The 2015 clay court season on the ATP World Tour kicks off with low-key events in Houston and Casablanca, featuring American No. 1 John Isner, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, and more Spaniards than you can shake a stick at. Here’s a look:
FAYEZ SAROFIM & CO. U.S. MEN’S CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIP
Houston, Texas, U.S.A.; Surface: clay
Seeds: Feliciano Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut, Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Santiago Giraldo, Fernando Verdasco, Jeremy Chardy, Sam Querrey
Floaters: Marinko Matosevic, Jack Sock
Notes: No Top 10 players in the field…Potential tough starts went to (8) Querrey vs. Matosevic, and (2) Baututa Agut after a bye potentially facing the confident Sock…Wildcards went to Lleyton Hewitt, Janko Tipsarevic and the top-seeded Lopez…Verdasco beat Almagro in last year’s final…Pulling from the event were Gael Monfils and Bernie Tomic…The Bryan brothers, coming off the Miami Open title, are the top seeds in doubles…The tournament celebrates its 15th year in Houston after moving about in the U.S. since 1910…Former champs in the field are Verdasco (2014), Isner (2013), and Hewitt (2009).
GRAND PRIX HASSAN II
Casablanca, Morocco; Surface: clay
Seeds: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Martin Klizan, Jiri Vesely, Marcel Granollers, Pablo Carreno Busta, Andreas Haider-Maurer, Mikhail Kukushkin, Diego Schwartzman
Floaters: (WC) Nicolas Almagro
Notes: No Top 20 players in the field with few floaters…G-Lo beat Granola in last year’s final…Wildcards went to Almagro and Moroccans Yassine Idmbarek and Lamine Ouahab…The last time a Moroccan won the event? Younes El Aynaoui in 2002…Pulling from this car crash were Ivo Karlovic, Adrian Mannarino, Joao Sousa and Dominic Thiem… Returning former champs in the field are Garcia-Lopez (2014) and Pablo Andujar (2012-11).
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