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Deadline for picking your team this week is Sunday morning: 1am in Los Angeles/4am in New York/10am in London.
Rear View Mirror a look at last week’s picks
My fantasy team is currently #53 out of almost 14,000 teams. That puts me in the top .4 %. I picked both finalists in Tokyo and one of the finalists in Metz.
I got an extra round out of Sebastien Grosjean with a bit of luck. Grosjean was losing to Stefan Koubek when Koubek blew his top after an overrule by the chair umpire went against him. Koubek was defaulted and lost the match. Wow, that doesn’t happen very often.
We have three tournaments this week and they’re all very big prize money. Let’s pick three from Vienna, three from Moscow and two from Stockholm.
Vienna (indoor hard, first prize: $183,752)
The top ranked player this week is playing the most lucrative tournament but should I pick him? Novak Djokovic can make over $183,000 by winning in Vienna or he could make around $234,000 by reaching the finals at Madrid or Paris. He isn’t likely to win Madrid because Roger Federer is playing it and Djokovic may or may not play Paris since he’s already qualified for the year end championships.
Djokovic’s quarter of the draw is easy but Ivan Ljubicic and Marcos Baghdatis are lurking below him. I think Djokovic can beat both of them and I’m using him for the last time this year to get the sure money. I may regret it when Madrid and Paris roll around.
Ljubicic has won this tournament the past two years and Baghdatis is 9-1 indoors this year. It’s hard to pick between those two because Baghdatis was 3-0 over Ljubicic till he lost to him in Beijing three weeks ago. What the hell, I’m taking Ljubicic.
This is a tough tournament to pick. Richard Gasquet is in the same quarter as Carlos Moya. Gasquet just played two weeks in a row and he’s notorious for his poor conditioning. Carlos Moya doesn’t do well in the fall indoors season. Feliciano Lopez is in that quarter too and he has a 9-2 record here, but that was from 2003-2005 and he’s 1-5 indoors this year.
Guillermo Canas and Fernando Gonzalez are in the bottom quarter. Canas is in the final in Metz this week but he didn’t beat anyone important to get there. Gonzalez continues to be up and down. He lost to Dudi Sela in Davis Cup two weeks ago as Israel defeated Chile. But he got to the final here last year and he also got to the final in Beijing. He has an excellent record in the fall indoor season so I’m taking him. If you have only one pick left for Gonzalez, save him for Madrid.
Moscow (indoor carpet, first prize: $142,000)
I can use Nikolay Davydenko twice more so I’m using him here and in Paris. He doesn’t do well in Madrid but he plays well in Russia. In the last four years, he’s won the title in Moscow twice. Of course, the two years he didn’t win, he lost in the first round. Typical Davydenko.
Andy Murray is in the next quarter and he’s my second pick. He’s a ridiculous 12-1 indoors this year and I’ve only used him twice so far.
There’s nobody frightening in the third quarter so I have to pick between Mikhail Youzhny and Philipp Kohlscheiber from the bottom of the draw. This looks like a no-brainer because Youzhny is 10-2 indoors this year, but Kohlschreiber has a 3-0 record over Youzhny all within the last 12 months. One of those wins was a first round victory over Youzhny here last year. Gotta go with Kohlschreiber.
Stockholm (indoor hard, first prize: $132,384)
James Blake has won this tournament the last two years. I can pick him twice more and he doesn’t do well in Madrid and Paris so I’m taking him.
I only need one more player this week to make up my eight man team so I’m looking in the bottom half of the draw. David Ferrer is the second seed but he’s not a good indoor player and besides, Joachim Johansson and Ivo Karlovic are in his quarter. Johansson may not be in match shape yet and Karlovic isn’t great indoors.
There’s a better pick. Tommy Haas looks like he’s a good indoor player but that’s because he plays well in Memphis every year which isn’t that hard. Still, his quarter has two clay court players and a wild card substitute who’s ranked 687 so I’m taking Haas.
Here’s my team: Djokovic, Ljubicic, Gonzalez, Davydenko, Murray, Kohlschreiber, Blake, Haas.
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