This week sees the first edition of a new tournament on the clay of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Rio Open will be a 500 event after acquiring the license from Memphis while also hosting a WTA tournament the same week. The field has attracted two of the top five players in the world in World No.1 Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.
Have a look at the Full Draw: ATP Rio Open 2014 Draw
As with any clay event he competes in, Nadal will always be the very heavy favourite to take home the trophy. His half of the draw contains another eight Spaniards and he plays one of them in Daniel Gimeno-Traver in round one. They have only met twice but Nadal has dropped just seven games in four sets combined. It should be a straight forward start for Nadal who seeks title no.62 this week. The next round will either see the winner play Albert Montanes, who is on a 10 match losing streak if you include Challengers, or Robin Haase. Haase was a quarter finalist in Buenos Aires but was forced to retire down 1-6 0-2 to Tommy Robredo.
Leonardo Mayer lost to Fabio Fognini for the second week running on clay but looks unlikely to have the chance to make it three with the Italian in the other half of the draw. He opens against Albert Ramos, who leads the head to head 2-1. Meanwhile, Marcel Granollers rounds off the quarter as sixth seed and is there for the taking if he repeats his disappointing performance in Buenos Aires, where he won just 3 games against Pablo Andujar. Granollers plays Joao Sousa in his opening match.
For the second week running, Tommy Robredo plays Pablo Carreno Busta in round one. Robredo was a 6-4 6-4 winner to send his fellow Spaniard to 1-5 on the year in Buenos Aires. Filippo Volandri and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez both play qualifiers which could include Martin Klizan and Aljaz Bedene amongst others. After defeat to Fabio Fognini last week, Julian Reister fell to 0-4 on the year and will once more play a seed. Pablo Andujar will be a considerably weaker opponent than the Italian but will still be a tough ask.
Nicolas Almagro made it fifteen straight losses against David Ferrer in Buenos Aires and can go for no.16 in Brazil if both make the semi finals. He opens against Alexandr Dolgopolov in round one, looking to extend his 2-1 (2-0 on clay) record against the Ukranian. Dolgopolov was taken the distance in his last defeat to Jeremy Chardy, losing a third set tiebreak. One of three Brazilian wildcards, Joao Souza is fortunate enough to draw a qualifier although the winner of this match will have their work cut out in round two.
Alejandro Gonzalez remains winless on the main tour after defeat to Jeremy Chardy in Buenos Aires. Pablo Cuevas perhaps represents his weakest opponent so far with the Uruguayan still low on matches this year. Fabio Fognini will look to continue his outstanding form on clay as he extended his record to 21 wins out of 22 matches on clay (prior to the Buenos Aires final) since losing to Rafael Nadal in Paris last year. Fognini faces a qualifier in round one.
Thomaz Bellucci is one of two Brazilian’s in the final quarter of the draw who earned a wildcard. Bellucci fell out of the top 100 thanks to a combination of injury and loss of form but is still the best Brazilian player on his day by far. Santiago Giraldo is far from an easy opponent but Bellucci can take hope from their last meeting, where he won in straight sets in Davis Cup action. The winner will play an Argentinian in round two with Juan Monaco and Horacio Zeballos facing off against each other. It provides Zeballos with a great chance to upset the seventh seed. Monaco has not won a match since Winston Salem last year – a record that includes two Davis Cup losses and five main draw matches.
The final wildcard was given to Guilherme Clezar, a 21 year-old who won two Challenger titles in his home country last year. He is yet to win a main draw match in his career in two attempts. He faces Federico Delbonis who has struggled in his two clay events this year, losing to Taro Daniel and Pablo Andujar. David Ferrer rounds off the draw with a matchup against Jeremy Chardy. Ferrer is 5-1 against Chardy in his career but they haven’t played on clay since 2010.
SF: Rafael Nadal def. Tommy Robredo
SF: Fabio Fognini def. David Ferrer
F: Rafael Nadal def. Fabio Fognini