Sunday, February 8, 2015

Memphis Open Predictions

The Memphis Open is headlined by Kei Nishikori, and he is the clear favorite to take home the title.  However, Nishikori better hope he is returning well this week, as he could potentially have to face big serving Ivo Karlovic and John Isner on his way to the finals.  Facing both seems relatively likely for Nishikori, as neither Karlovic nor Isner has a particularly difficult draw before reaching Nishikori. 

Kevin Anderson is the number two seed, and his half of the draw isn't overly menacing.  The struggling Dolgopolov is the next highest seed in his half, followed by Steve Johnson and Adrian Mannarino.  More dangerous to Anderson should be 22 year old Australian Bernard Tomic.  Tomic has been playing better lately, and looks to be reinvigorated following the emergence of even younger Aussie Nick Kyrgios. 

Expect Nishikori to play Isner in the top half semifinals, and Anderson to play Tomic in the bottom half.  In the finals, Nishikori should be able to get past Anderson in straights, although the big hitting South African is capable of giving nearly anyone problems on his best days. 

While the first round matchup of wildcards Jared Donaldson and Stefan Kozlov won't have title implications this week (the winner will likely go down to Querrey or Becker in the second round), it is one of the most interesting matches of the tournament for fans of American tennis.  Donaldson (18) and Kozlov (17) may be the two best young American tennis players, and big things are expected from both of them.  While it's not yet clear which one is the best prospect, Donaldson should prevail in this one.  He just won a challenger and is up to 178 in the world rankings.  The younger Kozlov has shown he can compete with players ranked well above him, but he is currently outside the top 400 in the rankings.  Donaldson definitely has the pressure in this one, but he should be able to get past Kozlov in straights.

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