BRACKETOLOGY – BNP Paribas Masters

With singles qualifying finishing up today, the official bracket for the final Masters event of the year is now official.  http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2011/352/mds.pdf

Baseline Rally breaks down the entire bracket of the BNP Paribas Masters for you including winners, upsets and dark horses.

TOP LEFT CORNER:

Players:

Novak Djokovic (1), Fabio Fogini, Ivan Dodig, Kei Nishikori, Sergy Stakhovsky, Victor Troicki (15), Nicolas Almagro (9), Andreas Seppi, Nikolai Davydenko, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Santiago Giraldo, Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga (6)

Dark Horse:

Victor Troicki.

As the 15th seed, Troicki gets a first round bye and then gets the winner of Stakhovsky vs. Nishikori in the 2nd round.  Nishikori is likely to be exhausted after losing in the finals of Basel earlier today.   Djokovic would be looming in round 3, however, Novak appeared to be slightly injured in his semi-final match against Nishikori in Basel.  Troicki may be able to take advantage and reach the final 8.

Early Upset:

Andreas Seppi over Nicolas Almagro

Seppi qualified for this tournament and faces Nikolai Davydenko in the first round which I expect he will win.  Thereafter, he faces Almagro who looks increasingly lost on the hard courts after a remarkable clay court season where he won three titles.  While Almagro is the 9th seed in this tournament, he won’t last long.  Even if he squeaks past Seppi, he won’t likely get by Tsonga in the following round.

Baseline Rally’s Pick to win the section:

Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga over Novak Djokovic

While Djokovic may have enough juice to make the final eight, his loss to Nishikori this past week shows that his remarkable season has taken a toll.  Tsonga is looking to secure his place in the ATP World Tour Finals and a good result in this tournament will get him there.  Tsonga is the pick.

BOTTOM LEFT CORNER:

Players:

David Ferrer (4), Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nicolas Mahut, Mikhail Youzhny, Phillip Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov (14), Juan Martin del Potro (12), Stanislas Wawrinka, John Isner, Michael Llodra, Feliciano Lopez, Gael Monfils (8)

Dark Horse:

Phillip Kohlschreiber

Kohlschreiber faces an out of form Mikhail Youzhny in the first round in a match he will win if he plays to his potential.  Thereafter, he plays Dolgopolov who has had a tremendous breakout year, but has bowed out in the first round in his last three tournaments.  The German would have a tough go of it with David Ferrer looming in the final eight, but I expect him to win at least two rounds.

Early Upset Pick:

Phillip Kohlschreiber over Alexandr Dolgopolov

See above.  Dolgopolov is a good young player with tremendous potential but is more comfortable on the clay courts and has not been playing well recently.  If Kohlschreiber can get by Youzhny, he is licking his lips for this tasty second round match.

Baseline Rally’s Pick to win the section:

David Ferrer over Juan Martin del Potro

After a deep run in Valencia, Ferrer will be happy to get a first round bye in Paris.  He also has a favorable draw with countryman Juan Carlos Ferrero looming in round #2 and whoever survives out of Kohlschreiber, Dolgopolov and Youzhny thereafter.  Del Potro has been playing well recently, but with his intense schedule and Ferrer’s impressive defensive play, look for Ferrer to get out of this section.

TOP RIGHT CORNER:

Mardy Fish (7), Florian Mayer, Radek Stepanek, Juan Monaco, Donald Young, Gilles Simon (10), Richard Gasquet (16), Gilles Muller, Kevin Anderson, Dmitry Tursunov, Adrian Mannarino, Roger Federer (3)

Dark Horse:

Florian Mayer

The German has a very tough first round match-up with Radek Stepanek, but if he can win that match, he gets Mardy Fish in the next round.  American Fish came up lame in Basel with a hamstring injury and has played quite sparingly in the last couple of months.  Mayer has been in fine form and should be able to take out Fish.  Mayer may even be able to advance to the final eight, with Gilles Simon or Donald Young waiting in the wings.

Early Upset Pick:

Donald Young over Gilles Simon

Young has finally started living up to his vast potential and is starting to look like a left handed Andre Agassi.  His superior defensive tennis and his creation of angles on his highly top-spinned groundstrokes have raised him to top 50 in the world.  Young has recently had success against players like Simon – very nice all court players who don’t possess enough firepower to get Young off his game.  I expect Young to take out Juan Monaco in the first round and then dispatch of Simon in straight sets.

Baseline Rally’s Pick to win the section:

Roger Federer over Florian Mayer

Federer has me drinking the Kool Aid again after his utter domination of Kei Nishikori in Basel.  The Swiss hero is also well rested with Basel being the only tournament that he has played since the US Open.  Truth be told, unless Federer’s form drops substantially, I see no one in the group who will even challenge him.

BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER:

Players:

Tomas Berdych (5), Marin Cilic, Fernando Verdasco, Thomas Belucci, Alex Bogomolov, Jr., Janko Tipsarevic (11), Andy Roddick (13), Milos Raonic, Julien Benneteau, Jeremy Chadry, Marcel Granollers, Andy Murray (2)

Dark Horse:

Milos Raonic

The young Canadian has a favorable first round match-up with Julien Benneteau and I expect him to win that match handily.  Thereafter, Raonic faces Andy Roddick.  These two played one of the best finals of 2011 in Memphis where Roddick won 7-5 in the third set.  Roddick needed to play his best tennis to win that match and I expect Raonic to win the rematch.  If somehow, Marcel Granollers can take out Andy Murray, Raonic can make a lot of noise in this section of the draw.

Early Upset Pick:

Marin Cilic over Tomas Berdych

If Cilic manages to win his tough first round match with veteran Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco, this tantalizing match with Berdych awaits.  Cilic has been in fine form recently, while Berdych dropped his first round match in Basel last week.  These players play a similar style, and with Cilic playing better these days, I think he can get by Berdych and set up a great round of 16 match-up with Janko Tipsarevic.

Baseline Rally’s Pick to win the section:

Andy Murray over Janko Tipsarevic

Murray has been playing some great tennis as he has not lost a match since the US Open.  He will face a likely tired Marcel Granollers in the second round in a favorable match-up and potentially Milos Raonic or Andy Roddick thereafter.  With Murray’s fantastic return of serve game, he should cruise to the final eight before a very tough match against Cilic, Berdych or Tipsarevic.  The Scot’s tremendous play of late should be enough to win.

FINAL FOUR:

Federer over Murray

Tsonga over Ferrer

BASELINE RALLY’S PICK TO WIN THE TOURNAMENT:

Roger Federer over Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga

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