ATP/WTA Previews: Stars Come Out at 4 Events in Week 1
by Staff | January 3rd, 2015, 10:29 pm
  • 10 Comments

The stars are coming out on week one, even uncharacteristically on the women’s side, as current No. 1 Novak Djokovic and former top dogs Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic compete at four events in week one of 2015.

QATAR EXXONMOBILE OPEN
Doha, Qatar; Surface: hard

Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Richard Gasquet, Ivo Karlovic, Leonardo Mayer

Floaters: Lukas Rosol

Notes: Good news: Novak and Rafa are in the field; bad news: that’s about all the excitement, at least early on…Djokovic opens against fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic…Rafa eases into his first event with a match against a qualifier, then the winner of Ivan Dodig and Egyptian wildcard Mohamad Safwat…Berdych and Ferrer also Top 10ers in the field…(7) Karlovic opens against the upset specialist Rosol…Djokovic debuts in Doha…Nadal beat Gael “Force” Monfils in last year’s final…Argentine seed Leo Mayer also making his tourney debut…Pulling from the event were Nicolas Almagro, Ernests Gulbis and Dominic Thiem (flu)…Former champs in the field are Nadal (2014) and Gasquet (2013)…Nadal looking to join Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg as players to win Doha back-to-back since the tournament’s inception in 1993.

BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL PRESENTED BY SUNCORP
Brisbane, Australia; Surface: hard

Men’s Seeds: Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson, Gilles Simon, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Julien Benneteau

Men’s Floaters: Lleyton Hewitt, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Bernard Tomic, Sam Querrey

Men’s Notes: Tough openers for (5) Anderson vs. the Hewitt/Sam Groth winner, and (8) Benneteau vs. the home-country riser Kokkinakis (winner to face the Tomic/Querrey winner)…Roger Federer has never won Brisbane in two appearances, last year upset in the final by the former No. 1 Hewitt…Wildcards went to Aussies James Duckworth, Kokkinakis and John Millman…Pulling from the event were Marin Cilic (shoulder), Donald Young, and Juan Martin del Potro (wrist)…Hewitt (2014,’00,’98) is the lone returning champ in the field.

Women’s Seeds: Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova, Andrea Petkovic, Jelena Jankovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Garbine Muguruza

Women’s Floaters: Sabine Lisicki, Caroline Garcia, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stosur, Madison Keys, Kaia Kanepi

Women’s Notes: Solid seeded line-up, with a plethora of dangerous floaters…Openers to watch are (1) Sharapova after a bye likely meeting Lisicki, (3) Kerber vs. Garcia, (8) Muguruza vs. the mercurial Mattek-Sands (winner to likely meet Azarenka), (4) Cibulkova vs. Keys (winner to likely face Stosur), and (5) Petkovic vs. Kanepi…Wildcards went to Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova and Croat Ajla Tomljanovic…Pulling from the event was Camila Giorgi with a reported “mouth injury” (don’t ask?)…Doubles wildcards went to Ivanovic/Kerber, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni/Lisa Raymond, and Daria Gavrilova/Storm Sanders…Former champs in the field are Kanepi (2012) and Azarenka (2009).

AIRCEL CHENNAI OPEN
Chennai, India; Surface: hard

Seeds: Stan Wawrinka, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Yen-Hsun Lu, Marcel Granollers, Gilles Muller

Floaters: Borna Coric

Notes: Wawrinka the lone Top 10 player in the field…Wawrinka after a bye could face the Croat riser Coric…The No. 2-seeded F-Lo makes his debut at the tourney…Wildcards were awarded to India’s Somdev Devvarman and Ramkumar Ramanathan, and Swede Elias Ymer…It’s the 20th edition of the event…Wawrinka beat France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin in last year’s final…Wawrinka (2014, ’11) is the lone returning champ in the field, and will attempt to join Marin Cilic and Carlos Moya as the only back-to-back Chennai winners since the tournament’s inception in 1996.

SHENZHEN OPEN
Shenzhen, China; Surface: hard

Seeds: Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Peng Shuai, Zarina Diyas, Klara Koukalova, Irina-Camelia Begu, Monica Niculescu, Timea Bacsinszky

Floaters: Annika Beck, Donna Vekic, Vera Zvonareva

Notes: Two Top 5 players head the field in Halep and Kvitova, cha-ching, then the drop-off is substantial…Challenging starts for (1) Halep vs. the German riser Beck, (4) Diyas vs. the Croatian riser Vekic, and (3) Peng vs. the Russian veteran Zvonareva…Wildcards went to China’s Duan Yingying and Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva…Sorana Cirstea pulled from the event citing a shoulder injury…The now-retired Li Na won the first two editions of the tournament in 2014-13.

 


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10 Comments for ATP/WTA Previews: Stars Come Out at 4 Events in Week 1

Humble Rafa Says:

I am ready for the Petroleum Cash Grab Open. I hope the recent decline in oil prices will not damage my appearance fees this time or in the future.

Honest and Humble, as always.


The Great Davy Says:

Doha will never see good tennis again.


skeezer Says:

^you must be desperate, getting no attention as HR, so you do a Davy and think it will get attention,….. Failed. Try getting some cats. You like them, no?
——–
“Rafa eases into his first event with a match against a qualifier, ”
Ohhhhh watch out, he has a history with qualifiers and wild cards,,,,,,,,not good.


BT Says:

Stosur picking up right where she left off last season, choking away big leads. 5-1 up in third set against Lepchenko and loses 7-5. *facepalm*


brando Says:

What a field Brisbane has lined up for 250 event, incredibly good! Wish Rafael was there not in Doha, as the depth of the field in Brisbane- crucially in Australia- would give you the best possible matches available. Doha all he has is Novak if he gets to the final: and even then he needs time before he can get to the right level to face him game wise. That ain’t going to be first event back. Brisbane though gives you an exciting level of competition from the off, with the depth rising in the right manner with each passing round. Just look at the exciting floaters to see how it underlines its strength. Wish Rafael plays there in the future: the way the sun bathes that court just adds to the visual when watching that event. Great 250 event: possibly the best along with Queens.


Michael Says:

The first big test for Rafa has arrived at Qatar open. It will just give us an idea of where his game is right now. But I would like to disagree with Brando on this. The field at Doha too looks impressive with Ferrer, Berdych and Kohlschrieber in the fray and it is just not going to be an easy tournament to win with Novak too lending tremendous weight to the field. I think we are in for some treat at the start of the year both at Qatar as well as Brisbane. The sad part here is that Del Potro is still struggling with his physical issues and one has to feel for him. Is it that his career almost over and that would be a real tragedy which I hope not. Hope to see him soon.


brando Says:

@michael: I’d have to disagree in certain respects. The likes of ferrer, berdych and kohlschreiber are just not a challenge for Novak- especially on a slow HC, best of 3 with little pressure involved at all. And Nadal, can only face berdych pre final. Because of his situation: possibly a challenge, generally absolutely not. For Rafael his only real challenge would be Novak but because of this being his first event after 6 injury mirred months that’s a dead rubber: a none event. Hence: why I think Doha- as field as I originally point out- for me is poor in comparison to Brisbane, which brims with excitement. That said, this is a matter of personal excitement, so each to their own on that front. Re Del Porto: completely agree, I just hope the situation is not as glum as you suggest. Yet it’s soo damn hard to stay optimistic regarding Juan martin. Should he return in February he’d have spent a entire year- again!- off the tour. Likely needing a year just to reach his former level on return. That’s saddening, deeply unfortunate situation regarding a talent who really-I think- would have been a multiple grand slam winner since his game, mental strength is fedalesque for me on talent basis, had the dread of injury not impeded him like it has. I feel we have been robbed and are the losers who suffer the loss of a player who would have easily made that top 4 a top 5 and one Federer and Nadal are on record as considering a world number one talent since he’s got the strength of character to go toe to toe with the absolute best on the big occasion, and the game to blow them off court. That too on any surface. Such a shame.


The Great Davy Says:

Scissor,

You split my sides. I am not humble Rafa. But I am humble Rafa’s owner. Forever.


Okiegal Says:

@The Great Davy…….nor is Skeezer Scissor…..


jane Says:

at the hopman cup serena was bageled by pennetta in set 1, won the second 6-3, then served back the bagel in the final set.

isner and foggy are in a battle atm.

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