The week after Wimbledon tends to be pretty light on tennis coverage, but there’s still three ATP World Tour tournament running this week! ATP 250 events in Newport, Stuttgart, and Bastad. We’ll take a look at some of the highlighted matches from each tourney.
Newport- The Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is the last grass court event of the year, so the field is usually a bit weaker than usual because most players want to get back on the clay or move on to the hard courts. The are still some great players however, and many of the top Americans have entered the event. Two time defending Champion John Isner is back to defend his title, and it’s easy to see why he’s had so much success here. The grass in Newport is much quicker than Wimbledon, which gives the big fella’s serve even more help getting through the court. Through his first two matches he has yet to drop serve, as he took out Ryan Harrison 7-6(0) 6-2, and Adrian Mannarino 6-0 7-6(6).
Tim Smyczek, an American that I root for took out the top seed Sam Querrey in straight sets for the best win of his career, but what then taken out by the grass court specialist Nicolas Mahut 6-2 6-4 in the second round. The feel good story of the week has to be Ivo Karlovic, who is back on tour for the first time in 3 months after suffering from Viral Meningitis. He won his first two matches and will now face one of the only guys on tour that are of his stature, John Isner.
Stuttgart- One of the many events in Germany, Stuttgart has the strongest field of the three 250’s this week. Tommy Haas headlines the clay court field, and has still yet to play a match after getting a first round bye. Gael Monfils is back in action after pulling out of Wimbledon for “personal reason”, and he’s playing well. He’s through to the quarterfinals after beating Paul Henri Mathieu and Florian Mayer, each in straight sets. Monfils is up to #60 in the rankings, and will look to continue his return with a good tournament this week.
Other notable matches from the first few days included one of the best characters on tour, Ernests Gulbis, who defeated Marcel Granollers 4-6 6-1 6-1. When he’s trying, Gulbis is very difficult to stop. He’ll face off with Tommy Haas for the 4th time in the last 10 months. The two have split those matches at 2-2, but Haas has won the last two.
Bastad- The only event in Sweden, the Skistar Swedish Open attracts some good players as well. The Swede’s used to be dominant in tennis, but with Robin Soderling unable to play, Sweden is without a top 100 player in singles. Top seeded Tomas Berdych will play his first match on the red dirt Thursday, facing Martin Alund from Argentina. Grigor Dimitrov, the number 5 seed, reached the semifinals here last year. He’s had to come from a set down in each of his first two matches against Elias Ymer and Filippo Volandri. Ymer is a kid to watch out for. The 17 year old Swedish player has some serious game, and pushed Dimitrov to the limit. His big serve and forehand are sure to be a staple on the tour in years to come.
Fernando Verdasco continued his run of good form by winning his first round match over Andreas Vinciguerra. The Spaniard’s season has turned around big-time after switching rackets.
I’ll be back in a couple days to review some more of the great action from around the ATP!