Sunday, 27 October 2013

ATP Paris: Preview and Predictions

This is the last Masters 1000 event of the year and with it taking place the week before the ATP World Tour Finals, it makes it the most challenging draw to dissect.  There is no doubt there will shocks, retirements and things that do not normally happen at the other Masters events.  Let me stress that some of the results I have predicted I would not normally go for, but if you look at the history of this event and particularly last year's Bercy draw, there have always been surprises along the way...

First Quarter: R.Nadal (1) v J.W.Tsonga (8)
J.W. Tsonga
It certainly looks odd to not see Novak Djokovic at the top of a drawsheet as Rafael Nadal officially plays his first tournament as the world number one.  The Spaniard suffered his first hard court losses in Beijing (to Djokovic) and Shanghai (to Del Potro), but he should be refreshed for this week.  His first match of the week will be against Dmitry Tursunov or Marcel Granollers.  His third round opponent is projected to be Jerzy Janowicz, who made the final at this event last year so is therefore defending big points.  He has made a very respectable return to the tour and ran Nadal close in an entertaining match in Canada earlier this year.  

On the other side of this quarter, a trio of home favourites including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau take the helm.  Tsonga had a good result in Shanghai where he made the semi-finals, but still has not looked 100% since returning from a knee injury.  He along with Gasquet, is still fighting for a place at the World Tour Finals and a potential third round meeting would be fascinating.  However despite his woeful record in finals, Julien Benneteau can be a thorn to the big names and if he passes by the struggling, Kei Nishikori, then I could see him taking out Tsonga in round two.  Ernests Gulbis against Fernando Verdasco is a noteworthy first rounder to get your popcorn ready for...

1st Round Predictions: Tursunov to beat Granollers in 3 sets, Verdasco to beat Gulbis in 3 sets and Benneteau to beat Nishikori in 2 tight sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction: Nadal v Gasquet

Second Quarter: D.Ferrer (3) v T.Berdych (6)
Alexandr Dolgopolov
As the World Tour Finals arrives on our doorstop, it is good news to see David Ferrer finally finding some form again.  The Spaniard has reached the finals in Stockholm and Valencia although he has played the last five weeks in an unnecessarily punishing schedule.  If it he doesn't fall early here, he is hurting his chances in London.  His draw looks relatively straightforward, but my complete punt in the dark is for Alexandr Dolgopolov to make the quarters, beating Gilles Simon in the second round, who had the most baffling of results last week winning just 1 game in a first round loss to Alejandro Falla.

Officially qualified for the World Tour Finals, it is Tomas Berdych's first half to the season that has got him there as his form has tailed off since Wimbledon.  His first match will be a testing one against Gael Monfils or Vasek Pospisil.  Monfils has gone off the radar since beating Roger Federer in Shanghai, but in his home tournament where he has had tremendous success in the past, I think he could ignite once more.  Milos Raonic is also in this section, but he has played a great deal of tennis lately and it will require a sensational performance this week for him to qualify for the World Tour Finals.

1st Round Predictions: Chardy to beat Rosol in 3 sets, Dolgopolov to beat Mahut in 2 tight sets and Monfils to beat Pospisil in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction: Dolgopolov v Monfils (don't judge me)

Third Quarter: R.Federer (5) v J.M.del Potro (4) 
Grigor Dimitrov
They played out the final in Basel today and Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro are set to meet in the quarters of Paris.  However with both contending the WTF (Federer is not officially confirmed, but he'll be there) I think both will slip out of Paris early this week.  Federer could meet BFF, Tommy Haas in the third round, who has had a truly stunning year.  He does potentially meet his Valencia conqueror, Philipp Kohlschreiber in round two, but he will have been knackered from his title win in Vienna so I see a different result this week.

Del Potro could meet Marin Cilic in the second round after his drugs ban was cut by four months meaning that he can play this week.  I must say it is a baffling and puzzling story to me, and I thought the ban was fair.  He is not a drugs cheat, but he made a silly mistake and should really have paid more for that.  Grigor Dimitrov has done really well in the last two weeks and with a draw like this, which involves a who-knows-what-mood-he-is-in, Fabio Fognini and a potentially tiring DelPo, he could go far this week.

1st Round Predictions: Youzhny to beat Anderson in 2 sets, Kohlschreiber to beat Seppi in 3 sets and Dimitrov to beat Llodra in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction: Haas v Dimitrov

Fourth Quarter: S.Wawrinka (7) v N.Djokovic (2)
Nicolas Almagro
Novak Djokovic bookends the draw and having not played since Shanghai, I think he will compete hard this week to get him ready tuned for London.  His first match of the week will be against Benoit Paire or a qualifier with an eye to a potential third round match with John Isner.  The big dude did great in the US, but once again, has struggled for consistent wins elsewhere.  If Djokovic has his eye on London then his stumbling block is likely to be Isner in the third round as the American has notched up two previous wins against him.

Stanley Wawrinka is in a prime position to qualify for the WTF, particularly with two of his closest challengers, Gasquet and Tsonga poised to meet in the third round.  His draw is favourable, but he has not been firing on all cylinders lately.  His first encounter will be against Feliciano Lopez or a qualifier before a potential third rounder against Nicolas Almagro.  The Spaniard has somehow managed to turn his year around and despite another crushing loss to David Ferrer in Valencia, he is finally playing good, confident tennis again.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Almagro make another quarter-final this week as Stanley tightens up with the prospect of London in his sight.

1st Round Predictions: Dodig to beat Roger-Vasselin in 2 tight sets,

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction: Almagro v Djokovic

Moo's Final Prediction: Djokovic d. Nadal
I have gone for a great deal of shocks in my draw this week, but I have still gone for a Djokovic-Nadal final.  It's a tough one to call overall but on the winner, I have gone safe this week.


  1. Stanley Wawrinka ...!? Stanislas = origine polonaise :-P

  2. Yep Djokovic looks pretty safe to me!

  3. I know it's Stanislas, but I just like to call him Stanley :-D