30 Things To Watch In Hamburg, Gstaad & Atlanta
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN HAMBURG
1) 500 Time: This is the eighth ATP World Tour 500-level tournament of the season and the top four seeds are Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Pablo Cuevas, Karen Khachanov and Gilles Simon. This is the fourth ATP World Tour tournament of the year in Germany (also Munich, Stuttgart, Halle).
2) Former Champions: The lone former champion in the field is 2011 winner Simon. Cuevas (2016), David Ferrer (2014), Federico Delbonis (2013) and Tommy Haas (2012) are former finalists.
3) German Title Hopes: The last German champion in Hamburg was current tournament director Michael Stich in 1993. There are eight Germans in the draw, led by Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, Jan-Lennard Struff, wild cards Daniel Altmaier, Haas and Maximilian Marterer, and qualifiers Rudolf Molleker and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
4) Haas' Anniversary: It was 20 years ago that 39-year-old Haas made his hometown tournament debut, reaching the semi-finals (l. to Mantilla). He has an 18-11 record with a runner-up finish in 2012 (l. to Monaco). His last appearance was in 2013 when he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Fognini).
5) Ramos-Vinolas Top Seed: Ramos-Vinolas is the top seed in an ATP World Tour tournament for the first time in his career. The Spaniard is making his seventh Hamburg visit (5-6 record) with his best result being the quarter-finals in 2012. He is a two-time finalist this year (Sao Paulo, ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo) and 22 of his 27 wins in 2017 have come on clay.
6) Ferrer Breaks Drought: Ferrer, who has a 17-8 record in Hamburg with a runner-up finish in 2014, comes in after winning the title in Bastad, his first ATP crown since Vienna in October 2015.
7) One to Watch: Last year’s finalist Cuevas has a 10-4 record in Hamburg, reaching the semi-finals in his 2009 main draw debut and the quarter-finals in 2015. Of his 18 wins this season, 14 have come on clay.
8) #NextGenATP Stars: Russians Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, who earned his first ATP World Tour title in Umag, are making their Hamburg debuts. Khachanov picked up his career-best 20th win of the season in Bastad where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Dolgopolov).
9) Kohli Looks to Breakthrough: Kohlschreiber is making his 13th Hamburg appearance (12-12 record) and is looking to get past the semi-finals (2014) for the first time. The 33-year-old German has won five of his seven ATP World Tour titles in Germany (Munich three times, Halle, Duesseldorf).
10) Doubles Draw: The seeded teams are Croats Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, Pablo Cuevas and Marc Lopez, Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, Marcin Matkowski and Nenad Zimonjic, who is attempting to win his 700th career doubles match.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN GSTAAD
1) Scenic Gstaad: This is the 102nd anniversary of the picturesque tournament and this year’s field features four of the Top 30 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings, led by David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut, defending champion Feliciano Lopez and Fabio Fognini.
2) Goffin Returns: Goffin, who reached the final here two years ago (l. to Thiem) in his previous appearance, is playing his second-straight week (QFs in Umag). He suffered a right ankle injury at Roland Garros that forced him to miss the entire grass-court swing. In February, he became the first Belgian to break into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
3) Former Champs: Besides Lopez, there are two other former champions in the field: Mikhail Youzhny (2013) and Thomaz Bellucci (2009, 2012).
4) Reigning Champion: Lopez is making his 11th visit to Gstaad. Last year he won his first title (d. Haase), 10 years after reaching the final (l. to Gasquet). He has a 20-9 record in Gstaad. This season Lopez won his biggest career ATP title at Queen’s Club (d. Cilic). He also was runner-up in Stuttgart (l. to Pouille).
5) Switzerland Second Home: Bellucci has captured three (of four) career ATP World Tour title in Switzerland, the last coming in Geneva in May 2016 (d. Sousa). He is making his eighth Gstaad appearance in the past nine years (except ’11) and has a 15-5 record. In 2009, he qualified and captured his first ATP World Tour title (d. A. Beck). In 2012, he won the title again (d. Tipsarevic).
6) Fognini Makes Debut: Fognini is making his main draw debut 10 years after losing in the final round of qualifying. The No. 1 Italian reached 20 match wins on the season for the seventh consecutive year by reaching the quarter-finals in Umag.
7) Dolgo on a Roll: Top Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who is making his Gstaad debut, hopes to come in with his second ATP title of the season. He is playing in the Bastad final (vs. Ferrer). He has never won two ATP World Tour titles in a season.
8) Wild Cards: Fognini joins Swiss natives Marco Chiudinelli and Antoine Bellier as wild cards. Chiudinelli is 2-7 in Gstaad and Bellier is making his second straight showing (1R last year).
9) Swiss Title Hopes: Swiss No. 3 Henri Laaksonen is the highest-ranked local player in the draw. This past week he broke the Top 100 for the first time in the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 100 and he reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final in Bastad. Federer was the last Swiss champion in 2004.
10) Doubles Draw: The top seeds are Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner and No. 2 are the Austrian duo of Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald. Marach is playing his first tournament since reaching the Wimbledon final (w/Pavic).
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN ATLANTA
1) Hard Court Circuit Opens: The first ATP World Tour North American summer hard court tournament is led by the top two Americans in the Emirates ATP Rankings Jack Sock and three-time champion John Isner. The other seeds with first-round byes are Gilles Muller and Ryan Harrison.
2) Sock Top Seed: This is the second time (2017 Houston SF) Sock is the No. 1 seed in an ATP World Tour tournament. Sock is 5-4 in Atlanta, advancing to the semi-finals in 2014 and quarter-finals in 2012 (l. to Isner in both). Sock comes in with a 23-10 record and two ATP World Tour titles this season.
3) Isner Eyes Fourth Title: Isner, who is making his eighth-straight Atlanta appearance (23-4 record), has never lost before the semi-finals. He won titles in 2013-14-15 and reached finals in 2010-11 and last year. On Sunday, Isner captured his third Newport title (d. Ebden) and he went through his four matches without facing a break point. It was his first ATP World tour title since 2015 Atlanta.
4) Muller Moving Up: Muller comes into Atlanta with a 27-13 match record on the season, including 11-2 on grass and 11-7 on hard courts. He reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon (d. Nadal, l. to Cilic) and afterwards jumped to a career-high ranking of No. 22. He is 11-4 in Atlanta with a runner-up in 2012 (l. to Roddick) and semi-finals in 2011 and 2015.
5) #NextGenATP in ATL: Nine #NextGenATP players are in the draw, including wild cards Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz, who reached the quarter-finals last year. The others are Hyeon Chung, Jared Donaldson, Ernesto Escobedo, Frances Tiafoe and qualifiers Quentin Halys, Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul. Donaldson-Escobedo, Halys-Kozlov and Chung-Paul all meet in the first round.
6) Opelka Breakthrough: Last year, Opelka came into Atlanta ranked No. 837 and en route to his first ATP World Tour semi-final he beat No. 28 Kevin Anderson and Donald Young before falling to Isner in three sets. Last month he reached a career-high No. 125.
7) Local Watch: No. 6 seed Donald Young and wild card Christopher Eubanks, who will be a senior at Georgia Tech University, are two Atlanta residents in the draw. Young reached the quarter-finals last year and Eubanks is looking for his first career ATP singles match win (0-2).
8) Ryan Time: Two-time Atlanta semi-finalist (2011, 2013) Harrison is compiling his best pro season with his first ATP singles title in Memphis and first Grand Slam doubles crown at Roland Garros.
9) Special Exempts: By reaching the semi-finals in Newport last week, Bjorn Fratangelo and Peter Gojowczyk earned a spot in the main draw as special exempts.
10) Brotherly Love: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who won the doubles title two years ago in their Atlanta debut, are the top seeds. Another brothers duo, wild cards Eric Sock and Jack Sock, will make their pro debut together. The Ratiwatana brothers are also in the draw, with different partners (Sanchai with John Millman and Sonchat with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi).