One of three ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court events in Europe this week, the If Stockholm Open in Sweden hosts its 45th edition of the tournament. Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl and John Mcenroe are just some of the names to have won the tournament in the past while in more recent times David Nalbandian and Roger Federer have been amongst those picking up the title.
Full Draw HERE: ATP Stockholm Open 2013 Draw
David Ferrer (Bio) leads the field here but the decision to play this tournament looks an odd one given his stacked scheduled leading up to the World Tour Finals, an event he has already qualified for. However, given his recent disappointing losses it could be down to searching for some form ahead of his defence of Valencia next week rather than picking up extra points. Ferrer’s experience should at least count for something in his opener when he plays one of the two highly rated youngsters on the tour. Jack Sock faces Bernard Tomic for the right to play the top seed. Sock managed a huge shock in defeating Milos Raonic in Memphis but has disappointed over the Asian swing, failing to qualify for Beijing and Shanghai.
Ivan Dodig will face Fernando Verdasco in consecutive matches after facing off against the Spaniard and his doubles partner in the final of Shanghai and then in the opener here. Dodig had impressed in Tokyo but was disappointing in defeat to Jurgen Melzer in Shanghai from a set up. Dodig avoided a collapse from two sets up in his most recent meeting with Verdasco, winning in five in the opening round of this years US Open. Dodig was impressive in beating Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets in Tokyo and could well meet the Finn in round two here. Nieminen is 4-2 against Benjamin Becker and has won his last three against the German.
With a Paris final to defend in a few weeks time, Jerzy Janowicz (Bio) is in need of picking up extra points to avoid dropping too much once he likely fails to repeat his run of last year. It’s a tough ask for him coming off an injury that has kept him out since the US Open. Janowicz made the quarter finals of Marseille this year before seeing his run ended by Tomas Berdych. There is no doubt Janowicz is capable on the surface but injury doubts will remain. First up is either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or a qualifier. Amongst the potential qualifiers are Julian Reister, Paul Henri-Mathieu and former top 10 player Joachim Johansson – who plays his first tournament for 2 years.
A match between two of the more lively characters on the tour in Janowicz and Ernests Gulbis is a possibly if both players can make the quarter finals. Gulbis plays Stockholm for the first time since 2009, where he was in the news for reasons other than his tennis. Gulbis hasn’t played since he took the St Petersburg title but will go far in the tournament if he can keep up that form. He opens against Jeremy Chardy whom he has a 2-1 record against, although they have not played since 2010. Igor Sijsling plays Tobias Kamke with the winner taking on the victor of the Gulbis/Chardy clash. Both Sijsling and Kamke have made finals indoors in recent weeks, although at Challenger level. Kamke won Petange while Sijsling was defeated by Radek Stepanek in Mons.
Both Grigor Dimitrov and Jan Lennard Struff face qualifiers in the bottom half of the draw and look likely to face each other. They have met once before although a 2010 clay Futures meeting that Dimitrov won in straights is of little relevance. Dimitrov had a poor run in Asia, failing to win even a set in Beijing and Shanghai.
Big serving Kevin Anderson (Bio) will be fairly confident of his chances of making the semi final with these in his quarter alongside the winner of the clash between Kenny de Schepper and wildcard Markus Eriksson. Eriksson is ranked outside the top 400 and is playing in his second ATP event. He lost in a final set tiebreak to Martin Alund in his only other match where he was also a wildcard – earlier in the year in Bastad. In terms of a potential quarter final, Anderson is 2-3 against Dimitrov but he does have the win the only time they played indoors.
Milos Raonic (Bio) took a wildcard into the tournament as he looks to earn a place in the World Tour Finals. At 240 points out, it is currently a long shot and will be more dependent on a deep run in Paris if he is to make London. However, he should breeze through to the later stages. He is an excellent 8-1 indoors this year and also is unbeaten in four Davis Cup matches on the surface. There seems little to trouble him on his way to the finals. He begins against either Alejandro Falla or a qualifier.
Benoit Paire is far too inconsistent to deal with Raonic here but should at least get to their projected quarter final meeting. He has improved a great deal since his 2011 Paris qualifying meeting with first round opponent Santiago Giraldo and should come through the opener. Jurgen Zopp uses his protected ranking to gain entry here and will face Pablo Carreno-Busta. The Spaniard has dominated on the Challenger clay but his credentials on a faster surface are yet to be proven. He had enough to defeat Alex Bogomolov Jr in Kuala Lumpur but was fairly easy pickings for Dmitry Tursunov in the next round.
SF: Ernests Gulbis def. David Ferrer
SF: Milos Raonic def. Kevin Anderson
F: Milos Raonic def. Ernests Gulbis