This week’s submission deadline is Monday morning, August 4, 4am (EST) in the U.S./10am (CET) in Europe.
This week we have one 28 player tournament in Los Angeles. We need eight players for our fantasy team so let’s pick the quarterfinalists.
Los Angeles draw (hard court, first prize: $79,000)
Andy Roddick is the number one seed in this tournament but I don’t know if he’ll show up. He dropped out of Cincinnati with neck/shoulder soreness and he had shoulder problems earlier this year. There are two more US Open tune-ups in Washington and New Haven so he might want to save himself for one or both of those. I used him at Queen’s, Wimbledon, and Toronto, and I was saving him for the US Open and an indoor fall event that pays more money. If you do pick him and he drops out before the start of the event, you won’t be able to substitute for him after the Monday deadline, but it also wouldn’t count as one of his uses.
Roddick will have no problem getting to the quarterfinals if he plays and Tommy Haas shouldn’t have a hard time either. However, Haas beat Roddick the last three times they met including Indian Wells this year, so I wouldn’t waste Roddick this week. But that presents a problem because Lu Yen-Hsun is not eligible for our fantasy team because he was ranked too low at the beginning of the fantasy season. Since there’s no one promising in the qualifying draw, I’m going to pick an additional player further down the draw.
In Feliciano Lopez’ section, Denis Gremelmayr is 1-3 on hard court this year and Fabio Fognini is 1-2. Lopez is just okay on hard court this year with a 7-7 record, but he only has to beat the winner of the Gremelmayr/Fognini match to reach the quarterfinals.
Bobby Reynolds is in Marat Safin’s section and Reynolds beat Safin in Miami this year. Reynolds has a 5-5 record on hard court versus Safin’s 2-6 record, but Reynolds isn’t eligible for our fantasy team and neither is Wayne Odesnik. Can Safin beat John Isner? It’s a tossup but Safin did reach the quarterfinals here last year so I’m picking him.
Carlos Moya reached the quarterfinals in Cincinnati and he beat Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev to get there. He’s 4-0 over Malisse so I’m going to say he can get to the quarterfinals.
Juan Martin Del Potro beat Kunitsyn on grass and hard court last year. However, Dudi Sela beat Del Potro in Tokyo on hard court last year. This is killing me because I hate picking all seeded players and Del Potro hasn’t played much on hard court this year, but he got to the semifinals on grass in s’Hertogenbosch and he won the last two ATP events on clay, so I’m guessing his confidence is sky high. I’m going with Del Potro. By the way, two years ago seven of the top eight seeds reached the quarterfinals so there is a precedent. Not the strongest argument for picking so many seeded players, I know, but we don’t have a lot of choices because so many players are off to the Olympics this week.
Mardy Fish’s section is the hardest one to pick. He has the best record on hard court but he’s lost his last four matches. Vince Spadea reached the quarterfinals here last year and he beat Dmitry Tursunov in the process. He also beat Sebastien Grosjean on hard court in Adelaide this year. However, Fish can probably beat Spadea on hard court. What to do? Since I didn’t pick anyone in Roddick’s quarter, I’m going with both Fish and Spadea.
Fernando Verdasco got to the third round at Cincinnati which is more than anyone else in his section can say so he’s my last pick.
One last note, be sure to check the draw at the last minute possible because players could get shifted around.
Here are my picks: Haas, Lopez, Safin, Moya, Del Potro, Fish, Spadea, Verdasco.