Isner, Fish in Houston, Woz in Copenhagen; ATP and WTA Previews
U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship
Houston, Tex., USA; Surface: red clay
Seeds: Mardy Fish, John Isner, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Juan Monaco, Kevin “Mr.” Anderson, Carlos Berlocq, Alex Bogomolov Jr., “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic
Floaters: Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, Ryan Harrison, Sam Querrey, James Blake, Ryan Sweeting
Notes: The near-all-American event contains the U.S. Davis Cup team and various American “B” and “C”-level players; the lone ATP-level clay event in the U.S. began in 1910; first-round meetings of interest include the unseeded X-Man vs. Russian grinder Igor Kunitsyn, (7) Bogomolov vs. Harrison, and (6) Berlocq vs. the knee-challenged Blake; big-man tennis looms in the quarterfinals with (2) Isner vs. (8) Karlovic; the top-seeded Fish will test the fatigue that kept him from competing in Davis Cup this past week; F-Lo makes his debut at the event; seeds Isner, Anderson, Berlocq, Bogomolov have losing career records at the event; former champs in the field are Sweeting (2011), Karlovic (2007), and Fish (2006); the Bryan brothers are the three-time defending doubles champs, and have won the title four of the last five years.
Grand Prix Hassan II
Casablanca, Morocco; Surface: red clay
Seeds: Florian Mayer, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Pablo Andujar, Denis Istomin, Donald Young, Robin Haase, Albert Ramos, Fabio Fognini
Floaters: Jeremy Chardy, Igor Andreev, Paul-Henri Mathieu
Notes: Only one Top 20 player in the top-seeded Mayer; the tournament is entirely funded by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and is the only ATP stop on the African continent; what the hell is American Donald Young doing in Morocco? Slumming for a title?; the top two seeds have career losing records in Casablanca; former champs in the field are Andujar (2011) and Mathieu (2007).
e-Boks Open 2012
Copenhagen, Denmark; Surface: hard
Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Jelena Jankovic, Monica Nicolescu, Kaia Kanepi, Mona Barthel, Ksenia Pervak, Sofia Arvidsson
Floaters: Urszula Radwanska, Alize Cornet, Anastasia Rodionova, Laura Robson
Notes: “This tournament means a lot to me,” said the top-seeded Wozniacki, who was born and raised less than 90 miles away in Odense. “It’s great to play in front of my Danish fans who have been following me my whole career. It’s just amazing to be able to play in front of the home crowd.”; the tournament was established in 2010, and Woz has won it the first two years; opening matches of interest are (1) Wozniacki vs. the lesser Radwanska, (5) Kanepi vs. Rodionova, and (3) Jankovic vs. the British riser Robson; Wozniacki (2011-10) is the lone former champ.
Barcelona Ladies Open
Barcelona, Spain; Surface: red clay
Seeds: Francesca Schiavone, Julia Goerges, Dominika Cibulkova, Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta, Petra Cetkovska, Sara Errani, Polona Hercog
Floaters: Sorana Cirstea, Shahar Peer
Notes: Vinci won the tournament last year for the second time; the site is where the 1992 Olympics tennis was held, where Jennifer Capriati in singles and Gigi Fernandez and Mary Jo Fernandez in doubles won gold medals; openers of interest are (8) Hercog vs. Cirstea and (6) Cetkovska vs. Peer; U.S. comer Sloane Stephens is the lone American in the draw and faces the severely-breast-reduced Simona Halep; wildcards went to Schiavone, Pennetta, and Spaniards Garbine Muguruza Blanco and Arantxa Parra Santonja; former champs in the field are Vinci (2011,’09), and Schiavone (2010); Vinci has reached the final the last three years.
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