Men’s Look Forward: Kuala Lumpur, Shenzhen

Notice: Undefined variable: page_title in /home/tennisne/public_html/wp-content/themes/dante-child/single.php on line 205

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Is Tomas Berdych finding married life to be expensive? He seems to be desperate to scrape up cash all of a sudden.

That’s the only explanation we can think of for his decision to play back-to-back 250 point events (which are effectively worthless to him) on two different continents, with the time zone shift being in the bad direction. But there he is, the #1 seed at Shenzhen, a week after making an appearance (although hardly playing) at St. Petersburg.

At least he picked an event he ought to be able to dominate. (Of course, he should have been able to dominate St. Petersburg, too, and he lost his opener instead.) The only other Top 25 player is #2 seed Marin Cilic. Tommy Robredo is the #3 seed, and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez #4. Those four have byes. Adrian Mannarino is #5, Jiri Vesely #6, Aljaz Bedene #7, and Victor Estrella Burgos #8, meaning that the cutoff for seeding is somewhat below #50. There aren’t many strong unseeded players. To be sure, Cilic could play Ernests Gulbis in his opener, and Garcia-Lopez will face either Denis Istomin or Lukas Rosol, but Gulbis and Rosol are in awful slumps and Istomin is very tired. There is also a faint chance that Berdych could face Simone Bolelli, who beat him in Russia, but only if they both make the semifinal.

The week’s other event, Kuala Lumpur, doesn’t have quite as highly-ranked a #1 player, but it is much deeper. David Ferrer is the #1 seed, with Feliciano Lopez #2. (Surprising how many Spaniards decided to play this week.) The #3 seed is Ivo Karlovic, who is in on a wildcard. Grigor Dimitrov will try out his new support staff as the #4 seed. Viktor Troicki is #5, Jeremy Chardy #6, Nick Kyrgios #7, and Vasek Pospisil #8. Chardy will start against Alexander Zverev, Pospisil’s second round will be against either Nicolas Almagro (in on a wildcard) or Marcos Baghdatis, and Ferrer himself might open against Radek Stepanek.

The Rankings

Here we go again: Another week of calendar shift, meaning that big events come off and small events come on. Last year at this time, the events were Beijing and Tokyo, both 500 point tournaments, while the events coming on this year are 250 pointers. Novak Djokovic won Beijing 2014, not that he’ll notice the loss of the points, with Tomas Berdych the finalist. Andy Murray and Martin Klizan were semifinalists. The title at Tokyo went to Kei Nishikori, over Milos Raonic, with Benjamin Becker and Gilles Simon semifinalists.

That will produce the usual non-movement at the top: Novak Djokovic will stay #1, Roger Federer #2, Andy Murray #3, Stan Wawrinka #4. Tomas Berdych loses a big pile of points, but with Kei Nishikori losing more, Berdych will stay #5. Nishikori is safe at #6. We could see a move at #7; if David Ferrer can win Kuala Lumpur, he’ll pass Rafael Nadal to reach #7 and regain his status as the #1 Spaniard. Nadal and Ferrer are certain to be #7 and #8 in some order. Had anyone in the #9-#13 range (that is, Raonic, Simon, Gasquet, Anderson, and Isner) decided to play this week, we might have seen some movement at the bottom of the Top Ten, but since they’re all taking the week off, it won’t happen unless Simon wins Metz and Raonic loses in St. Petersburg, in which case it appears Simon will reach #9 next week.

Martin Klizan could end up around #40. Benjamin Becker is playing, so he has some chance to defend his points, but if he doesn’t, the result isn’t likely to be pretty.

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.


Leave a reply