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Make your picks before you go to bed Sunday night. The deadline to submit your team is: 11pm in Los Angeles/2am in New York/7am in London.
Rear View Mirror – a look at last week’s picks
I started the week in 14th place and ended in 22nd place.
My strategy of taking the sure $183,000 for Novak Djokovic in Vienna instead of a possible final in Madrid paid off. Djokovic lost in the Madrid semifinals and won “only” $117,000. That was about the only thing I did right but come on, David Nalbandian beating Roger Federer in the Madrid final? I’m half expecting Nalbandian to test positive for synthetic testosterone.
I also made the correct choice of using Rafael Nadal in Stuttgart instead of Madrid. He made $183,000 in Stuttgart and $58,000 in Madrid. Of course, that’s assuming Djokovic and Nadal skip Paris.
I’m off to San Francisco for the week so I won’t be posting very much. If any of you readers would like to weigh in on any tennis subject, just click on the email link at the top of this post and send me your thoughts. I’ll be happy to publish them. Meanwhile, my co-writer Pat Davis will be covering the Federer loss on Tuesday.
There are three tournaments this week and we need eight players. Let’s pick three players from Basel and St. Petersburg and two players from Lyon.
Basel (indoor carpet, first prize: $166,514)
The big question here is whether David Nalbandian has anything left after beating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in consecutive matches. Will he even bother to turn up? I’m guessing he will because there are only two tournaments left and then he can rest until January. And, Nalbandian is 18-4 in Basel
Just below Federer is a very tough quarter to pick and we can’t take Federer because everyone I know has used him five times already. Stanislaw Wawrinka beat Nalbandian here last year and got to the semifinals and he beat Nalbandian in Vienna two weeks ago. James Blake, Ivo Karlovic and Tomas Berdych are in this quarter too. Whoa!
I’m picking Wawrinka because he’s beaten Nalbandian the last three times they’ve played. Also, Feliciano Lopez could beat Berdych, and Karlovic could beat Blake.
In the bottom half, Fernando Gonzalez has three qualifiers in his section and he’s fighting to get to the year end championships. So is David Ferrer but he has Paul-Henri Mathieu and Marcos Baghdatis in his quarter and Baghdatis won this tournament in 2005.
If I were you I take Fernando Gonzalez but I’m taking Guillermo Canas because I’m not sure Ferrer can get past Baghdatis and, more importantly, I can’t use Gonzalez anymore. It could get ugly this week as I limp to the finish.
I’m also taking Paul-Henri Mathieu even though he’s not that good on carpet because he should be able to get to the quarterfinals and I need a third player from this draw.
St. Petersburg (indoor carpet, first prize: $142,000)
Nikolay Davydenko reached the quarterfinals here two years ago otherwise he’s played poorly. That’s a good thing for me because I can only use him one more time so I’m saving him for Paris.
Thomas Johansson has won this twice and reached the final last year so he’s an easy pick.
Mario Ancic was the player who beat Johansson in that final and he’s reached the quarterfinals the last two weeks. He should play Mikhail Youzhny in the second round but I think he can beat him so I’m picking Ancic.
Andy Murray is my third pick. He has an easy quarter.
Lyon (indoor carpet, first prize: $132, 384)
This is a very fast carpet surface and that could be why Andy Roddick won this tournament the only time he entered it. I’ve used him up already. His appearance here, by the way, indicates to me that he’s likely to skip Paris.
Unfortunately I’ve used all my Richard Gasquets too and that could be a big problem because he has a very easy quarter. You might want to use him because he’s never been past the third round in Paris.
I’d like to pick Tommy Haas but I’m not sure he can get past Igor Andreev and besides, I was going to save Haas for Paris because he reached the semifinals last year. On the other hand, he didn’t beat anyone important to reach those semis and he’s fighting for the last berth in the year end championships. I’m picking him because I’m desperate for a player.
Lots of people have picked Tommy Robredo to get the last spot in the year end championships but he has a dismal record here. He did reach the Paris semifinals last year so I’m saving him for Paris. I’m picking Juan Monaco. He should be able to get to the quarterfinals.
Here’s my team: Wawrinka, Canas, Mathieu, T. Johansson, Ancic, Murray, Haas, Monaco,
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