ATP Malaysian Open 2012 Draw Preview And Analysis

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For the Full Draw, please click here: ATP Malaysia Open 2012 (Kuala Lumpur) Singles Draw

Alongside Bangkok, the Proton Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur is one of two ATP 250 indoor hard court tournaments this week. Started in 2009, the tournament is in its fourth edition this year and has Mikhail Youzhny, Nikolay Davydenko and Janko Tipsarevic amongst past winners. While Tipsarevic is instead competing in Bangkok, David Ferrer is top seed in a field that consists of four top 20 players.

Thought of as mainly a clay specialist for a long time, David Ferrer has improved massively over the past two years and shown he is an all-court threat. Having made the semi final and given Novak Djokovic a big scare, it would be fair to see Ferrer can compete on faster surfaces too. He will be a major favourite to win the title here and has a great start to the tournament. A slumping Alex Bogomolov Jr. has resorted to playing a clay tourney in Brazil prior to here and although it has worked as he made the semi final, it does seem a questionable scheduling decision. He takes on doubles specialist Dominic Inglot who took advantage of a similarly weak qualifying draw here. Ranked outside the top 1500, wildcard Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam should pose very little threat against Dutchman Igor Sijsling. Heshaam attempt to qualify here last year but picked up just four games against China’s Ze Zhang. Lukas Lacko will be hoping to end his eight match losing streak over three different surfaces but has a tough opponent in Feliciano Lopez. The fifth seed gave eventual US Open winner Andy Murray a lot of trouble in an excellent performance in his last match and should win easily if he plays anywhere near that level.

Alexandr Dolgopolov is another who makes his first appearance since the US Open. The enigmatic Ukranian can beat almost anyone on his day but at times it is often hard to predict which side of Dolgopolov will turn up. He will face either Alejandro Falla or Rajeev Ram. Ram’s serve and volley style of play is likely to be exposed if he faces Dolgopolov but it should be enough to see off Colombian Falla who also has injury doubts after retiring at Cali challenger 2 weeks ago. This draw will see not one but two Davydenko’s in the draw as Philip Davydenko is the recipient of one of the three wildcards. Philip is the nephew of Nikolay and has a tough opening draw in Matthew Ebden. The Australian has a .500 winning record on hard courts for the year and should be able to see off an opponent who is yet to play a main draw match. After moving away from the clay courts in the latter part of the season Carlos Berlocq has found it tough to win with just two victories out of his last ten matches. He could change this as he takes on Julien Benneteau who hasn’t been in amazing form, though admittedly the Frenchman is much more comfortable on hard courts.

After a strong start to the season Denis Istomin has begun to struggle and has poor defeats against Jurgen Zopp, Mikhail Kukushkin and most recently in St Petersburg, Lukas Kubot in recent weeks. It won’t be easy against his Spanish opponent Pablo Andujar who has begun to show that he is not just a clay courter. In the best form of his career to date, St Petersburg champion Martin Klizan will be full of confidence but it will still be a tough encounter against  Nikolay Davydenko. The Russian seems to excel indoors and even managed to push Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to three after an awful start. Julien Knowle is another doubles specialist who took advantage of the poor qualifying draw and has a tie with Albert Ramos as his reward. Ramos competed here last year and managed to defeat Mikhail Kukushkin so an opponent who hasn’t played a main draw match for seven years should be little problem. The winner earns a match against Kei Nishikori who has continued to build on his 2011 form.

Jurgen Melzer opens his tournament with a tie against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. Pospisil was scheduled to play in qualifiers but withdrawals saved him from doing so as the No.1 seed was moved to the main draw. The Canadian’s confidence will be low after numerous defeats recently, but most surprising was the straight sets loss to Rhyne Williams as No.1 seed in US Open qualifiers. There will be an all American first round when qualifier Michael Yani plays Brian Baker. Baker burst onto the scene earlier in the year with his returning to the tour after years out with injury but has come back down to earth now, winning just twice in eight attempts since Wimbledon including a first round defeat in Aptos challenger.

Second seed Juan Monaco is suitably rewarded for his ranking with a nice draw against either qualifier Riccardo Ghedin or wildcard Jimmy Wang. Ghedin is a regular on the challenger tour but is yet to play an ATP main draw match while Wang very rarely plays on the main draw either. However he has competed well in his most recent grand slam events, defeating Ivo Karlovic while giving trouble to two top 20 players in Gilles Simon and Fernando Verdasco.

Finals Prediction – David Ferrer defeats Kei Nishikori

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