Sunday, April 28, 2013

Munich becomes becomes battleground for top 10

If you thought Munich would be just another boring 250 event, you could not be more wrong. With the top nine ranking spots basically set in stone before Roland Garros, the race has heated up for that final top 10 spot before the second grand slam of the year. As we prepare for the tournament in Munich, three of the five main candidates for that final spot represent the top three seeds at the tournament.

The current No. 10 in the world Janko Tipsarevic is the top seed in Munich. He reached the semifinals of Madrid last year, but with the return of red clay, that will be tough to defend. Tipsarevic basically must win in Munich in order to be the No. 10 seed in Paris.

Marin Cilic is the No. 2 seed in Munich and is No. 11 in the world. Cilic was the finalist in Munich last year, so another return to the final will put him in good position to pass Tipsarevic in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Especially since he only has 100 points to defend at the two Masters Series tournaments leading up to Roland Garros.

However, on his side of the draw is the No. 3 seed and No. 14 player in the world Tommy Haas. The former No. 2 player in the world lost to Cilic in the semifinals of the event last year, and is looking for some revenge in his home country. Haas has a grand total of ZERO points to defend after Munich leading up to Roland Garros, so a good performance in Munich could be the spark he needs on clay to make a run for the top 10.

Nicolas Almagro and Milos Raonic are the other top competitors for the final spot in the top 10. Each player helped themselves out in their rankings with good performances in Barcelona before each lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets as he won his eight title in his home country's tournament.

Almagro will have to defend a title in Nice and two runs to the Round of 16 in each of the Masters Series events between now and Roland Garros. It will be a tough battle for Almagro to get in the top 10, but he always plays his best on the clay.

Raonic has basically nothing to defend before heading to Roland Garros, but he has always struggled on the slow surface. A good performance in Barcelona could be the spark he needs to crack the top 10 for the first time in his career, but his best chance to do so will be at Wimbledon this year.

This tournament in Munich will be very important in determining who will take the tenth seed at Roland Garros, and will be a good chance for Tipsarevic to get out of a massive slump. Meanwhile Haas and Cilic could provide an epic semifinal battle in the bottom half of the draw. It may just be another clay court 250 event, but a lot is at stake for the top three seeds in the tournament. Below are my predictions for the top 15 seeds at Roland Garros. I could rearrange 10 through 14 any way and still not feel confident about it. That will be fun to watch, because anyone can do well there. Also Kei Nishikori has nothing to defend for the clay season, because of an injury last year. If he can be healthy during that stretch this year, he could put himself in the conversation.

My Projected Roland Garros Seeds
1. Novak Djokovic
2. Andy Murray
3. Roger Federer
4. David Ferrer
5. Rafael Nadal (Pray that he will be in the same quarter of the draw as Ferrer!)
6. Juan Martin Del Potro
7. Tomas Berdych
8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
9. Richard Gasquet
10. Marin Cilic
11. Janko Tipsarevic
12. Tommy Haas
13. Milos Raonic
14. Nicolas Almagro
15. Kei Nishikori

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