Nishikori, Thiem, Clay Floaters Make ATP Rio a Tough Slough; Preview
by Staff | February 19th, 2017, 5:44 pm
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; surface: clay

Seeds: Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem, Pablo Cuevas, Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos Vinolas, David Ferrer, Paolo Lorenzi, Joao Sousa

Floaters: Thomaz Bellucci, (WC) Joao Souza, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tommy Robredo, Fabio Fognini, Federico Delbonis, (WC) Janko Tipsarevic

Notes: Two Top 10ers and a host of dirtball specialists make Rio a challenge this week…

The top-seeded Nishikori is coming off a loss in the Buenos Aires final…

First-round matches that deserve a second look are a gassed (1) Nishikori vs. Brazil’s Bellucci, (4) Carreno Busta vs. Brazil’s Souza who he lost to in their only career meeting, (6) Ferrer vs. the Buenos Aires winner Dolgopolov who he lost to three years ago at this event, a Robredo vs. Fognini veteran match-up (winner to face (5) Ramos Vinolas), (7) Lorenzi vs. Delbonis who he is 0-3 career against, and (2) Thiem vs. the back-from-injury Tipsarevic in a first-time meeting…

Wildcards went to Souza, Tipsarevic and Norway’s Casper Ruud…

Cuevas beat Guido Pella in last year’s final…

Former champions in the field are Cuevas (2016) and Ferrer (2015)…

The tournament, which began in 2014, has all three of its former finalists the last three years — Pella, Fognini, and Dolgopolov who lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2014 final.

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