Sunday, February 8, 2015

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament-Rotterdam Preview

Rotterdam is the lone 500 level tournament this week, and there's no denying it's a loaded field.  Murray, Raonic, Berdych, Wawrinka and Dimitrov are all playing, and the draw is full with players capable of doing damage.

After his strong run to the finals at the Australian Open, Murray is the clear favorite.  He has a fairly straightforward path to the semifinals where Berdych likely awaits.  A Murray vs. Berdych semifinal would definitely be interesting following their tense Australian Open semifinal exchange (though likely less dramatic).  Based on recent form, the winner of this match should be the favorite to win the title.  Murray will have his hands full against the huge hitting Czech, but he should get through this one in three sets. 

The most interesting match in the bottom half would be the potential quarterfinal matchup of Wawrinka vs. Dimitrov.  Wawrinka was once again in good form in Australia, falling to Djokovic in the semifinals.  However, his post match comments about being mentally and physically exhausted indicate Dimitrov has a good chance to get the win.  If Wawrinka couldn't get past his mental exhaustion at a grand slam, it's doubtful he'll be completely invested in a 500 level tournament.  Moreover, Dimitrov's start to 2015 has been somewhat uneventful, and he'll be looking to start making some noise. 

Raonic should be waiting to play Dimitrov in the semis, as the most dangerous players in his section have been struggling.  There's no denying the talent of Ernests Gulbis and Dominic Thiem, but neither has won a match so far this year.  While Dimitrov has matched up well against Raonic in the past and is the more diverse player, the big serving Raonic gets the slight edge on an indoor hard court. 

A Murray vs. Raonic final would be a good one, and Raonic has given Murray problems in the past (holding a 3-2 edge).  However, Murray beat Raonic in straights last time they played, and looks to be in the better form.  Assuming Murray has recovered emotionally and physically from his draining Australian Open finals match against Djokovic, he should be the last one standing in Rotterdam.  

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