Berdych, Haas Lead Way in Bangkok

Posted on September 27, 2007

Five seeded players, including World No. 10 Tomas Berdych and No. 11-ranked Tommy Haas, are among those bidding for a quarterfinal berth on Thursday at the Thailand Open, Bangkok.

Opening the day’s play on Stadium is No. 8 seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain against Canadian Frank Dancevic. South African Airways ATP World No. 36 Verdasco is enjoying his debut in Bangkok after dropping just two games in his first round win over American David Martin, and improving to 25-23 for the season. The Spaniard has had a consistent year, reaching the quarterfinals or better in four events, including reaching the semifinals in Kitzbuhel (l. Monaco). Dancevic, who turned 23 yesterday, was a round one winner over Del Potro to reach the Bangkok second round for the second consecutive year. Dancevic had a good summer, reaching his maiden ATP final in Indianapolis (l. Tursunov) and making the quarterfinals of ATP Masters Series Canada in Montreal, beating Verdasco en route in their only previous meeting. The World No. 64 has a 4-10 record over Top 50 players in 2007, and a 2-1 career record against Spanish players.

The second match on the main show court features No. 6 seed Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in his first meeting with Frenchman Michael Llodra. Tursunov won his second ATP title earlier this year in Indianapolis (d. Dancevic) and also made the semifinals at Queen’s Club (l. Roddick) and Nottingham (l. Karlovic). South African Airways ATP World No. 29 Tursunov is returning to the Thailand Open for his second visit after reaching the second round in 2005 (l. Nieminen) and has won his past six of seven matches against Frenchmen. With his hard fought win over Eschauer in the first round, Tursunov ended his losing streak of three first round exits since ATP Masters Series Canada. Bangkok debutant Llodra is looking to advance past the second round of an ATP-level event for the first time since the French Open (l. to Davydenko in third round). The Frenchman is 2-6 against Top 30 players this season and has a career record of 5-6 against Russian players.

The third match out on Stadium pits Frenchman Nicolas Mahut against No. 4 seed Tommy Haas. Mahut leads the head-to-head series 1-0, beating Haas in Indianapolis last year. The Frenchman has had a lot of success on grass this season, reaching the final at Queen’s (l. Roddick) and Newport (l. Santoro), however he has not won an ATP-level match since. Ranked at No.71 in the South African Airways ATP rankings, Mahut has a 3-5 record over Top 20 players this season, including a win over World No. 2 Rafael Nadal at Queen’s. He has a 2-4 career record against Germans. Haas is back in Bangkok after losing in the second round in 2005 (l. Wang). The German has a chance of qualifying for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai in November, currently standing at No. 9 in the ATP 2007 Race, and began well in Bangkok with a tough first round win over Vincent Spadea. Haas won the Memphis title in February (d. Roddick) and reached the semifinals at the Australian open (l. Gonzalez) and Dubai (l. Federer). He has a 42-17 career record against Frenchmen.

Kicking off the night session is home favorite Danai Udomchoke challenging Benjamin Becker of Germany. Udomchoke won a match at the Thailand Open for the first time in five attempts when he defeated Harel Levy on Tuesday; his first ATP-level win since Newport in July (l. to Zverev in the second round). The 27-year-old began the year with a career best Grand Slam performance when he reached the third round of the Australian Open (l.Djokovic) and since then has had a 7-13 season. Becker beat Udomchoke in their one previous match in Tokyo last year. The German reached a career high of World No. 38 in the South African Airways ATP rankings on March 5, 2007 after reaching the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Blake) and San Jose (l. Karlovic), however a 9-21 season since then has seen him fall to No. 79. With a first round victory over No. 5 seed Moya though, Becker snapped a seven straight match losing streak dating back to Wimbledon (l. Chela). The German is appearing in Bangkok for the second time after reaching the second round last year (l. Ljubicic).

Finishing the day’s play on Stadium court is a first meeting between No. 3 seed Czech Tomas Berdych and German Mischa Zverev. Bangkok debutant, Berdych played a very convincing opening match against Wachiramanowong, dropping just three games and improving to 38-19 for the season. The Czech player has one title to his name in 2007, winning in Halle (d. Baghdatis), and has made two semifinals, losing to Nadal in ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo and to Youzhny in Munich. Berdych, who reached a career-high No.9 in the South African Airways ATP Ranking in August, has won his last 20 matches against German players and has a chance to qualify for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai in November. The 20-year-old Zverev is enjoying a career-high ranking of No.100 and defeated Michael Russell in the first round on Tuesday. The German has had success in Bangkok before, reaching the quarterfinals in 2006 (l. Safin). This will be Zverev’s first meeting against a Top 20 player since he defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in the first round in Bangkok last year.

On Court One, Lucky Loser German Simon Stadler is challenging No. 7 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. World No. 222 Stadler replaced Hyung-Taik Lee in the main draw to make his Bangkok debut and is playing his first ATP-level event since Halle (l. Youzhny) and defeated Siriluethaiwattan in the first round. The 24-year-old has a 0-1 record against Top 100 players in 2007 (l. Youzhny). Ranked 195 places higher than Stadler, Karlovic has had a 29-17 year with title wins in Houston (d. Zabaleta) and Nottingham (d. Clement). He is making his debut in Bangkok and defeated Feliciano Lopez in round one. (ATP Digital Services)