The first set of ATP 500 level grass court tournaments will take place this coming week, including the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. The draw is led by it’s most prolific champion, Roger Federer, but a deep draw won’t make things easy for the eight-time champion. With play getting way tomorrow, let’s take a look ahead at what we might expect from the 2016 Gerry Weber Open.
Who is Playing
The draw features four of the top ten players in the world, led by world number three and eight-time champion Roger Federer. He will be joined by world number six Kei Nishikori, who is the second seed, world number seven and finalist this week in Stuttgart Dominic Thiem, and world number eight Tomas Berdych, who won the title in 2007. World number 11 David Goffin will be the fifth seed.
David Ferrer, Viktor Troicki, and Stuttgart finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber round out the seeds. Kohlschreiber, the 2012 champion, joins Federer and Berdych as the only former champions in the field. Other notable names include young guns Taylor Fritz and Alexander Zverev, while Dustin Brown, who has a giant-slayer reputation on grass, will also appear.
As the top seed, Federer finds himself at the top of the draw. He opens against German wild card Jan-Lennard Struff. The Swiss finds himself in the same quarter as fifth seed Goffin, who has yet to make a big mark on grass in his career. The Belgian has a losing record on grass but reached the round of sixteen at Wimbledon last year. He faces a tough test in the first round against the powerful Borna Coric. His second round match will also be a test as he will face either Denis Kudla or Sergiy Stakhovsky, both strong grass court players. It’s a pretty good draw for Federer, as he won’t face a test until the quarters, and even then it could be worse.
Quarterfinal: Federer d. Goffin
The second quarter is stacked full of power. Berdych leads this section of the draw, and will face the grinding Marcos Baghdatis in the first round. He could play either the grass-court specialist Brown in round two or French Open quarterfinalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas. This section also sees a power battle between Ernests Gulbis and German wildcard Benjamin Becker. The winner of that match will take on either seventh seed Troicki or young gun Zverev. There are so many big hitters who can do damage on grass, it seems like anything could happen in this quarter. That being said, Berdych is the most solid and consistent player and can out-hit any of them, so he should advance.
Quarterfinal: Berdych d. Gulbis
What makes this quarter truly fascinating is the fact that we could get a Stuttgart final rematch in the quarterfinals. Thiem and Kohlschreiber have been drawn into the same quarter and could face off in the last eight. Thiem has a pretty good draw, taking on Joao Sousa in the first round and either Teymuraz Gabashvili or Paolo Lorenzi in round two. On the grass, none of these players should pose a threat to the third seed. Kohlschreiber has a trickier route to the rematch. While Marcel Granollers in round one shouldn’t pose too much trouble, he will face either serve machine Ivo Karlovic or Andrey Kuznetsov in round two. While he should still get through, he could be more worn out come the quarters. Having to play so many matches in so few days, Thiem’s young legs give him an advantage.
Quarterfinal: Thiem d. Kohlschreiber
The bottom quarter features a pair of seeds who aren’t as strong on grass as they are on other surfaces. Second seed Nishikori will open his campaign against Lucas Pouille and could face either Stuttgart quarterfinalist Florian Mayer or American Brian Baker in the second round. On the other side of the quarter is Ferrer, who has been sliding down the rankings this year. He plays Andreas Seppi in the first round, and could face either Yuichi Sugita or teen sensation Taylor Fritz in the second round. Fritz had an impressive, albeit brief, showing in Stuttgart, reaching the second round and pushing Federer to the brink. He could be primed for another run here.
Quarterfinal: Nishikori d. Fritz