Three tournaments this week, all of them with a 28-draw. I have to admit I’m not an advocate of tournaments of this type because they clearly handicap top seeded players. It’s really tough to expect that a tournament would win a player seeded with a lower number than 1-4, another thing which I don’t like is connected to the historical context. When we look at a list of titles winners we don’t know how many matches they were supposed to win to get a title, a guy from previous decades who won for example 4 titles could have won 4 matches more during his triumphs than a guy from the current era with the exactly same amount of titles. There have been other things which don’t facilitate comparing different tennis eras too, an introduction of 28-draw events on a regular basis (in 2008) has become an another aggravation to do it properly #
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga appeared in Munich being the only top 10 player to participate in tournaments this week. Apparently a chilly German weather, typical for this period of the year didn’t encourage him to show his best and he was humiliated by a veteran Tommy Haas , who finished as a semifinalist – it was his first semifinal since 2009. Other German, Philipp Kohlschreiber  has now collected 3 out of 4 titles on the home soil. In the first set of the final against Marin Cilic, Kohlschreiber saved four set points (two in the 10th game, two more in the tie-break). He won in Munich also his first title, five years ago.
A fresh Juan Martin del Potro (skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona) was an overwhelming favorite in Estoril and successfully defended his title. “The Tandil Tower” , 4 out of 11 titles has gathered in 28-draw tournaments in which he had a first round ‘bye’ (Los Angeles ’08, Auckland ’09, Marseille & Estoril ’12). Del Potro had some problems only with Wawrinka in the semi-final match concluded near darkness at 8:45 p.m. local time. The beaten finalist Gasquet has lost two finals in Estoril (previously in 2007) just like Cilic in Munich. “I am getting closer and closer to my best form. I have worked really hard at home and now I have another important tournament next week to improve further. If I play as well as I did today over the coming days, I will be happy.” said the Argentine.
The 4th edition of the Serbia Open must have been disappointing for the local crowd because there didn’t enter any of the three best Serbian players. Others Serbs are too weak to play important roles in ‘250’ tournaments. Djokovic’s youngest brother, 16-year old Djordje played in opening qualifying round his first match on this level and gained a decent scoreline against Ouanna losing to 4 & 2. The middle brother of the Djokovic family – Marko – was quickly ousted by Volandri in the first round, with 20 years and 0-4 record there’s rather no chance he would come into being as a respectable player in the future… Calm & quiet Andreas Seppi  for a long time couldn’t win an ATP event but he finally broke this pattern last year in Eastbourne; triumphing in Belgrade he has added to his resume 2nd title. The Italian was serving to stay in the match against Nalbandian in the semi-finals, he held that game to “love”. Benoit Paire , the runner-up played his first final, and he was *3:1 ahead when he dropped 8 games in a row… earlier he was two points away from losing to Nieminen in the quarters.
S: (4)Philipp Kohlschreiber d. (3)Marin Cilic 7-6(8), 6-3
D: (1)F.Cermak/F.Polasek d. X.Malisse/D.Norman 6-4, 7-5
S: (1)Juan Martin del Potro d. (2)Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2
D: (1)A.Qureshi/J.J.Rojer d. (4)J.Knowle/D.Marrero 7-5, 7-5
S: (2)Andreas Seppi d. Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2
D: (3)J.Erlich/A.Ram d. M.Emmrich/A.Siljestrom 4-6, 6-2, [10-6]
Choker of the week:
Edouard Roger-Vasselin led 6-3, 4:2 against Paolo Lorenzi in the first round in Estoril. He lost the 7th game of the 2nd set after 7 deuces (wasted 4 break points) and the momentum shifted awarding Lorenzi a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory.
# The last time prior to 2008, 28-draw tournaments occurred in 1990 (Long Island, Schenectady). Below all 28-draw tournaments in years 2008-12 (red those won by a player who hadn’t first round ‘bye’).
2008: Bastad, Gstaad, Newport, Stuttgart, Amersfoort, Umag, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Beijing
2009: Auckland, Sydney, Belgrade, Bastad, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur
2010: Auckland, Sydney, Marseille, Casablanca, Houston, Belgrade, Estoril, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Umag, Bucharest, Metz, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Stockholm, Montpellier, Vienna
2011: Sydney, Auckland, Zagreb, Costa do Sauipe, Marseille, Houston, Casablanca, Estoril, Belgrade, Nice, Bastad, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Gstaad, Umag, Kitzbuhel, Metz, Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Stockholm, Moscow, Vienna
2012: Chennai, Sydney, Auckland, Montepellier, Vina del Mar, Sao Paulo, San Jose, Marseille, Houston, Casablanca, Bucharest, Munich, Estoril, Belgrade
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