Stockholm, Antwerp, and Moscow previews and predictions

The Asian swing is over and now the 2017 season is heading for its home stretch in Europe. It begins with a trio of 250-point tournaments in Stockholm, Antwerp, and Moscow. Two top 10 players (Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin) are in action, while No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta leads the Moscow field. Goffin is joined in Antwerp by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nick Kyrgios.

Intrum Stockholm Open

Where: Stockholm, Sweden
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize money
: 589,185 Euros
Points
: 250

Top seed: Grigor Dimitrov
Defending champion: Juan Martin Del Potro

Draw analysis: Dimitrov could not have asked for a better draw as he looks to maintain his fine form and officially clinch a spot in the World Tour Finals. His nearest seed is Mischa Zverev, who did well to reach the U.S. Open fourth round but has otherwise struggled physically of late. Also in the top half of the bracket is an ice-cold Jack Sock, while Fabio Fognini does not appear to be at a level (on or off the court) that can seriously trouble Dimitrov right now.

The bottom half is far more intriguing as the home of Juan Martin Del Potro and U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson. Both Yuichi Sugita and Jan-Lennard Struff have showcased stellar tennis in recent months and Denis Istomin captured his second career ATP title a few weeks ago in Chengdu. Del Potro is coming off a semifinal performance in Shanghai, where he re-injured his left wrist but still managed to beat Viktor Troicki in the quarters and take a set off eventual champion Roger Federer in the semis. Although it is not expected to be another long-term issue, the wrist could be a factor in Stockholm. Del Potro may have to open against Struff before possibly running into either Sugita or Istomin.

Hot: Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson, Juan Martin Del Potro, Yuichi Sugita, Denis Istomin, Jan-Lennard Struff

Cold: Jack Sock, Fernando Verdasco, Jeremy Chardy

Semifinal predictions: Grigor Dimitrov over Fabio Fognini and Hyeon Chung over Yuichi Sugita

Final: Dimitrov over Chung

European Open

Where: Antwerp, Belgium
Surface: Indoor hard
Points
: 250
Prize money
: 589,185 Euros

Top seed: David Goffin
2016 champion: Richard Gasquet (not playing)

Draw analysis: Goffin’s 2016 World Tour Finals bid took a hit when he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the Antwerp semifinals. The world No. 10 now looks to go two steps farther this time around and treat the home crowd in Belgium to a title. Based on current form, Goffin is the obvious favorite. He advanced to the U.S. Open fourth round despite being less than 100 percent and he won the Japan Open two weeks ago. Goffin and Schwartzman are on a collision course for another semifinal showdown, but Schwartzman’s draw is tough. The Argentine will likely kick off his campaign against Denis Shapovalov, while David Ferrer is a potential quarterfinal foe.

As is often the case wherever Nick Kyrgios shows up, anything could happen in the bottom half of the bracket. Kyrgios’ path to the final is not particularly problematic, but either Benoit Paire or Jared Donaldson could test him in the quarters. A similarly unpredictable Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is mired in a considerable slump, so an in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov may be in line for another strong result.

Hot: David Goffin, Diego Schwartzman, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Denis Shapovalov, Jared Donaldson, Peter Gojowyczk

Cold: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, Pablo Cuevas, Ivo Karlovic, Joao Sousa

Semifinals: David Goffin over Diego Schwartzman and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over Nick Kyrgios

Final: Goffin over Tsonga

VTB Kremlin Cup

Where: Moscow, Russia
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize money
: $745,940
Points
: 250

Top seed: Pablo Carreno Busta
Defending champion: Pablo Carreno Busta

Draw analysis: Surprisingly, the list of the last four Moscow champions is a somewhat impressive one: Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic, Cilic again, and Carreno Busta. For the most part, though, this tournament is wide open to a motley crew of contenders. Carreno Busta is back to defend his title and owns a first-round bye along with Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Adrian Mannarino, and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Look no further than those names to know that this winner’s trophy is totally up for grabs.

Carreno Busta, who is in contention for what would be a stunning World Tour Finals berth, will have the Russian crowd against him in an opening matchup with either Andrey Kuznetsov or Danill Medvedev. Kohlschreiber and a red-hot Damir Dzumhur are possible semifinal opponents for the No. 1 seed. In the bottom half of the bracket, U.S. Open quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev could make life difficult for both Ramos-Vinolas and Mannarino. Rublev’s draw is extremely favorable, so he should at least be able to book a spot alongside Ramos-Vinolas in the quarters.

Hot: Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Adrian Mannarino, Andrey Rublev, Damir Dzumhur, Paolo Lorenzi

Cold: Blaz Kavcic, Andreas Seppi, Lukas Rosol, Konstantin Kravchuk, Ricardas Berankis, Teymuraz Gabashvili

Semifinals: Philipp Kohlschreiber over Pablo Carreno Busta and Adrian Mannarino over Andrey Rublev

Final: Mannarino over Kohlschreiber

Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!

53 Comments on Stockholm, Antwerp, and Moscow previews and predictions

  1. Stockholm: Dimitrov over Del Potro

    Antwerp : Goffin over Tsonga (Tsonga suits this sort of surface and Kyrgios is too unpredictable) Goffin over Schwartzman in semis .

    Moscow : Rublev over Dzumhur
    Mannarino and Carreno busta to reach Semis.

    • Scoot, you really like Rublev!? He lost in the 1st rd.! He is a flash in the pan!lol

      Just scoot Rublev over and go with Del Potro of Dimi who are tried and tested to win!

      Hot: David Goffin, Diego Schwartzman, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Denis Shapovalov, Jared Donaldson, Peter Gojowyczk

      In the above list please remove Denis Shapovalov & Peter Gojowyczk they have become cold again!

  2. Haase is out, also Dolgo to Laaksonen(I did think about that one) but,worst of all, there goes my Russian winner…

  3. I was calculating the race points for Delpo. I think if Delpo wins Stockholm and Basel, and reaches at least the SF of Paris, he may have a chance to finish inside top ten this season. And, if PCB, Anderson and Qurrey don’t do well in the next few events, Delpo may end up qualifying for WTF at no.8 position given that Stan won’t be playing ( just like in 2016 Rafa at no. 8 but not playing WTF hence Thiem at no. 9 qualified.

    • Can someone tell me how much Dimitrov is playing. Int his 3rd straight week and playing Vienna and Paris now. 5 weeks of consecutive tennis.

    • That would be crazy for Delpo to pull that off, especially considering it would be 4 weeks in a row of making the semis or better. Unfortunately for DelPo, I don’t see how he wouldn’t be absolutely cooked by the end of Basel… To be honest. I’m now concerned about how he will be DURING Basel… He’s going to be so worn out. He has shown recently, however, that he has better stamina than we think. I just really want to see him be really good in Basel, and hopefully face Fed at some point again.

  4. No one plays as much tennis as Dimi, he’s crazy! If he really plays at Vienna and Paris, he would have played for five consecutive weeks.

    He reached SF at Beijing, QF at Shanghai and now final at Stockholm, unbelievable!

    • DelPo as well. This is his third consecutive week. Enrolled for Basel and Paris.
      And DelPo and Dimitrov , are these guys thinking that they will be fresh for London. What the heck ?

      Goffin is also playing consecutive 5 weeks, I think.

      • Delpo won’t be at the YEC unless he plays and wins a lot and some of the others falter. I guess Dimi and Goffin are still trying to lock down spots for London. They’ll get paid quite well even if they lose all their matches there.

    • Gone deep in all his tourneys. Played some real tough matches with Rafa and others. He will be tired with all the travel and playing all these matches.

    • I don’t know why Dimi is playing so much. If he’s already qualified for London, then why push so hard? He is risking having nothing left.

      As for Delpo, he should not push himself because his chances are not that great. The end of the tennis year is not the time to push hard after playing a lot of tennis. That is how injuries happen.

      • Yes, precisely. I just saw that Dimi did not have a great first half apart from AO and Cincinatti win, did not play a lot. But still playing anything more than 3 weeks is brutal to the body. DelPo had a bad fall , looks like things are OK as well and he has lots of stamina. But why do you need to play so much when most probably you wont qualify for WTF.

        Sometimes, I think, people don’t admire how big 4 , apart from playing so well, all thru the last 7-8 years have managed their schedule so well. No wonder they won every important tourney in these 8 years.

        I first saw Dimi beat Djoker in Madrid 2013 Masters 1000 when Djoker was on fire. I really thought this guy had enormous potential and I still think he has. He pushed Rafa in 2014 AO, I think beat Murray once in Wimby. But thats it, for last 4 years.

        These guys like Dimi have just not done small things right. I mean in your early 20s, up against legends on world’s biggest stage, if this can’t get you motivated, what else could !!

        I would love to see how Sascha Zverev goes thru next 2 years. Early signs look promising, but lets see how he does it in Majors.

        I mean with all due respect to Fed and Nadal, with Nole and Murray out, it was a golden opportunity for someone like Dimi, Zeverev or even Nishikori, Goffin to do a big run in majors, but with the legends splitting all 4 majors between them , I just hate to say that men’s tennis lacks depth and shrewdness to challenge these guys.

        I bet Fed and Rafa both were beatable in AO, if any of the dark horses had gone hot , but it was not the case. After that, Fedal just became confident and merciless and are ending the year on an even stronger note.

        • True, I thought Fedal didn’t play that well in the early stages of AO. I mean Kei was leading comfortably in the first set vs Fed, but made a mess of it when closing the first set, took longer than necessary to win the first set. He then went on to lose in five sets, injuring himself in the process.

          It’s typical of Kei, that when it mattered he tend to falter – vs Murray at the FO too, played well in first set, his level dipped and then lost another set in a bizarre manner and then lost the match.

          A Zverev was physically not as fit as Rafa, so no matter how hard he hit his shots, Rafa was able to weather the storm and Zverev couldn’t sustain his level of play.

          I would say that it’s not a matter of managing the schedules, for the big four during their heydays, or during their younger days, did play plenty of tennis; some 19-20 events, averaging 80 and above number of matches, season after season. They won many titles starting from their early twenties, were inside top four since. They only reduced their schedule when they were older.

          They’re not only fit but are also very quick, good to great in their serves and returns; have great court craft and racket skills. It’s no coincidence that together, they could dominate for so long, they’re just that great.

          We can’t expect the next or next next gen to follow their footsteps so easily. I don’t think A Zverev, Shapovalov, or other youngsters could replicate what the big four had done.

          • Rafa tends to buy into the hype of players. He gave Sasha far too much coinage in Australia that’s why he was taken to 5 sets; same with Shapo in Canada. Those 2 simply don’t have enough in their tool box atm to trouble Rafa but Rafa thinks they can beat him just like he beat far older and more experienced players as a teenager. luckystar, I agree that this next generation are just not on the same page as the B4. Not even close.

            Federer was really the only great player of his generation when you compare him to his peers like Feli, Ferrer, Muller, Khols, Karlovic, Benneteau, Florian Mayer, Lorenzi, Darcis, Seppi, Garcia-Lopez, Verdasco etc. That’s why Federer dominated so much and people concluded that he was the greatest player of all time. In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. If Rafa, Andy and Djoker hadn’t come along, Federer would probably be closing on 4o GS titles.

            As for Kei, his fitness is his achilles heel. His body breaks down too easily.

          • I expected Dimi to make a move , he has been on tour for some time. Sort of prodigy, young , I think is a complete player. I, for once, thought Dimi would be a tougher test for Rafa in AO than Fed after his brutal match that lasted almost 5 hours and probably was the best 5 set match of the year .

    • I actually think Fed got a very favorable draw in Basel… I don’t think Tiafo should be as effective on a really fast indoor surface. I don’t think he’s ever faced the level of suffocating aggression that’s Federer will unleash on him. Also, Shapovalov has a huge wind-up on his big forehand, and I don’t think he will be as effective on a really fast indoor court like that. Then with Rafa pulling out, it guaranteed that Cilic would be in the other half. Most importantly, DelPo got drawn into Cilic’s half, Fed will only have to face one of Cilic or Delpo. Kyrgios also pulled out, so no one has to worry about him. So overall I would say that’s Fed’s draw is extremely favorable. Obviously guys like Tiafoe, Shapovalov, or Johnson could get hot and give Fed some challenge, but it would take an epic fail on Federer’s part to lose to one of those guys on a court that is arguably the court that best fits his game on the whole tour. With how well he has been playing, I would be absolutely shocked if Fed didn’t at very least make the final. In-form Cilic or Delpo could obviously beat him in the final, as they have both gotten big wins over him before. However, I don’t see how Delpo will have enough left in the tank, if he even makes it to the final, to beat Fed after 3 weeks in a row of making the semis or better. So I would say I would be shocked if Fed lost before the final, surprised if he lost to Delpo in the final, and not that surprised if he lost to Cilic in the final.

      My prediction is a Federer-Cilic final, with Fed winning in 3 sets.

      • Same prediction, meeting Cilic in the final and hopefully winning. Hope he skips Paris and keeps fit for London.

        • If at the end of Basel, Federer decides that winning a 7th WTF is more important to him than finishing #1, then he will unquestionably skip Paris. If he goes deep in Basel, and then ends up playing Paris, then that could only mean he thinks he could have a shot at ending #1. I still think it’s way too much of a long-shot to end #1, so I would assume that he isn’t thinking about that right now…

  5. Never been able to warm to Verdasco. Don’t much care for his on-court demeanour. Must be so frustrating to be a fan of him. From time to time he can play out of his tiny cotton socks (who can ever forget his late night SF battle with Rafa at the ’09 AO) but mostly he is too erratic. Hope delpo can make a match of it tomorrow but I’m not too hopeful he will be able to outplay the very much in form Dimitrov.

      • I clocked that too. Today it was Alex Willcox (the guy with the excruciatingly monotonous voice) who normally commentates on his own. At least he sticks to discussing the tennis – not like some I could mention 🙁

  6. Wonder if Delpo with qualify for the WTF. Rafa should be fresh for Paris and WTF. See him winning one of them and then winning AO. He will be hungry

  7. Except he couldn’t keep it up – he’s now lapsed back into referring to him as ‘the Argentine’ 🙁

    • I still think if Delpo pushes himself to qualify for the WTF, that he may end up having nothing left for that tournament.

      • Doesn’t matter that he has nothing left for the tournament. I doubt he’s thinking of winning the title there. It’s more like giving himself a good seeding in big tournaments come next year. He was unfortunate to meet Djoko and Fed too soon in the tournaments he played early this year, resulting in him losing early and thus didn’t gain many ranking points.

        A player of his caliber should be ranked inside top ten at least, if not top five or six. If he does well early next season, he may end up in top four with Fedal and Cilic (Cilic too didn’t have much to defend early next season and much to gain, in ranking points). I don’t think Djoko, Murray and Stan could rise in their rankings so soon during early next season.

        • Lucky,

          I guess you do make some good points. If the idea is not to win the title it even make a great showing, then I can see it being about getting a better seeding in tournaments next year.

          Delpo has suffered from having to meet the top four too early in tournaments and losing rankings points with early losses.

          Delpo did get get back in the top five a few years ago, but his other wrist was injured and that meant more surgery. I hope he can get back into the top ten or even top five. That’s where he belongs.

          • Delpo is a great player on fast indoor courts. He beat Fed in USO and was the only guy who took a set off him in Shanghai. Neither Rafa nor Fed would like to see him in WTF. I dont think he will make it, but I hope he makes it to top 10 by AO.

            • I would really like to see Delpo in the top ten again. It would make a big difference if he could get decent draws at tournaments next year so that he will have a chance to go further.

  8. So pleased for Delpo. Magnificent win for him. Dimitrov seemed to have been suffering from scoreboard nerves. He was playing nowhere near the level we have seen from him recently.

    • Dimi is getting tired, after three consecutive weeks of play, not forgetting having two tough matches vs Rafa (Beijing and Shanghai). Delpo had a little bit easier matches along the way though he also played for three consecutive weeks.

  9. Delpo is just so good indoors. I think the conditions suiting his game so well, especially the serve, is what allows him to play really well and go deep in back-to-back weeks. I fear that by the time he gets to the semis or the final of Basel, it may be just a little too much by then. However, if that serve is firing and he’s hitting the lines, he can beat anyone indoors, including Fed. That being said, I am not willing to pick against an in-form Federer in Basel. Perhaps if Delpo had not played Stockholm, and then met Fed in the Basel final, I would call it a toss-up. I just think that if Fed does what he usually does in Basel and blazes through the field to meet Delpo in the final, it’s just so hard to imagine Delpo being fresh enough to beat Fed. I would actually give defending champ Cilic the best shot at beating Fed in the final, although I would still pick Fed to come through that one.

    I was tempted to dismiss Tiafoe chances against Fed on a court like Basel, but I realized that just the fact that it will be Fed’s first match there, it actually is a potentially tricky opening match. I just feel like these young guys have never faced the level of aggressive onslaught on a fast indoor court that comes from Federer. That factor, mixed with the home-court partisan crowd for Fed, makes me think that Tiafoe is likely in for quite a shock… But as we know, anything can happen! It sucks that Rafa can’t be there, but he really needs the rest for his knee.

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