ATP Kuala Lumpur 2014 Draw Preview and Analysis

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Kei Nishikori

 

The Malaysian Open is one of two ATP 250 events this week but the event in Kuala Lumpur will be indoors as opposed the outdoor event in Shenzhen. The draw is headed by US Open finalist Kei Nishikori but the last direct acceptance coming in at No.168 suggests the possibility for mismatches is there.

Check out the full draw: ATP Kuala Lumpur 2014 Draw

While Nishikori failed to the take the title, his potential round two opponent is an Aussie who went one step further. Omar Jasika had failed to make it past the third round in any of the junior slams prior to New York but took the title in the Boys event in both singles and doubles. Jasika faces the serve and volleying Rajeev Ram in round one. Ram lost his only indoor match at ATP main draw level this year and has just a 3-2 record on indoor hard courts suggesting that the young Australian could cause the upset if Ram has a bad day. Nick Kyrgios will be ending his season due to burn out after this event, likely only playing due to his Malaysian roots. He has the game to trouble top players indoors and a quarter final with Nishikori has promise if he can defeat Marinko Matosevic and a qualifier or Go Soeda. The potential qualifiers look rather weak with James Ward the pick of the bunch.

Third seed Leonardo Mayer will face either a qualifier or Jarkko Nieminen after his first round bye. The Finn has an impressive indoor record going over .500 each of the past 5 years. He lost most recently to Jerzy Janowicz in Metz but made the semis in Montpellier earlier in the year. Playing his first main tour match at 30, Gregoire Burquier takes advantage of the very low entrance requirements to make it last in the draw. Although he drew a seed, Pablo Andujar has very little pedigree to shout about indoors. Malek Jaziri and Michal Przysiezny cap off the quarter.

Pablo Cuevas is 5th seed at this event but will be there for the taking given that he has played very few matches indoors. His rise back up the rankings came from his impressive form on the clay but it will be completely different on a quicker service which should allow the struggling Jurgen Melzer a chance for victory. Ivan Dodig has a chance to end a run of 4 straight defeats when he plays Hiroki Moriya – another player that has been stuck playing the Challenger circuit while outside the top 150. Julien Benneteau added yet another final loss to his infamous finals record here last year, losing to 6th seed Joao Sousa. The Frenchman will play a wildcard – Filip Krajinovic or Taro Daniel. Krajinovic retired down 6-1 1-0 in Izmir Challenger last week although it could be partly due to the effects of a late finish in Davis Cup action, where the Serb won twice to help his team win 3-2 against India.

Sousa has a tough task on his hands to defend that title and will begin against Benjamin Becker with either Pierre Hugues Herbert or Bernard Tomic in round two. Herbert has a huge serve that can cause trouble indoors but has struggled to make at the top level, most recently losing to Michal Przysiezny in Metz. Tomic has not played since the US Open after withdrawing from his second round and may find it tough to find a rhythm against an opponent like Herbert. Ernests Gulbis completes the draw with the second seed taking on a qualifier in round two.

Predictions

SF: Nick Kyrgios def. Jarkko Nieminen
SF: Ernests Gulbis def. Julien Benneteau
F: Ernests Gulbis def. Nick Kyrgios

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