Alongside Basel, the Valencia Open 500 is one of two indoor hard court events. Previously, the tournament was a clay event until the recent switch with the Madrid Masters tournament. It moved between Majorca and Marbella in the 90s/early 2000s before resettling in Valencia in 2003. It will be the 19th edition of the tournament with the field headed by David Ferrer. Since the move back to Valencia, a Spaniard has made the final every year except for 2009 where Andy Murray defeated Mikhail Youzhny. Ferrer has been responsible for four of those finals, going 3-1 including last year where he beat Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Full Draw HERE: ATP Valencia 2013 Draw
With two titles to defend in the next few weeks, David Ferrer (Player Bio) is playing a stacked schedule which may seem him troubled further down the line in the World Tour Finals, having played three weeks running coming into the event. A potentially tough opener against Gael Monfils awaits although the Frenchman is still capable of shocking losses – as shown by his defeat to Jaroslav Pospisil in Vienna. Ferrer has shown vulnerability and was defeated in the Stockholm final by Grigor Dimitrov. The draw is stacked with Spaniards and Ferrer could theoretically play a Spaniard in every round up until the final. Feliciano Lopez or Julien Benneteau will play the winner. Benneteau has lost his last three including the Kuala Lumpur final as his horrendous finals record continues. However, he is 4-2 against Lopez although he was defeated by the Spaniard in their last meeting at Queens.
Jerzy Janowicz (Player Bio) and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez both play qualifiers with the winner meeting each other. Janowicz returned from injury in Stockholm and convincingly defeated Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-1 before losing to Ernests Gulbis in the next round. Qualifiers in the draw include Alejandro Falla and Pablo Carreno Busta.
With Pablo Carreno Busta a possible qualifying opponent, the second quarter could see two all-Spanish matches with Nicolas Almagro (Player Bio) playing Pablo Andujar and Fernando Verdasco taking on a qualifier. Almagro has won the tournament twice although were both during the time when the event was on clay. Recent impressive hard court form suggests he should have little trouble against Andujar. Andujar was defeated by Miloslav Mecir in Vienna and struggles on the faster surfaces still. However, Verdasco has fared much better against Almagro in the past although all but one of their meetings have been on clay. Verdasco leads the head to head 6-3. After giving Ferrer a walkover in Stockholm, the possibility that Verdasco isn’t fully fit is worth keeping in mind.
Marcel Granollers was a surprise winner in 2011 but it is hard to see him repeating that run to the title this year. Granollers was handed a beating by Novak Djokovic for the second time in three tournaments and will open against a less impressive Serbian here. Janko Tipsarevic hit another low with a straight sets defeat to youngster Karen Khachanov in Moscow. The Spaniard will also take confidence from his victory over Tipsarevic two weeks ago in Shanghai. Fabio Fognini (Player Bio) is the final seed in the top half of the draw and plays Martin Klizan in the Slovakian’s first match since his dismal showing against Donald Young in the US Open where he won just two games.
The bottom half of the draw is fairly light on Spaniards in comparison with just two home players in the draw. One of these is wildcard Roberto Bautista Agut who plays the struggling Kevin Anderson (Player Bio). Anderson has won just three of his last 10 matches and has been defeated by Lukas Lacko and Kenny de Schepper in recent tournaments. Although possible, another all-Spanish match looks unlikely with Dmitry Tursunov likely to make light work of Alberto Montanes. Montanes has not played a main draw indoor match for over two years, much preferring the clay.
It is always thought that John Isner’s (Player Bio) huge serve would be suited to indoor play, the American struggles on the surface and has been defeated by Vasek Pospisil and David Goffin in the past two years at this tournament. His form outside of North America is also of some concern. He is 36-20 on the year but has a losing record in Europe. Ernests Gulbis should continue his good form and see off Isner for the third time running. The Latvian made the semi finals of Stockholm before being defeated by David Ferrer. Florian Mayer looks to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Lukasz Kubot in Vienna when he plays Jeremy Chardy. Chardy is 2-0 but it is the German who comes into the tournament in better form, having had good runs in Metz and Shanghai before the shock loss to Kubot.
Gilles Simon (Player Bio) will play a qualifier in his first round and should he win, he potentially will play Benoit Paire for the second tournament in a row. Paire was a straight sets winner in Shanghai to extend his record to 3-1 over Simon and 2-1 during the year. Paire looked impressive in Stockholm, defeating Milos Raonic before losing to eventual winner Grigor Dimitrov. Paire isn’t a certainty to defeat Jarkko Nieminen given the Finn’s decent indoor record although the way he faltered against Fernando Verdasco in the final set in Stockholm gives cause for concern.
Tommy Haas (Player Bio) rounds off the draw as second seed and comes into it with a new title. He won in Vienna, having come back from a break down in the final set to defeat Robin Haase. Phillip Kohlschreiber is an awfully tough opponent to begin his tournament with although Haas does have a 3-2 record against his fellow German. Mikhail Youzhny and Bernard Tomic play each other in what promises to be an intriguing match if both players bring their best game. However, straight sets losses to Jack Sock and Jeremy Chardy are from that.
SF: Jerzy Janowicz d. Fernando Verdasco
SF: Ernests Gulbis d. Tommy Haas
F: Ernests Gulbis d. Jerzy Janowicz