The 21st edition of the Mexican Open in Acapulco signals a big change for the tournament with the event switching from clay to hard courts in a bid to encourage participation in the lead up to Indian Wells. The ATP 500 tournament has been dominated in recent years with top seed David Ferrer winning three straight before Rafael Nadal ended that run last year.
Check out the Full Draw: ATP Acapulco 2014 Draw
Top seed Ferrer is one of four top twenty players and the only winner of the tournament in the draw. Ferrer was defeated by an inspired Alexandr Dolgopolov in Rio and will hope to avoid a similar fate against a zoning lower ranked player this time round. His 2-0 record against Mikhail Kukushkin suggests he should have little trouble while fellow Spaniard has found it difficult against Ferrer in the past few years. Ferrer is 4-0 against Lopez since 2011 although just one meeting has been on hard courts. Lopez plays Edouard Roger Vasellin in his opener.
Kevin Anderson saved multiple match points in the Delray Beach final against Marin Cilic but it was not to be as his lost in three sets. The South African plays qualifier Stephane Robert, who dropped just five games in qualifying. Tigre Hank is one of two Mexican qualifiers in the draw but surely won’t have enough for a slumping Sam Querrey. Hank spends much of his time in Futures tournaments in the Americas and has failed to push on to the Challengers so far at the age of 22.
Expect tiebreaks when John Isner and Ivo Karlovic face off in round one. The two big servers and equally poor returners have split four matches of which 10 sets were played. Seven of those sets were tiebreaks with Isner leading 5-2 on that count. The winner could have almost a foot height advantage over their opponent in round two if Dudi Sela can see off Alejandro Falla. However, Falla is 3-0 against the Israeli although they haven’t played since Montreal 2009.
Vasek Pospisil is once more slated to make his return in this event after withdrawing from Delray Beach last week. He faces the in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov who is fresh off a final in the new Rio tournament. Dolgopolov saw off three outstanding clay courters before losing in the final to Rafael Nadal but may find the switch in surface difficult. The top half is rounded off by Jeremy Chardy and Matthew Ebden. Ebden lost from a set up against Pospisil at the Australian Open this year with two tiebreaks going the Canadian’s way in the four set defeat.
Ernests Gulbis‘ backhand was firing in taking the Marseille title last week to make it 5-0 in finals for the Latvian. The normally hot headed Gulbis looked surprisingly calm and composed all week and is now in the top 20. He will play Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round, who has retired in his last two matches, the second of which after taking the first set against Ryan Harrison. David Goffin looks for his first main draw win of the year after losing the previous two and will have a good shot against Lukasz Kubot. The 2014 Australian Open doubles champion is 0-2 against Goffin in his career.
Grigor Dimitrov has continued to show improvement on this year and could see his way to the deep end of the tournament if Gulbis has a letdown after last week. He was swept aside easily in straight sets in Rotterdam so will be wary in a potential quarter final with the Latvian. Dimitrov plays Marinko Matosevic who should be little trouble while a wildcard awaits in round two. Marcos Baghdatis is the likely opponent despite his disastrous form over late 2013/early 2014. He faces Mexican Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela whose only main draw match on tour was a straight sets loss at this event last year.
2014 hasn’t started off great for Gilles Simon who has losses to Marc Gicquel and Marius Copil either side of his third round at the Australian Open. He faces qualifier Tim Smyczek in round one, who looks for his second win of the year. The tournament represents a great a chance for Simon to find some form with Jurgen Melzer or Jarkko Nieminen waiting in round two. The 32 year-old’s have met six times, Nieminen leading the head to head 5-1, with the first meeting thirteen years ago on Wolfsburg carpet.
Andy Murray rounds off the draw as second seed with the now World No.7 still struggling to find his best form after back surgery late last year. Thankfully for him, he can ease his way into the tournament with Pablo Andujar up first. Andujar lost after holding match point against Rafael Nadal last week but his hard court form leaves a lot to be desired. Joao Sousa played Nadal the previously round and fared a little less well, picking up just one game against the world No.1. Sousa faces Adrian Mannarino in the first round.
SF: John Isner def. David Ferrer
SF: Andy Murray def. Ernests Gulbis
F: Andy Murray def. John Isner