Federer to open against Bemelmans in impressive Rotterdam draw

Roger Federer may be just one week away from becoming the oldest world No. 1 in the history of the ATP World Tour. That will be the reality of the situation on Monday, Feb. 19 if Federer reaches the semifinals of the upcoming ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. The Swiss was not expected to play and has not appeared at this event since 2013, but he accepted a late wild card.

Federer is an obvious title favorite, and not just because he is the top seed and reigning Australian Open champion. He has enjoyed a stellar history at this 500-point event on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, with a 23-6 record and two titles.

“The tournament is special for me,” said the 36-year-old, who will overtake Rafael Nadal at No. 1 in the world if he wins at least three matches in Rotterdam. “I remember playing for the first time in 1999, as it was one of the first events where I got the chance to play at the highest level. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition.”

The 45th edition should be a good one, and not just because of Federer’s presence. Rotterdam’s field of 32 also features Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin, Alexander Zverev, Stan Wawrinka, Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille, Tomas Berdych, and Andrey Rublev.

Federer will begin his campaign against qualifier Ruben Bemelmans and would then face either Karen Khachanov or Philipp Kohlschreiber. Potential quarterfinal foes for the 20-time major champion–the last players who could stand in his way of the No. 1 ranking–are Wawrinka and Robin Haase. Zverev also finds himself in the top half of the bracket, but he has a long way to go before possibly running into Federer in the semis. The 20-year-old German has a tough first-round test against David Ferrer on Monday.

On the other side of the draw Goffin and Berdych are on a collision course for the quarters. Goffin, the Rotterdam runner-up in 2017, is coming off a semifinal performance in Montpellier. Meanwhile, Dimitrov’s quarter of the bracket includes Pouille, Sofia finalist Maris Copil, and recent Doha runner-up Rublev.

8 Comments on Federer to open against Bemelmans in impressive Rotterdam draw

  1. Ricky:
    “He has enjoyed a stellar history at this 500-point event on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, with a 23-6 record and two titles.”

    Or put it another way, Fed has played Rotterdam 8 times and only won twice.

      • Fed is a lock for the title because the draw is weak up to the SF and I doubt Dimi will make it to the final. He will take the #1 ranking a week on Monday but if Rafa defends his clay points they will be playing musical chairs for the YE #1 if no one else shows up.

        • I wouldn’t say Fed is a lock for the title… There are multiple players in the draw who have beaten him before, and we can’t forget what happened last year to Fed in his first tournament back after AO. If he’s in good form, I could easily see Zverev beating Fed in the semis en route to the title, and he looked pretty good against Kyrgios in Davis Cup the other day. We know that Zverev can be world-beater in best-of-three sets, and Rotterdam fits his game perfectly. Plus, he’s beaten Fed twice in last couple seasons.

          If this were a slam, then I’d be more willing to say Fed is a “lock” for the title, but Fed can be beaten by these younger guys in best-of-three sets… And even if he hasn’t done it in a few years, we know Berdych is capable of beating Fed. It took a miracle for Fed to survive Berdych in Miami last year, so who knows.

          I guess I’m just a little more skeptical than other people about Fed at the moment because we don’t know where he’s at mentally after defending the AO title. He could kinda flat. Of course I could completely wrong and he could blitz through Khachanov, Stan, Zverev, and whoever is in the Final. Or all the good players could crap out and Fed could face none of them. But after losing one of the strangest matches I’ve seen to Donskoy in Dubai last year, I guess I just don’t know what to expect from Fed at Rotterdam…

          • I think Roger will be very mentally focused. He obviously wants #1 a lot. Maybe he’ll be beaten by the better guy on the day, but I don’t think he’ll beat himself in this tournament… at least not before the SF!

        • Of course it’s because the draw is weak 😂 Three top ten players and four other top 20 players in the draw and he has either Kohlschreiber or Khachanov round two but he is only a lock because the draw is weak.

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