Friday, March 29, 2013

Bold Prediction: Haas will return to top 10 before Roland Garros

Regardless of what happens between now and Sunday, the lowest Tommy Haas could be ranked when the new rankings come out will be No. 14. That would put him four spots out of the top 10 with two months before Roland Garros. The person who Haas would have to knock out of the top 10 would be No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic. After this week, Tipsarevic will drop to No. 10 in the world.  Right now, Tipsarevic leads the German by 1165 ATP ranking points, but that lead will be significantly smaller when the new rankings are released.

Between now and Roland Garros, Tipsarevic will have to defend 800 points, while Haas will only be defending 90 points. Tipsarevic does have plenty of points backed up in the non-countables as a safety net if he doesn't defend his title at Düsseldorf or the 90 points in Barcelona and Monte Carlo. However, there is no safety net for the 360 points Tipsarevic claimed in Madrid last year.

If Haas a couple solid tournaments, like he has had in Miami, during the clay season, passing Tipsarevic should not be a problem for the 34-year old German. The biggest problem for the former world No. 2 will be Marin Cilic, who is also pushing for a return to the top 10 in the world. The Croat is currently sitting at No. 11 in the world with 645 more ATP points than Haas. Like Haas, Cilic was still recovering from an injury this time last year, so he won't have much to defend either.

Between Rome and Madrid, Cilic has 100 points to defend, and he will need to reach the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo for it to be a countable tournament. However, the bulk of Cilic's points are in Munich, where he actually defeated Haas to reach the final. That totals up to only 250 points to defend for Cilic.

So Haas has his work cut out for him, but a good show in Miami, has put Haas in the position I believe he needs to reach the top 10. A win today over David Ferrer would almost guarantee a top 10 spot for the German, but even if he loses, he still takes 360 points away from the tournament. Look for Haas to have a great clay season as he tries to return to the top 10 for the first time since 2007, and be prepared for some epic match ups between Haas, Cilic, and Tipsarevic as they battle for a spot in the top 10 in the world.

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