After a week off for Davis Cup, the ATP World Tour gets back first.to business with two European indoor tournaments before the Asian swing continues. The St. Petersburg Open in Russia is an ATP 250 tournament and boasts former winners such as Andy Murray, Marat Safin and Thomas Johansson, all of whom have won the title more than once here. Last year’s champion Martin Klizan will not defend his title due to injury.
Full Draw HERE: ATP St.Petersburg Open Draw
The top seed here is Fabio Fognini (Profile), who lost in the final last year. He will have a tough test on his hands given that he doesn’t perform as well on faster surfaces – his run last year was quite a surprise even with the weak field. However, he doesn’t have the toughest run to the quarter finals and with a qualifier up first. Big servers Konstantin Kravchuk and Samuel Groth lead the seeds in qualifying while British doubles player Dominic Inglot is also in the final round of qualifying. Michal Przysiezny was scheduled to play Albert Ramos in round two but his Davis Cup withdrawal on Sunday could put that in doubt. The Pole has performed well indoors in the past but at Challenger level and has a title this year on the surface.
Victor Hanescu should ease past Karen Khachanov in his first round match. Khachanov has never played an ATP tour match but is currently sitting inside the top 20 juniors at the age of 17 and was a winner at the European Tennis Championships in July. Lukas Rosol has now lost 10 matches in a row after his defeat to Horacio Zeballos in Davis Cup action and takes on the inconsistent Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis attempting to halt his terrible run. Berankis made the quarter finals of Petange Challenger last week and has defeated Rosol once before although that was over two years ago.
Third seed Janko Tipsarevic (Profile) comes off the high of winning the decisive fifth rubber to take Serbia to the Davis Cup final. Tipsarevic opens against Roberto Bautista-Agut who he has defeated once this year in the Chennai final. Bautista won only three main tour matches last year, two of which were at this tournament. He goes into the tournament with a 21-18 record showing how far he has advanced in 12 months.
Evgeny Donskoy faces Adrian Mannarino while Jurgen Zopp faces Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Zopp continues to use his protected ranking after a long layoff from injury but he is yet to win a main tour match this year. The winner of the latter match will play many peoples favourite for the title here if he progresses as expected. Ernests Gulbis should fancy his chances with this calibre of field but is always hard to predict – he begins against wildcard Mikhail Elgin.
2009 champion Sergiy Stakhovsky returns back to a preferred surface after being taught a lesson by Rafael Nadal on the Madrid clay in Davis Cup action. However, he hasn’t got away from the Spaniards completely and will play Fernando Verdasco who picked up two victories over Ukranians at the weekend. Joao Sousa and Paolo Lorenzi is an encounter you’d expect to see on the clay rather than indoors but the advantage definitely lays with Sousa who showed his ability on hard courts in his US Open run – which included wins over Jarkko Nieminen and Grigor Dimitrov. Lorenzi has played only six indoor matches over the past five years at main tour level, five of which were last year.
Horacio Zeballos plays a qualifier in round one while Marcos Baghdatis faces Dmitry Tursunov (Profile) in what looks to be the match of the first round. Baghdatis finally found some form during the US Open Series and looked unplayable in a thrashing of Kevin Anderson in New York while Tursunov has had a great year after winning just three matches at main tour level last year.
In the final quarter of the draw, Denis Istomin and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez play qualifiers. The winner of the Istomin clash will face either Jan Lennard Struff or Andrey Golubev. Both have performed well indoors in the past but like others in the draw it is at Challenger level. Golubev twice won in Astana, Kazakhstan – the country he now represents while Struff made two finals this year but would lose them both. Mikhail Youzhny or prospect Aslan Karatsev await the winner of the Garcia-Lopez/Qualifier tie with Youzhny a heavy favourite to do so. Youzhny (Profile) will hope to become a two time champion and facing the inexperienced Karatsev should pose little trouble for him. Karatsev has won three futures title this year but the step up should be too much.
SF – Gulbis def. Fognini
SF – Youzhny def. Tursunov
F – Youzhny def. Gulbis