ATP/WTA Previews: Dusseldorf, Nice, Brussels, Strasbourg
World Team Cup 2012
Dusseldorf, Germany; Surface: red clay
Germany defends its 2011 championship and its home turf this week at the World Team Cup in the final warm-up week before the French Open.
Japan received a wildcard into the field, its first appearance in Dusseldorf. Tournament Director Dietloff von Arnim said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming the Japanese. Who knows, perhaps it’ll be almost like a home game for them with the large Japanese community here in Dusseldorf.”
The teams competing are the U.S. (Andy Roddick, Ryan Harrison, James Blake), Serbia (Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjic), Czech Republic (Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek), Croatia (Marin Cilic, Ivan Dodig, Ivo Karlovic), Germany (Florian Mayer, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Philipp Petzschner), Russia (Alex Bogomolov Jr., Dmitry Tursunov), Argentina (Juan Ignacio Chela, Carlos Berlocq), and Japan (Kei Nishikori, Go Soeda).
Mardy Fish of the U.S. dropped out of the competition citing the mystery ailment he has been suffering from, replaced by Ryan Harrison.
Open de Nice Cote d’Azur
Nice, France; Surface: red clay
Seeds: John Isner, Gilles Simon, Nicolas Almagro, Gael Monfils, Bernard Tomic, Robin Haase, Denis Istomin, Fabio Fognini
Floaters: Xavier Malisse, Nikolay Davydenko, (Q) Sam Querrey, (Q) Brian Baker, (WC) Juan Carlos Ferrero, (Q) Thomaz Bellucci
Notes: (1) Isner after a bye could face X-Man, and (6) Haase starts against former No. 1 and French Open champion Ferrero; seeds Isner, Simon and Tomic make their debuts in Nice; the Bryan brothers are the top seeds in doubles; Almagro (2011) is the lone returning champ in the field, defeating Victor Hanescu in last year’s seat-emptying final.
Brussels, Belgium; Surface: red clay
Seeds: Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova, Roberta Vinci, Jelena Jankovic, Peng Shuai, Kaia Kanepi, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Floaters: Nadia Petrova, Simona Halep, Christina McHale
Notes: Two Top 10 seeds in the field in Radwanska and Bartoli; (1) Radwanska after a bye could face Petrova; other matches of interest are (6) Jankovic vs. the riser Halep, and (3) Cibulkova vs, the riser McHale; pulling from the field with injuries and unexplained whatnot were Sara Errani, Daniela Hantuchova (foot), Angelique Kerber, and Andrea Petkovic (ankle); the absent Caroline Wozniacki won the title last year, defeating Shuai in three sets.
Internationaux de Strasbourg
Strasbourg, France; Surface: red clay
Seeds: Sabine Lisicki, Francesca Schiavone, Maria Kirilenko, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Mona Barthel, Marina Erakovic, Tamira Paszek, Aleksandra Wozniak
Floaters: Shahar Peer, Sloane Stephens
Notes: Ugly field featuring no Top 10 players, and a chance for an up-and-comer to steal a title; tough starts are (9) Wozniak vs. Peer, and (3) Kirilenko vs. Stephens; wildcards went to Alize Cornet, Lisicki, and Virginie Razzano; Flavia Pennetta (wrist) and Klara Zakopalova (illin’) pulled from the event; Petkovic (ankle injury) is unable to defend her title from 2011 when she defeated Marion Bartoli in the final; impressive past fields have seen former No. 1s Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf, Jennifer Capriati, and Maria Sharapova claim the Strasbourg title.
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