The Swiss Indoors in Basel is the second of the ATP 500 events this week and has a stacked field with six of the world’s top 15 players taking part in the event.
Check out the Full Draw: ATP Basel 2014 Draw
Five times champion Roger Federer leads the field and will play against Gilles Muller. The Luxembourger and his tricky lefty serve can trouble the top players on occasions but he has yet to win a set in 4 matches against Federer who comes off a title in Shanghai. However, question marks remain over where his focus lies with the Davis Cup at the end of the year awaiting him. It seems unlikely that Muller would take advantage while Jerzy Janowicz still remains far too inconsistent to pull off a victory. Federer also thrives on big servers like Janowicz but he has the potential to cause problems, which may not be the case with Denis Istomin.
For the second year running, Federer could meet Grigor Dimitrov at the quarter final stage. He won in straights on that occasion but the Bulgarian has made massive strides in the last 12 months. Dimitrov begins against young German wildcard Alexander Zverev. Zverev has impressed on the Challenger tour but more so on clay than indoors. Vasek Pospisil will have his work cut out defending his semi final points of last year. The Canadian give Federer a big scare before losing in 3 sets and will play Jarkko Nieminen first up.
Stan Wawrinka has suffered losses to Gilles Simon and Tatsuma Ito in his last two tournaments and will be vulnerable against an opponent who is fresh from a Moscow semi final run in Mikhail Kukushkin. The Kazakh is 1-2 against Wawrinka, who needed 4 sets to win their last encounter in Davis Cup action this year. If he can make it through this potential banana skin, a semi final place seems quite certain with Gastao Elias or Benjamin Becker in round two.
Ivo Karlovic has won just 1 of 5 matches against the Swiss and that assumes he will make it past Lukas Rosol in round one. Big serving Kenny de Schepper or Federico Delbonis are two of the weaker players in a fairly tough draw.
David Goffin continues to look strong after making it through round one with a straight sets victory over Dominic Thiem. His ability to beat lesser players is no longer in question and it will be interesting to see how he deals with Milos Raonic if they meet as seeds have projected. He will have to beat either Ivan Dodig or Marco Chiudinelli to get there though.
Milos Raonic‘s World Tour Finals hopes took a slight hit after all those in the race made finals last week. However, a deep run here will keep him in contention with Paris still next week. He opens against Steve Johnson, who he plays for the third time in the past 4 months. Raonic won both matches, the most recent on a third set tie break. Donald Young awaits the winner after a straight sets win over Carlos Berlocq.
Question marks remain over Rafael Nadal‘s fitness with rumours that he may not compete in the year ending World Tour Finals although it didn’t seem to bother him in a straight forward victory over Simone Bolelli. He plays a second qualifier in round two – Pierre-Hugues Herbert won a third set tie break over Edouard Roger-Vasselin to make it into round two.
In a draw with plenty of marquee matchups between the seeds slated, Nadal vs Ernests Gulbis is another full of intrigue. Gulbis isn’t quite at the level of earlier in the year but made the semi finals of Moscow. He plays the talented youngster Borna Coric in round one. The Croatian is beginning to make a name on the main tour but a Gulbis at 100% should be too tough for him. The winner plays Andrey Golubev or Teymuraz Gabashvili, with the latter currently holding a 2-1 head to head record.
SF: Roger Federer def. Stanislas Wawrinka
SF: Milos Raonic def. Rafael Nadal
F: Roger Federer def. Milos Raonic