The first ATP 500 event of the year begins in Rotterdam on Monday with the indoor tournament boasting a stacked entry list that includes five of the top 10. Andy Murray was a late wildcard while defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro looks to defend his title as top seed.
Check out the Full Draw Here: ATP Rotterdam 2014 Draw
After losing in the 2012 final, Del Potro went one better with his victory over Julien Benneteau in 2013. He opens the tournament against another Frenchman in the form of Gael Monfils. Monfils has had an impressive start to the year going 10-2, losing only to Rafael Nadal on both occasions. He faces Richard Gasquet in the Montpellier final on Sunday. Ivan Dodig or a qualifier await in the next round for the winner. Daniel Brands, Lukasz Kubot and Sergiy Stakhovsky are amongst those fighting for the four qualifying spots on offer at this tournament.
Returning after his disappointing Australian Open loss to Sam Querrey, Ernests Gulbis looks to bounce back against Denis Istomin. Gulbis troubled Del Potro at this event last year before losing in straights and can play the Argentinian in the quarters if he can see off Istomin and one of Grigor Dimitrov or Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov is 3-4 on the year with three of those losses coming to players in this quarter – Del Potro, Istomin (x2). Dimitrov will be favoured to advance to the quarters having continued to push on after an encouraging end of 2013.
Tomas Berdych is 5-2 against his first round opponent Andreas Seppi and has won in straight sets in all five of those victories. Two have came indoors, both of which were in 2012 including once at this event. The winner will play a Frenchman in round two with Gilles Simon and Nicolas Mahut facing off for the seventh time and the sixth time indoors. Simon leads the head to head 4-2 but neither player comes into this match off a good week. Mahut lost 1-6 0-3 ret. to Paul Henri Mathieu in Montpellier while Simon lost to veteran Marc Gicquel at the same event.
2013 finalist Julien Benneteau has a tough opening round as he looks to defend the points earned last year. Jerzy Janowicz is well capable of causing Benneteau problems having already picked up two victories over the Frenchman in 2013. Tommy Haas is still making finals at the age of 35 with his latest the Zagreb 250 in which he faces Marin Cilic later. Haas will begin against Fernando Verdasco whom he is 2-1 against in his career.
Two of the Dutch wildcards could face each other if Igor Sijsling and Jesse Huta Galung both win their opening rounds. Sijsling will have a tough time against Mikhail Youzhny but the Russian’s loss to Bjorn Phau in Zagreb suggests he is vulnerable. Huta Galung blew 7 match points in his loss to Benjamin Becker last time out but will have a chance against a qualifier to begin.
Philipp Kohlschreiber lost to a player from qualifying in Dan Evans in Zagreb but will hope to avoid the same fate two weeks running. He could set up an interesting clash with Richard Gasquet should the Frenchman see off Thiemo de Bakker as expected. Gasquet is 2-1 vs Kohlschreiber but the German won the only indoor meeting in 2012.
A blockbuster quarter final between Andy Murray and Jo Wilfried-Tsonga is on the cards of both make it through their sections as expected. Tsonga is 4-0 against first round opponent Florian Mayer with a Metz indoor win amongst them last year although Zagreb finalist Marin Cilic could be more troublesome for Tsonga. Cilic plays Lukas Rosol in his opener.
Murray faces Edouard Roger-Vasselin to begin his first indoor tournament since 2012 with Jarkko Nieminen or a qualifier in round two. Murray will be confident in a potential matchup against Tsonga after going 8-2 against the fifth seed in his career.
SF: Juan Martin Del Potro def. Tomas Berdych
SF: Andy Murray def. Richard Gasquet
F: Andy Murray def. Juan Martin Del Potro