Pay attention! This week’s submission deadline is Sunday, August 17, 10am (EST) in the U.S./4pm (CET) in Europe.
This week we have the last tuneup event before the US Open in New Haven. It’s a 48 player event and we need eight players for our fantasy team so let’s pick the quarterfinalists.
New Haven draw (hard court, first prize: $94000)
Fernando Verdasco is the top seed and I’m concerned about Eduardo Schwank who’s in his section. Schwank is going to be a good all court player but he’s not eligible for fantasy tennis because he wasn’t in the top 100 when the fantasy tennis season started. Verdasco is my pick.
Agustin Calleri reached the quarterfinals in two of the three hard courts events he’s played this year and he beat Robby Ginepri here last year. Juan Monaco has the most promise of anyone in this section, but he’s been injured a lot and he just missed eight weeks before losing a first round match at the Olympics. He’s also 1-4 against Calleri so I’m going with Calleri.
Juan Martin Del Potro just won his 17th straight game and he’s the first player in the Open Era to win his first three tournaments consecutively. I’m assuming he entered all three hard court tournaments leading up to the US Open because he didn’t expect to win the first one and still be alive for the semifinals in the second. He skipped the Toronto and Cincinnati Masters events after winning consecutive clay court events in Kitzbuhel and Stuttgart and the US Open starts next week, so I expect him to withdraw from New Haven.
Marcel Granollers and Steve Darcis have one main draw hard court win between them. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is slightly better on hard court than Chris Guccione so I’m picking Garcia-Lopez. If you do pick Del Potro, be sure the look at the draw before submitting your picks.
Marc Gicquel should be able to beat Albert Montanes on hard court but Mardy Fish should be able to beat Gicquel. Fish is inconsistent but he did reach the semifinals at Los Angeles and he reached the final here last year so I’m picking Fish.
Marin Cilic has beaten Fernando Gonzalez and Andy Roddick on hard court this year and he reached the quarterfinals in Toronto. Arnaud Clement beat him at Wimbledon but Clement is 2-5 on hard court this year. Cilic also beat Viktor Troicki on hard court in Chennai and he’s 2-0 over Melzer on fast courts with both victories coming this year. Melzer did reach the quarterfinals at the Olympics so he’s a valid pick, but Cilic is my pick.
Igor Andreev is the obvious choice in the next section – he reached the third round in Toronto, Cincinnati, and the Olympics, and he beat Oliver Rochus here in their only meeting three years ago – but I used him up in the clay court season so I need to pick between Victor Hanescu and Denis Gremelmayr. Hanescu beat Gremelmayr on hard court last year though it took three sets. I’d love to pick Gremelmayr because he reached the semifinals at Los Angeles and he’s won 58% of his hard court events while Hanescu has won only one third of his, but Gremelamayr isn’t eligible for fantasy tennis so I’m going to hope for a miracle and pick Hanescu.
Potito Starace took a set off Rafael Nadal at the Olympics but Andreas Seppi is the best Italian hard court player. Nicolas Lapentti reached the quarterfinals in Cincinnati and he beat Marin Cilic and David Ferrer to get there. This is a tough choice because Seppi is the more consistent player. Seppi reached the second round or better in six hard court events while all of Lapentti’s wins on hard court were in Cincinnati. I’m taking Seppi.
The two tall ones, Ivo Karlovic and John Isner, will play in the first round. Karlovic got to the semifinals in Cincinnati and he reached the semifinals here last year while Isner is having a disappointing year. Can Karlovic beat Jose Acasuso? Yes he can, he beat him on the way to that semifinal in Cincinnati so Karlovic is my pick.
Here are my picks: Verdasco, Calleri, Guccione, Fish, Cilic, Hanescu, Seppi, Karlovic.