Friday, 17 February 2017

Rotterdam wide open

The WTA Tour is concentrated in Asia this week, while the ATP Tour has spread its tentacles to three other continents.  In Europe, top ten players Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem lead a Rotterdam field including nine of the world's top twenty.  Although only seeded five, the favourite has to be Grigor Dimitrov, who is gunning for his second title in the space of a week, and third for the year.

After surviving the horror first round draw of Alexander Zverev, with a fighting three set victory, Thiem was a major beneficiary from the withdrawal of seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut before the tournament, as the Spaniard would have been his likely quarter final opponent.  Instead, Denis Istomin came into the draw as a lucky loser from qualifying (the same Denis Istomin who defeated Djokovic in the Aus Open last month !) and qualifier Evgeny Donskoy moved into Roberto's place in the draw.

Ultimately Thiem has a quarter final date with French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and should move comfortably into a semi final where things become far more serious.
The Sofia finalists from last week, Dimitrov and David Goffin are set to meet again, this time in a quarter final, the winner awaiting Thiem or Herbert.
Dimitrov defeated Istomin and Goffin overcame Robin Haase to reach their match up, although Haase gave the Belgian a scare, taking the first set.

At the top of the draw, Cilic will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in what should be a crowd pleasing quarter final.  Tsonga has yet to drop a set, but Cilic has struggled in both his matches, needing to go the distance against both Benoit Paire and then fellow Croatian Borna Coric.

While Tsonga and Herbert have made the final eight, other French dreams have not lasted as long - eighth seed Lucas Pouille received his auf wiedersehen from Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round and Richard Gasquet was soundly beaten in the second set by fourth seed Tomas Berdych after a first set tie break.
Berdych's quarter final opponent is Martin Klizan who took the smile off Kohlschreiber's face in the second round.

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