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The deadline for picking your team this week is Sunday, September 29, 8pm EST/Monday, September 30, 2am CET.
Rear View Mirror – a look at lasts week’s picks
Last week was all messed up because there was an ATP tummy bug going around. I figured Tommy Haas would drop out of Bangkok. He didn’t but he lost in the second round. I figured Llleyton Hewitt would play in Mumbai. He did but he lost in the quarterfinals. I passed on Andy Roddick which was a good thing because he hurt his foot and dropped out of Bangkok.
The real surprise was Benjamin Becker. He beat Carlos Moya and Tomas Berdych to get to the final in Bangkok. I love Benni but I hope my player Dmitry Tursunov beats him to win the Bangkok title.
There are two tournaments this week and we need eight players for our team. Tokyo is paying almost twice as much to its winner than Metz so let’s find five players for Tokyo and three for Metz.
Tokyo (outdoor hard court, first prize: $145,000)
You gotta take David Ferrer. He reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open and quarterfinals at Cincinnati and is having a great year on hard court. I wouldn’t save him for Madrid and Paris. He’s reached the quarterfinals at both those events, but if he reaches the final here, that’s more prize money than a quarterfinal at either Madrid or Paris.
Lleyton Hewitt is 10-2 in Tokyo but he hasn’t played here since 2004. Sam Querrey, Hyung-Taik Lee and Ivo Karlovic are in his quarter. Querrey had an excellent summer but Hewitt’s was even better. Hewitt is 3-0 over Hyung-Taik Lee. Karlovic has a 2-0 record over Hewitt but that was on grass and Karlovic is only 10-9 on hard court this year.
Benjamin Becker is lurking in this quarter and he got to the semifinals here last year but the only tough player he faced was Jarkko Nieminen. I’m taking Hyung-Taik Lee in addition to Hewitt because I need five players for Tokyo. Lee had a very good summer and he plays well in Asia. He also has a 10-5 record in Tokyo and reached the semifinals last year.
Nieminen is in Richard Gasquet’s quarter. Metz is the only fall tournament in which Gasquet has gone past the second round so don’t save him for Madrid and Paris. Gasquet is 3-1 over Nieminen so he should be able to win his quarter.
Tomas Berdych is the second seed here but save him for Madrid and Paris. He does well at both events. Fernando Verdasco and Thomas Johansson are in Berdych’s quarter. They’re both average hard court players but Verdasco had a solid summer season and got to the semifinals at Bangkok last week so I’m picking him.
Metz (indoor hard court, first prize: $76,970)
We should just name this the French Indoor Hard Court Championships. Sebastien Grosjean reached the semifinals last year, Arnaud Clement is 14-6 at this event and Gael Monfils is 6-2. All three of these players are spoilers because top seed Tommy Robredo could face Clement in the second round and Grosjean in the quarterfinals and Guilermo Canas gets Monfils in the first round.
All of which makes this a tough tournament to pick because indoor hard court is Robredo’s worst surface. I can use Robredo one more time so I’m saving him for Paris where he reached the semifinals last year.
There’s one sure pick: wild card Andy Murray. Take him because he’s 22-5 on indoor hard court. Wow, that’s an exceptional record.
I’m not picking Canas in the bottom quarter because he hasn’t done anything on hard court since Miami and he hasn’t played an indoor hard court event since 2004. I’m taking Marc Gicquel – another French guy – because he reached the semifinals here last year. He’s also 2-0 over Monfils on indoor hard court.
From the top half of the draw I’m taking Grosjean because he’s 2-0 over Robredo on fast indoor surfaces. Grosjean is near the end of his career but there aren’t a lot of other choices. Igor Andreev is 2-6 lifetime on indoor hard court and Mathieu has gone out in the second round here the last two years.
I’ll just have to depend on Murray to win the tournament.
Here’s my team: Ferrer, Hewitt, Lee, Gasquet, Verdasco, Grosjean, Murray, Gicquel.
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