ATP Tour: Mercedes Cup Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

We take a look at the Mercedes Cup taking place at the Tennis Club Weissenhof betweel 11 June and 17 June. 

This is an event that has its origin all the way back in 1970. Between the years of 1970 and 1989 it was a part of the Grand Prix Tennis Circuit. It then made a transition to the ATP Championship Series between 1990 and 1999. It then became part of the ATP International Gold Series in 2000, where it remained from 2000-2009, incurring a brief demotion to the ATP International Series in 2002.

It was then further demoted in 2009 to the ATP 250 Series where it remains, now sponsored by Mercedes; the winner of the event will actually receive a Mercedes of some description that escapes me. Crucially, this event switched from outdoor clay in 2014 to grass, which makes it the first stop in the pre-Wimbledon series. Roger Federer will no doubt be looking to secure a victory to close the gap on great rival Rafa Nadal after his 11th Roland Garros crown. Defending Champion Lucas Pouille returns while the likes of Shapavalov and former Wimbledon finalist Raonic add some razzmatazz to proceedings.

Mercedes Cup | 11 June - 17 June | Tennis Club Weissenhof, Stuttgart

Past Winners
2017: Lucas Pouille beat Feliciano Lopez
2016: Dominic Thiem beat Phillip Kohlschreiber
2015: Rafael Nadal beat Victor Troicki
When previously played on clay
2014: Roberto Bautista Agut beat Lukas Rosol
2013: Fabio Fognini beat Phillip Kohlschreiber

First Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Roger Federer, Denis Shapavalov
Clearly Federer holds dominion of this quarter, especially considering the fact that he enjoys a bye in the first round. But upon closer inspection there are a number of potential banana skins awaiting the great Swiss. Misha Zverev will always be a greater threat on grass than any other court with his desire to serve and volley. John Millman has also shown his ability to mix it up on the grass courts. Then you have the presence of Canadian Number One Denis Shapavalov. The big-serving lefty reminds me in so many ways of Goran Ivanisevic and will clearly be a huge threat to Roger should their paths intersect. But you have to imagine that Federer will be emboldened by Rafa’s success and will make it to the latter stages of the event.

Player to Progress: Roger Federer

Second Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Nick Kyrgios, Feliciano Lopez
The ever unpredictable Nick Kyrgios heads yet another fascinating quarter. Two of the players in this quarter- Victor Troicki and Feliciano Lopez- have been beaten finalists here before. Add to that the presence of Gilles Simon, who just recently reached the final in Lyon as part of a surprising recent resurgence, and you have a fairly strong looking section. I’m actually going to stick my neck out and opt for veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez here. He has shown past grass court expertise and should be too much for a rapidly diminishing Victory Troicki in the opening match.

Player to Progress: Feliciano Lopez

Third Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Tomas Berdych, Milan Raonic
While Tomas Berdych is the main event here, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the past grass-court master may be somewhere past his best. He is a highly competent grass-court player however and certainly deserves his status as the top seed here. Former Wimbledon Champion Raonic should have an easy ruin to the quarterfinals, though injuries have seen him be displaced as the Canadian Number One- that belongs to Denis Shapovalov now. Personally however, I think that young American Taylor Fritz could be the danger man in this draw. He will clearly have an uphill task against the experienced Berdych in a projected second Round match, but should he progress there then he may be the man to beat in this draw. It also all depends on how well Raonic can serve.

Player to Progress: Taylor Fritz

Fourth Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Phillip Kohlschreiber, Lucas Pouille
Former Champion Lucas Pouille will be fairly pleased with the draw that he has received this week. But the presence of two-time finalist Phillip Kohlschreiber in the top half of the draw should give him some pause for concern. Kohlschreiber had a disappointing first round defeat in Paris but makes his living off of the slightly smaller stature events that exist in and around the bigger events. I think that for this reason alone I’m going to back the journeyman German to progress this week.

Player to Progress: Phillip Kohlschreiber

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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