February Tennis – Nishikori To Win The New York Open?
February is a busy time on the ATP Tour, often referred to as “Frantic February” comprising 12 Tournaments, 4 of which are ATP 500 Events, and 8 of which are ATP 250 Events, and the first round of the Davis Cup. The first 8 are a mix of outdoor clay courts and indoor hardcourts, before February climaxes with four outdoor hardcourt events. These tournaments will also take place in 10 countries and 4 continents.
However, before you delve into February’s events, you might want to check out January’s winners, and the latest ATP News & Round-Up.
January ATP Winners
Gael Monfils – Qatar ExxonMobil Open
Gilles Simon – Tata Open
Daniil Medvedev – Sydney International
Roberto Bautista-Agut – ASB Classic
Roger Federer – Australian Open
January ATP News & Round-Up
January was all about Roger Federer winning his twentieth Grand Slam, and the old-man of men’s tennis did it in style, even if an early exit for nemesis Juan Martin Del Potro, an injury to number one seed Rafa Nadal, and a blistered foot for rising NextGen star Hyeon Chung made success that little bit easier for him.
That put Federer four in front of Nadal in all-time Grand Slam Titles, and 8 in front of Novak Djokovic, whose motivation to return to the top of the game remains in question after a straight sets defeat by Chung.
Federer’s victory also rekindled his battle for World Number One with current number one Rafa Nadal, with Federer only 145 Points behind him. If that gap remains up until March 5, Federer will return to world number one for the first time since 2018. However, much will depend on the schedules for the two players. Nadal again limped out of contention just as he did in last season’s ATP Finals, and he’ll probably have his sights set primarily on a winning another Frech Open Title later in the season. Meanwhile, Federer looks sure to follow the same limited schedule as he did last season.
February ATP Tournaments
Diema Xtra Sofia Open, Bulgaria, ATP 250, Indoor Hardcourts
Ecuador Open, Ecuador, ATP 250, Outdoor Clay
Open Sud De France, France, ATP 250, Indoor Harcourt
ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament, ATP 500, Indoor Harcourts
New York Open, USA, ATP 250, Indoor Harcourts
Argentina Open, Argentina, ATP 250, Outdoor Clay
Rio Open presented by Claro, Brazil, ATP 500, Outdoor Clay
Open 13 Marseille, France, ATP 250, Indoor Hardcourts
Delray Beach Open, USA, ATP 250, Outdoor Hardcourts
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, Dubai, ATP 500, Outdoor Hardcourts
Abierto Mexicano Telcel presents pour HSBC, Mexico, ATP 500, Outdoor Hardcourts
Brasil Open, Brazil, ATP 250, Outdoor Hardcourts
Diema Xtra Sofia Open
The sponsors will be disappointed that the last two winners Grigor Dimitrov and Roberto Bautista-Agut aren’t playing, but Stann Wawrinka does. However, the Swiss player looks a dodgy favourite after his Australian Open exit, and Gilles Muller is preferred after reaching the quarter-finals and semi-finals in the last two renewals.
Seeds Pablo Carreno-Busta, Albert Ramos Vinolas, Gael Monfils and Paolo Lorenzi are all capable of going close, but the last three renewals have all been won by Victor Estrella Burgos, though he does have a potentially tricky opening draw against Thomaz Bellucci.
Open Sud De France
Also known as the ATP Montpelier, 7 of the last 11 renewals of the Open Sud De France have been won by Frenchmen, whilst 10 of the last 12 players to finish runner-up have also been French. The bookies have made Jo-Wilfred Tsonga the early favourite, but it’s his fellow countryman Richard Gasquet who has won the tournament in 2006, 2013, 2015 and 2016, whilst he also finished second in 2014 and 2017.
ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament
Also known as the Rotterdam Open, the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament has been won by the likes of Federer, Del Potro, Berdych, Wawrinka and Tsonga. The last two champions Tsonga and Wawrinka are set to play but could face stiff competition from the likes of Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Kyrgios.
New York Open
What was the Memphis Open relocates to the NYCB Live, Long Island, and it will be interesting to see if recent form stands up. If it does, then keep an eye out for Japanese star Kei Nishikori who won the event in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He could be joined by the big-serving trio of John Isner, Sam Querrey and Kevin Anderson.
Spaniards won this title on 7 consecutive occasions between 2009 and 2015, and the likes of Carreno-Busta and Ramos-Vinolas will be hoping to regain the trophy for Spain after wins for Thiem and Dolgopolov. Thiem, the most improved player on clay last season, looks set to play but may not be the top-seed with Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic also a possibility.
The players in the Argentina Open will probably hot-foot it straight to Brazil and, no matter how Thiem fares in Argentina, last year’s Champion will surely be the player to watch in the first clay court ATP 500 event of the season, after beating the likes of Schwartzman, Ramos-Vinolas and Carreno-Busta on the way to the title last year.
Open 13 Marseille
Another French based tournament where French players have enjoyed plenty of success with 7 winners in the last 12-years, whilst Kyrgios and Murray are big names who’ve won this event. David Goffin and Warinka could play, as could last year’s winner Tsonga, but the man to watch could be improving Frenchman Lucas Pouille who finished runner-up last season.
Delray Beach Open
American players Jack Sock and Sam Querrey have won the last two renewals, and Sock will have this as a major target again after having his best-ever season in 2017, which culminated in him playing in his first ATP World Tour Finals. Former champion Del Potro could be a tough opponent, as could a fit-again Raonic, and the improving Nextgen Stars Shapovalov and Chung.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship
The eight renewals this decade have gone to whichever of the world’s best players have been in the best form, with Novak Djokovic winning in 2010, 2011 and 2013, Roger Federer in 2012, 2014 and 2015, Stan Wawrinka 2016, and Andy Murray in 2017. It remains to be seen what form any of this quartet will turn-up in, or whether they’ll turn-up at all, but if they don’t this could be a good tournament for Dimitrov.
Abierto Mexicano Telcel
Five different winners in the last five seasons, with three of those winners being Nadal, Thiem and Dimitrov. The early entries suggest this ATP 500 event could be a competitive affair with the likes of Nadal, Zverev, Thiem, Cilic, Del Potro, Kevin Anderson, Sam Querrey and John Isner all having the event on their schedules.
Pablo Cuevas completed a hat-trick between 2015 and 2017, with six wins for Spanish players and two wins for Argentinean players in the previous eight years. It may also pay to risk and each-way bet on Italian Players, with three Italian reaching the final in the last six years.
2018 Davis Cup First-Round Results
FRANCE 2, NETHERLANDS 1
Thiemo de Bakker (NED) beat Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 3-0
Richard Gasquet (FRA) beat Robin Haase (NED) 3-1
Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA) beat Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) 3-1
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) beat Robin Haase (NED) 3-2
JAPAN 1, ITALY 3
Fabio Fognini (ITA) beat Taro Daniel (JPN) 3-2
Yuichi Sugita (JPN) beat Andreas Seppi (ITA) 3-2
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) beat Ben Mclachlan/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 3-1
Fabio Fognini (ITA) beat Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 3-2
SPAIN 3, GREAT BRITAIN 1
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) beat Liam Broady (GBR) 3-0
Cameron Norrie (GBR) beat Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 3-2
Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez (ESP) beat Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray (GBR) 3-0
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) beat Cameron Norrie (GBR) 3-1
AUSTRALIA 1, GERMANY 3
Alexander Zverev (GER) beat Alex de Minaur (AUS) 3-2
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 3-0
Tim Puetz/Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) beat Matthew Ebden/John Peers (AUS) 3-1
Alexander Zverev (GER) beat Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 3-0
KAZAKHSTAN 4, SWITZERLAND 1
Dmitry Popko (KAZ) beat Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 3-1
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) beat Adrian Bodmer (SUI) 3-1
Timur Khabibulin/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) beat Marc-Andrea Huesler/Luca Margaroli (SUI) 3-2
Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) beat Roman Khassanov (KAZ) 2-0
Dmitry Popko (KAZ) beat Adrian Bodmer (SUI) 3-0
CROATIA 3, CANADA 1
Borna Coric (CRO) beat Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 3-1
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) beat Viktor Galovic (CRO) 3-0
Marin Cilic/Ivan Dodig (CRO) beat Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 3-2
Borna Coric (CRO) beat Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 3-0
SERBIA 1, USA 3
Sam Querrey (USA) beat Laslo Djere (SRB) 3-1
John Isner (USA) beat Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 3-2
Ryan Harrison/Steve Johnson (USA) beat Nikola Milojevic/Miljan Zekic (SRB) 3-1
Pedja Krstin (SRB) beat Steve Johnson (USA) 2-0
BELGIUM 3, HUNGARY 1
Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) beat Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 3-1
David Goffin (BEL) beat Attila Balazs (HUN) 3-0
Attila Balazs/Marton Fucsovics (HUN) beat Ruben Bemelmans/Joris de Loore (BEL) 3-2
David Goffin (BEL) beat Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 3-1