ATP Basel 2012 Draw Preview and Analysis

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For the full draw, click here: ATP Basel 2012 Draw

The Swiss Indoors is one of two ATP 500 tournaments this week. The tournament has been going for over forty years with the likes of Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, John Mcenroe and Pete Sampras amongst past winners of the tournament. There will be no prizes for guessing who sets all the records here – Roger Federer has won the title here a record five times and has made the final eight times as well as making six finals in a row. As No.1 seed he will be expected to make the seven and be a strong favourite for title number six as well. It is key that he wins this tournament to ensure he is still in with a chance of the year end No.1 but it appears unlikely with Federer only having points to lose and none to gain at this point of the season.

Federer opens up against Jeremy Chardy. The Frenchman is one of four nominees for most improved player of the year, having moved from outside the top 100 to inside the top 40 since the start of the year. However, he has yet to play indoors this year and has had mixed success in the past so it appears just to be a case of how many games he will get against the best indoor player in the world. A second of the four nominees for said title is Go Soeda who could be second round opponent for Federer. The Japanese has found it difficult on the main tour for the most part, especially out of Asia. He takes on Thomaz Bellucci who has had an impressive run to the semi finals in Moscow on what is definitely not his preferred surface. Lukas Lacko’s slump continued against Dominic Thiem in Vienna and one of the qualifiers may fancy their chances to progress here against him. Moscow finalist Andreas Seppi is fifth seed here and will look to continue his good form against the unpredictable Benoit Paire. Paire was surprisingly dumped out in the opening round of Vienna by Paolo Lorenzi.

Stanislas Wawrinka looks like he has a great chance of making it an all-Swiss final with the quarter he has. First round opponent Nikolay Davydenko has generally been fairly competitive indoors but performances like the one that saw him lose to Alex Bogomolov last week will see him exit very quickly against a player like Wawrinka. The Swiss won last time they played, needing three sets for a victory in 2011 at Indian Wells. Awaiting in the next round is a wildcard, either Paul Henri-Mathieu or Henri Laaksonen. 20-year old Laaksonen is outside the top 300 currently and shouldn’t be a threat – although the Gael Monfils-Patrik Rosenholm match showed that such shocks can still happen. Julien Benneteau will face a qualifier with the winning going against either Viktor Troicki or Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov has won just one of four indoor matches this year but will fancy his chances against his Serb opponent – Troicki was shocked by eventual semi-finalist Malek Jaziri in Moscow.

In the other half Juan Martin Del Potro looks the main threat to Federer’s title, though the Argentinian has won just two of his fifteen matches against Federer and none since his return from the major injury. Del Potro has made the final in Vienna and looks heavy favourite to take the title. His expected route to the final looks very comfortable and it would be surprising to not see him there. Fellow South American Alejandro Falla is first up. Falla actually has a victory in the books against him, defeating a 17-year old Del Potro at the US Open in 2006. Brian Baker or a qualifier awaits in the second round. Baker continues to struggle and won just four games in defeat to Mikhail Youzhny in Stockholm. Jarkko Nieminen and Kevin Anderson were both defeated by Lleyton Hewitt in Stockholm and now take each other on this week. Nieminen generally performs well indoors but will have been disappointed to lose from a break up in the three set defeat to the Australian. Anderson will fancy his chances going into the clash though – he has a 2-0 record over Nieminen including just weeks ago in Shanghai. Another of the “Most Improved Player” nominees has a tough match here. Marinko Matosevic has moved up above 130 places in the rankings this year but will be disappointed to face Florian Mayer  in the opening round. Matosevic’s Vienna run was ended by a confident Juan Martin Del Potro while Mayer was a surprise loser to Ricardas Berankis in Stockholm. Mayer had been carrying a rib injury from Shanghai so could be still feeling the effects of it.

Last time out, Bernard Tomic admitted he may not have tried so hard in the second set of his defeat to Florian Mayer in Shanghai. The Australian will need to put in all the effort he has to defeat a very tricky opponent in Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny’s choice to play Stockholm over a perceived weaker Moscow tournament came as a surprise and he exited at only the quarter final stage. Youzhny already has an indoor title to his name this year and could be an outsider to look out for if Del Potro disappoints. Matthew Ebden or a qualifier awaits in the second round. The Aussie was bizarrely bagelled by Filippo Volandri last week in a three set victory so could be another player the qualifiers would fancy their chances at beating. The No.3 Swiss player Marco Chiudinelli gets his customary wildcard for the tournament and could have done worse than draw Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round 1. Chiudinelli has not played much this year on the main tour but can count an impressive straight sets victory over Martin Klizan amongst his three successes on the year. Chiudinelli beat Garcia-Lopez in three sets last year and will fancy his chances again – Garcia-Lopez withdrew from Vienna in Round 1 and surely can’t be feeling 100%. Robin Haase looks likely to continue his slump against Richard Gasquet. Haase has now lost seventeen first round matches on the year and the Bangkok champion Gasquet will be very much expected to make that eighteen. Since winning the title there, he has suffered surprise defeats in successive weeks to Ze Zhang and Radek Stepanek.

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