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I’ve been keeping track of how accurate seedings are for different tournaments by looking at how many of the top eight seeds get to the quarterfinals and Hamburg has the lowest number yet. On average, less than three of the top eight seeds have reached the quarterfinals here in the last five years so get ready for another bumpy ride this week.
In Rome we had two retirements in the semifinals which, improbably enough, did not feature Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal but did feature Andy Roddick. Oy, life is not easy for a fantasy tennis fanatic but here we go with one more Masters Series event before Roland Garros. We need to pick the quarterfinalists because we need eight players for our team. By the way, lots of players retired during matches this week so check the draw before you go to bed tonight because there could be pullouts.
Hamburg draw (clay, first prize: $553, 846)
Roger Federer has an easy draw and he’s won this tournament three of the last four years so I’m going to use him for the first time this year.
In the bottom half of Federer’s quarter is the trio of Mikhail Youzhny, Nicolas Almagro, and David Ferrer. Youzhny hasn’t won a clay court match since last year. Ferrer has consistently reached the quarters here and he’s 4-0 over Almagro so he’s my choice.
In the top half of Nikolay Davydenko’s quarter, Paul-Henri Mathieu is struggling after an excellent record on clay last year. He hasn’t beaten anyone important. Stanislas Wawrinka is on a roll so it’s between him and Davydenko.
Here is where I need to think about how to use Davydenko throughout the season. For sure I’m picking him for Roland Garros, the U.S. Open, and Moscow – which he’s won the past two years and pays more than a semifinal at a Masters. And I picked him for Rome so that leaves one other tournament since I can only use him five times.
I’m going to say that Wawrinka is a bit worn out by reaching the semifinals, quarterfinals, and final at his last three tournaments and give my pick to the energizer bunny Davydenko.
In the bottom half of Davydenko’s quarter I’m going to leave Richard Gasquet alone until he gets out of his funk. That leaves me with Juan Monaco and Simone Bolelli and since we know some unseeded players will get through, I’m going with Bolelli.
Okay, do I pick Novak Djokovic now or not? I’m using him for the remaining slams and one of the summer hard court events so that leaves me one more pick. It’s unlikely that both Federer and Nadal will lose again but Djkovic can get to the semifinals if he holds up physically and he just had an easy semifinal in Rome and he’s smart, he skipped the non-Masters clay events. He beat Tommy Robredo on clay last year and Tomas Berdych has never done well here so I’m going with Djkokovic.
In the top part of Djokovic’s quarter, there’s not really a lot of choice. Berdych has been out with an ankle injury but he’s 5-0 over his first two likely opponents and unbeaten on clay against James Blake and Janko Tipsarevic so I’m going with Berdych.
Roddick and Radek Stepanek are in Nadal’s quarter of the draw. Roddick said his back hurt badly enough that he won’t be able to hit for a few days so I’m not counting on him to be here. Stepanek said he was weak and dizzy so I expect he’ll be alright and he has reached a final here. Carlos Moya has lost in the first round of his last three clay tournaments so that leaves me with Stepanek.
I’m not picking Nadal for Hamburg this week because I’m saving him for the remaining three slams and I picked him for Monte Carlo and Rome. That leaves me with Gilles Simon and Andy Murray. Simon beat Murray in Rome last year so Simon is my pick.
I picked three unseeded players – Bolelli, Stepanek, and Simon. We’ll see if that’s enough.
Here are my fantasy tennis picks for Hamburg: Federer, Ferrer, Davydenko, Bolelli, Berdych, Djokovic, Stepanek, Murray.