Federer to open with either Ilhan or Nieminen in Istanbul

To say the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open will begin its existence with a bang would be an understatement. The tournament, which is making its ATP Tour debut in 2015, has lured former would No. 1 and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer to its 28-man field.

Needless to say, that is a quite a coup for a 250-point tournament that has no other top-10 players in the draw. Eleventh-ranked Grigor Dimitrov is the No. 2 seed and has an opening-round bye along with Federer, Pablo Cuevas, and Santiago Giraldo.

Federer awaits either Jarkko Nieminen or Marsel Ilhan in the last 16. Ilhan is not only from Turkey, but he also resides in Istanbul.

“First I will have to pass the first round,” Ilhan commented. “My Finnish competitor (Nieminen) is a very experienced player. I hope I will get to play Federer. I [have] played (Stan) Wawrinka and (Novak) Djokovic before; now it’s Federer.”

Should Federer capture the title, Turkey would mark the 19th country in which he has lifted a winner’s trophy in his illustrious ATP career. The 33-year-old Swiss has triumphed in the United States of America (19), Germany (12), England (9), Switzerland (7), United Arab Emirates (7), Australia (6), China (3), France (3), Qatar (3), Spain (3), Austria (2), Canada (2), Netherlands (2), Thailand (2), Italy (1), Japan (1), Portugal (1), and Sweden (1).

In addition to the Ilhan-Nieminen winner, Federer’s path could also include Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarterfinals and possibly either Giraldo, Diego Schwartzman, or Jurgen Melzer in the semis. Teenager Andrey Rublev, who advanced one round last week in Barcelona, also finds himself in the top half of the bracket.

Dimitrov will kick off his campaign against Andrey Golubev or Nikoloz Basilashvili. An in-form Andreas Haider-Maurer is in the same quarter, while potential semifinal opponents for Dimitrov include Cuevas and Thomaz Bellucci.

7 Comments on Federer to open with either Ilhan or Nieminen in Istanbul

  1. Lets see how Federer and Dimitrov play on clay, they should at least reach the final here with possibly Federer winning the title in 3 sets.

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