 38 in the world, but a ton of recent tennis may take its toll this week. Robredo’s current clay-court swing already includes a title in Casablanca and a quarterfinal showing last week in Barcelona. Gimeno-Traver is on a four-match losing streak dating back to the Miami second round, but at least he will be well-rested. These two Spaniards faced each other last season in a clay-court Challenger final, which Gimeno-Traver dominated 6-3, 6-2.

Hot: Fabio Fognini, Tommy Robredo, Paolo Lorenzi, Albert Ramos

Cold: Julien Benneteau, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Denis Istomin, Evgeny Donskoy

Semifinal predictions: David Ferrer over Andreas Seppi and Stanislas Wawrinka over David Goffin

Final: Ferrer over Wawrinka

BMW Open

Where: Munich, Germany
Surface: Clay
Top seed: Janko Tipsarevic
Defending champion
: Philipp Kohlschreiber

Draw analysis: The draw did not do any favors to Germany, as two of host country’s three best players found themselves in the same quarter—which also happens to be in the toughest half. Tommy Haas and Florian Mayer are on a collision course for the quarterfinals, but Haas may have problems just winning his opener. The 35-year-old awaits either Ernests Gulbis or Jarkko Nieminen, both playing great tennis at the moment. Mayer will likely run into Marinko Matosevic if the German wins his first-round match against a qualifier.

One section lower at the bottom of the bracket, Cilic looms large as the No. 2 seed. He will face the winner of a tough opening-rounder between Nikolay Davydenko and Ivan Dodig. Alexandr Fifth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov will kick off his campaign against a qualifier before possibly meeting an in-form Tursunov.

The top half is nowhere near as strong, which is good news for three other Germans—Philipp Kohlschreiber, Tobias Kamke, and Daniel Brands. Kamke and Brands have to go head-to-head right off the bat, but they are in a wide-open quarter in which the two seeds are Janko Tipsarevic and Jurgen Melzer. Kohlschreiber, a Barcelona semifinalist, is the favorite to emerge from the second quarter of the bracket. He could be challenged early by Marcos Baghdatis and then either Mikhail Youzhny or Viktor Troicki in the last eight.

First-round upset alert: Radek Stepanek over (7) Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny showed signs of life in Monte-Carlo with a blowout of Gimeno-Traver followed by a three-set loss to Djokovic, but the Russian took another step back by losing his Bucharest opener to Victor Hanescu in straight sets. Stepanek has not won a match since a neck injury sidelined him after the Australian Open, but he was relatively competitive with Gulbis in the Barcelona first round. Although Youzhny should win, he is not playing well enough right now to be a lock against anyone.

Hot: Daniel Brands, Tobias Kamke, Jarkko Nieminen, Ernests Gulbis, Dmitry Tursunov

Cold: Janko Tipsarevic, Gael Monfils, Marcos Baghdatis, Radek Stepanek, Paul-Henri Mathieu

Semifinal predictions: Philipp Kohlschreiber over Thomaz Bellucci and Marin Cilic over Tommy Haas

Final: Cilic over Kohlschreiber

Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!

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