ATP Tour: Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

We take a look at the Barcelona Open which will be taking place at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona between 23 April and 29 April. 

The Barcelona Open has taken place at the Real Club de Tenis since 1953. The outdoor clay arena is the oldest Spanish Tennis Club, having opened in 1899. This really represents the spiritual home of Spanish Tennis: 13 of the last 15 winners of the event have been Spanish, which obviously includes the 10 titles won by Rafa Nadal. Nadal has already begun the clay court season in ominous mood- going up against Kei Nishikori in the Monte Carlo final at the time of writing.

The event is a 48 man draw, with the 16 seeded players receiving a bye into the Round of 32. It would take a brave man to beat against the revitalized Nadal making it an 11th title this year.

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell | 23 April - 29 April | Real Club de Tenis, Barcelona

Past Winners
2017: Rafael Nadal
2016: Rafael Nadal
2015: Kei Nishikori
2014: Kei Nishikori
2013: Rafael Nadal

First Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic 
Clearly you don’t want to fall in the Nadal quarter, and that’s exactly what Monte Carlo finalist Nishikori has done. Two-time Barcelona champion, and once beaten finalist, Nishikori will feel hard done by after making it to the Monte Carlo final. He will likely play Nadal in the Round of 16, while the narrative of Novak Djokovic rambles on in the bottom half of this quarter. His victories over Lajovic and Coric were impressive, and it took a spirited Thiem to stop perhaps the most encouraging week in recent history for the Serb. He absolutely thrashed Lajovic in Monte Carlo, and he lurks in the bottom half of this quarter. Djokovic should get past possible a tie with Delbonis, while Feliciano Lopez may prove a tougher task. Perhaps that’s where one may see an upset in this draw, with Lopez potentially beating the rehabilitating Serb. But it would take a fool to bet against the hegemonic power of Rafa.

Likely to Progress: Rafa Nadal

Second Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut 
David Goffin is always one to look at for the upset department. He just never really convinces, with that heroic run to the World Tour Finals last year more the exception than the rule. And I see that potential usurper coming in the form of Karen Khachanov in a projected Round of 16 match. Khachanov trails the head-to-head with Goffin 3-1, but that one victory was in Barcelona last year. Khachanov won his first title at the Open 13 earlier this season and was unfortunate to run into Rafa at Monte Carlo in the Round of 16. While Bautista Agut will enjoy fan support in the bottom half here, it may perhaps be the turn of diminutive Hyeon Chung to finally emulate his semi-final form in Melbourne. His game is born for clay, and he could be the man to progress out of a fairly open quarter.

Likely to Progress: Hyeon Chung

Third Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Diego Schwartzmann, Dominic Thiem
One wonders if the manner in which Dominic Thiem was thrashed by Rafa will leave any residual effects going into this week. He has a tricky little draw, likely facing Joao Sousa and Fernando Verdasco in his opening ties. I think that both of those ties could push him and I anticipate a possible early exit for a man fated to be the next ‘King of Clay’. Rio Open champion Diego Schwartzmann was soundly beaten by Gasquet at Monte Carlo, but I just have a feeling that the Argentine could thrive this week- remember how hard he pushed Rafa in Melbourne earlier this year? You could put his travails in Monte Carlo down to a readjustment to clay following the ‘Sunshine Double’.

Likely to Progress: Diego Schwartzmann

Fourth Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Pablo Carreno Busta, Grigor Dimitrov
Carreno Busta’s half of the draw looks positively dreamy in comparison to some of the intriguing matches that could await Bulgarian Dimitrov in the early stages. Carreno Busta may play Benoit Paire before taking on possibly Mannarino, so one should expect him to make it to the Quarterfinal stage. Dimitrov could take on arch competitor Phillip Kohlschreiber in the Round of 32 before possible meeting Andrey Rublev in the Round of 16- not to mention the presence of equally enigmatic pair Tennys Sandgren and Malek Jaziri. But I still expect Grigor Dimitrov to progress out of a tough section.

Likely to Progress: Grigor Dimitrov

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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