ATP Grand Prix Hassan II Preview

ATP Grand Prix Hassan II Preview

ATP Grand Prix Hassan II is the only stop on the African continent.

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ATP Grand Prix Hassan II, located in Morocco, is the only stop on the African continent. Top seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez leads a field that includes eight seeds inside the worlds top 100. 

Tournament overview

The Grand Prix Hassan II, inaugurated in 1986, is entirely funded by Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Marrakech, newly relocated from Casablanca in 2016, is the only ATP World Tour stop on the African continent. Two Moroccans have won the title in their home country: Hicham Arazi in 1997 and Younes El Aynaoui in 2002. In the past five years, Spaniards have dominated this event winning four times, with Martin Klizan stopping the rot when he defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets in last year's tournament. 

First Quarter

Top seed and world number 37, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez headlines this quarter. The 2014 champion comes into this event having lost in the first and second round at the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open, but his favourite surface is clay, on which he has won all of his five titles. This quarter also includes Nicolas Almagro, who faces Romanian Radu Albot in the first round, 27-year old and Moroccan wildcard Reda El AmraniInigo Cervantes and eight seed Jiri Vesely.

El Amrani faces a qualifier, Nikola Mektic, in his opening round, whilst Vesely faces Cervantes. Garcia-Lopez has a bye in his opening round and will face the winner of Albot and Almagro, while the winner of El Amrani and Mektic will go up against either Cervantes or Vesely. Garcia-Lopez will find it tough in this section if he was to play Almagro.

Quarterfinal Predictions: Almagro - Vesely

Semifinalist: Almagro

Nicolas Almagro serves against Inigo Cervantes during the BNP Paribas Open (Photo:Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Nicolas Almagro serves against Inigo Cervantes during the BNP Paribas Open (Photo:Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Second Quarter

Rising star and number three seed Borna Coric headlines this quarter, with six seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the bottom of this section. This quarter also includes Simone Bolelli, who faces Taro Daniel, Daniel Munoz de la Nava, who faces qualifier Maximo Gonzalez, and Paul Henri Mathieu, who goes up against Ramos.

Borna Coric will face the winner of the Bolelli and Daniel match, while Munoz de la Nava or Gonzalez will play Mathieu or Ramos-Vinolas. Coric should come through this quarter unscathed. It will be interesting to see how Munoz de la Nava gets on this week in the Moroccan capital. The Spaniard is currently ranked at 74 and could make a decent run this week. 

Quarterfinal Predictions: Coric - Ramos-Vinolas

Semifinalist: Ramos-Vinolas

Albert Ramos-Vinolas returns a forehand to Gael Monfils at Indian Wells (Photo:Harry How/Getty Images)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas returns a forehand to Gael Monfils at Indian Wells (Photo:Harry How/Getty Images)

Third Quarter 

Number four seed Argentine Federico Delbonis is the headline maker in this section, having recently beaten Andy Murray in Indian Wells, he is hoping he can bring some of that form on clay, which is undoubtedly his favourite surface. This quarter includes Pablo Carreno Busta, Evgeny Donskoy, Denis Istomin, Moroccan wildcard  Amine Ahouda and Thiemo De Bakker.

Carreno Busta faces off against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia with Istomin facing Lorenzo Giustino, who came through qualifying, and Ahouda faces De Bakker. The winner of Carreno Busta and Donskoy will likely face Istomin, while Delbonis awaits the winner of Ahouda and De Bakker. Delbonis should make it through this quarter, but don't be surpised if Denis Istomin troubles the big serving Argentine. 

Quarterfinal Predictions: Delbonis - Istomin

Semifinalist: Delbonis 

Federico Delbonis returns a shot to during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells (Photo:Matthew Stockman)
Federico Delbonis returns a shot to Andy Murray during the BNP Paribas Open (Photo:Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Fourth Quarter

Portuguese number two seed Joao Sousa headlines the fourth and final quarter. Fifth seed Teymuraz Gabashvili faces Daniel Gimeno Traver, Alberto Montanes will play a qualifier and Facundo Bagnis faces off against wildcard Lamine Ouahab, who shocked Garcia-Lopez in last year's tournament by defeating him 6-3, 6-3 in the second round.

Sousa will play Bagnis or Ouahab in the second round and should come through this quarter comfortably with clay being his favourite surface, although he has yet to win an ATP tournament on this surface. Both his victories have come on indoor hard courts. It will be intersting to see if Lamine Ouahab can replicate last years showing and knock a big seed out. 

Quarterfinal Prediction: Sousa - Montanes

Semifinalist: Sousa

Joao Sousa returns a shot to Novak Djokovic during the Miami Open (Photo:Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Joao Sousa returns a shot to Novak Djokovic during the Miami Open (Photo:Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Predictions

Semifinals: Almagro def. Ramos-Vinolas, Sousa def. Delbonis 

Final: Sousa def. Almagro

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