Stuttgart, De-Seeded

At the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart this week, only two rounds have been completed, and all eight seeds are gone.  It isn’t even a particularly weak top of the field–five of the eight seeds are ranked in the top 20, and all eight are 37th or better.

Six of the eight lost their first-rounders, including #1 Gael Monfils (to Hanescu) and #2 Jurgen Melzer (to Giraldo).  The remaining two seeds–#3 Mikhail Youzhny and #8 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez–lost today.  Youzhny may be the only man in the draw without something to be ashamed of–he won a match, then lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero on clay.

The remaining draw almost makes Newport look good.  Of the eight unseeded players, we have two wild cards (Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Lukasz Kubot) and two qualifiers (Pavol Cervenak and Federico Del Bonis).  The two qualifiers will play each other tomorrow, so at least one man from the qualifying draw will reach the final four.

It’s a project for another day, but it would be interesting to see which tournaments are most upset-prone.  The post-Wimbledon clay circuit seems like a prime contender, if only because of its awkwardness on the schedule.  And as friend-of-HT Tom Welsh pointed out, there seems to be a post-Davis Cup swoon, evident at Stuttgart with the losses to Mayer and Monfils.

4 thoughts on “Stuttgart, De-Seeded”

  1. Yeah, the post Grand Slam tournys are susceptible for sure. The transition between the 2 surfaces are particularly problematic, unless you’re Ferrer or Nadal it seems.

    At least it keeps it interesting this crazy ATP schedule!

  2. While these awkward tournies are good for low ranked players and qualifiers seeking points, I suspect most of the seeds have no real intention of using these events for points, and show up for the income and because of sponsor commitments. As a town that used to have such an event, it can be kind of a downer if you’ve counted on seeing stars (in its last years, the US Pro at Longwood in Boston often fell into a time slot which top players either dodged entirely or bailed out early from, sometimes ignominiously).

  3. I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final between Juan Carlos Ferrero and Federico Del Bonis. They have produced positive, entertaining tennis and cut their way through the field like knives through butter. Otherwise, they are very different: Ferrero 31 and Del Bonis 20; Ferrero a French Open Champion and ex-world #1, Del Bonis seeking to break through the 200 level; Ferrero a brilliant clay-courter known for his finesse, Del Bonis with a strong serve and powerful ground-strokes.

    Ferrero, coming back from more than one injury, still shows signs of rust – too many unforced errors, and a service that is even more innocuous than usual – but he played brilliantly against Youzhny and Granollers. Some of his shots and combinations were unmistakably those of a top-10 player.

    I guess “Delbo” has come to the end of the road at Stuttgart – beating the resurgent Ferrero in this kind of form seems like too much to ask – but it should be a fun match to watch, and the younger man has a huge amount to learn from JCF.

  4. Well, experience (and, to be fair, quality) told eventually. But Del Bonis had excellent chances to close out the match in two sets, when Ferrero was 0-40 on his own (not particularly reliable) serve. Del Bonis contrived to drop his serve, quite against the run of play, at the end of both the second and third sets – and that was that. The tally of points showed that, over the match as a whole, Del Bonis scored 89 to Ferrero’s 88; but it’s not how many points you score that matters most, it’s when you score them. Those crucial games at 4-4 or thereabouts are where champions show what they can really do at their best, while others tend to suffer accidents.

    I shall be very surprised indeed if Ferrero doesn’t now trample all over his opponent in the final – whether it turns out to be Andujar or Kubot.

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