One of two European clay court tournaments this week, the BMW Open is an ATP 250 event in Munich. The event was founded in 1900 but became professional in 1970. Germans have won the event the past two years with second and fifth seeds Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber picking up the title in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
The bizarre performances and antics of Fabio Fognini seemed to have disappeared as his form took an upturn late last year but the top seed has now lost 19 straight games spanning two matches between Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He retired 0-6 0-4 down to eventual finalist Santiago Giraldo before retiring. He will look to end that run sharpish in round two when he plays the winner of Dustin Brown and Ivo Karlovic. Karlovic was beaten easily by Jack Sock and Radek Stepanek in successive weeks and is there for the taking for Brown. The German still struggles for consistency – beating John Isner one week before losing to Marco Cecchinato the next in Vercelli Challenger.
Two-time winner Nikolay Davydenko lost to Albert Ramos last time out and will have a tough time against another clay specialist in Federico Delbonis in his opener here. After making the semi finals in Casablanca, the Argentinian somehow lost to Yen Hsun Lu who rarely plays on the surface. After losing to Rafael Nadal in his last match, things should get easier for Ivan Dodig. He is the other seed in the quarter and will play Jiri Vesely. The Czech should have won at least a set against Bucharest finalist Grigor Dimitrov, having led 5-2 in the first set tiebreak.
Gael Monfils withdrew from the same tournament in the first set and may be a doubt to compete here. If he plays, the winner of Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Zverev awaits the Frenchman. 17 year old Zverev is highly rated and performed well at Junior level including winning this years Boys’ title in Australia. The No.1 player has played but struggled in qualifiers and facing an experienced player in Melzer will be a further step up in class.
Also the recipient of a wildcard is Peter Gojowczyk. The German will be disappointed to have lost to Marc Lopez in Barcelona, given the Spaniard doesn’t play singles permanently these days. He faces Sergiy Stakhovsky, who won the only meeting between the two in Furth in 2012. Feliciano Lopez rounds off the top half and opens against a qualifier that could include Ricardas Berankis, Thomaz Bellucci and Jan Lennard Struff.
2012 winner Philipp Kohlschreiber was also losing finalist last year and has to be in the mix for any potential winners this week. The German stares at a 0-3 deficit in the head to head against first round foe Denis Istomin but the Uzbek’s performances on clay are usually far below that of hard courts. Istomin made the quarter finals in Bucharest last week but should finally see defeat to Kohlschreiber in their first clay meeting. Polish men’s tennis is struggling this year and Michal Przysiezny is no exception. He has 1 win all year but will play an opponent in Marinko Matosevic that is 3-8 on the surface since the start of 2012 at main draw level.
Mikhail Youzhny has made 3 finals at this event, winning in 2010. The likely quarter final between him and Kohlschreiber should provide plenty of excitement although the head to head is currently 7-3 in the German’s favour. Youzhny plays the winner of Dudi Sela and a qualifier. The qualifier will fancy their chances with Sela’s clear struggles on the surface.
Andreas Seppi and Lleyton Hewitt played a dramatic five setter last time out at the Australian Open with the Italian pulling off the surprise in five sets. Should they meet in Germany, it should be a much calmer affair. Both players face qualifiers for the right to face each other. Seppi lost a third set tie break in Bucharest to end his tournament in round one and will hope to improve on that this week. They have met once on clay, Hewitt winning in three 10 years ago in Rome.
Tommy Haas won the event last year but comes into this year’s edition low on matches having not played since Indian Wells. He may be able to ease himself back into form against the winner of Alejandro Falla and Jarkko Nieminen but each of the three seeds in his half remain dangerous and will fancy their chances of knocking out the second seed before the final.
SF: Fabio Fognini def. Jurgen Melzer
SF: Mikahil Youzhny def. Tommy Haas
F: Mikhail Youzhny def. Fabio Fognini
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