A second consecutive ATP 250 clay court event in Argentina, this time with World #8, Dominic Thiem, back and raring to go. Thiem was forced to retire from his second round match at the Australian Open due to health issues & subsequently had to withdraw from Austria’s Davis Cup tie & the Cordoba Open last week. Having had a few weeks to rest up & recover, this is a big tournament for Thiem as he is defending 250 points here.
The remaining top 4 seeds all suffered disappointing early losses this past week in Cordoba & will be looking to rectify their most recent result against what is almost an identical field.
A cushy quarter of the draw here for #1 seed, Dominic Thiem. An interesting piece here though is Argentinian, Juan Ignacio Londero. The 25-year-old, who had zero ATP main draw wins a week ago, is now an ATP Title winner. Down a set & a break, he stormed back to defeat fellow countrymen, Guido Pella, to win the first ever Cordoba Open. 5 matches played in the last week may prove to be tough to back up here, however.
The second quarter features #4 seed, Diego Schwartzman. After a convincing quarter final loss in Cordoba, he will be wanting to put in a strong showing here, with an opportunity to pick up some crucial points. Spanish veteran, David Ferrer, has received a wildcard here on his farewell tour, and has drawn the 8th-seeded Malek Jaziri. The pair have spent a combined 37 years on tour & surprising have yet to play against each other.
I’m fully expecting 6th-seeded Chilean, Nicolas Jarry, to bounce back here with a qualifier first up. Jarry suffered a shock, early loss to eventual champion, Londero, in Cordoba this past week. Garin/Auger-Aliassime should be a fun first round match, with the winner moving on to play 3rd seed, Marco Cecchinato.
Another top seed looking for a bounce-back performance here is Fabio Fognini. Fognini, who was seeded #1 in Cordoba, lost convincingly to Aljaz Bedene this past week. With 4 out of the 7 players in the quarter of the draw being from Argentina, expect a lot of fight from them & Fognini to have a tough time again.
I don’t really see any match-ups that immediately stick out as a potential upset. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Federico Delbonis progress through his quarter of the draw, nor would it shock me if Guido Pella comes through in that bottom quarter.
One To Watch
The One To Watch here is 21-year-old Spaniard, Jaume Munar. Munar has a first round match against Federico Delbonis, who defeated him just a few days ago. Munar, however, has enjoyed a solid past 12 months and took it right up to Delbonis & Fognini in his most recent matches against them. A run here would not be out of question & could really propel Munar to a career-best year.
This week is a big week for #1 seed, Dominic Thiem. He is defending 250 points here & is one of the best clay-courters in the world. After taking a couple of weeks off to recover from some health issues, he is well rested up and in a great position to win this tournament. A potentially dangerous, Diego Schwartzman, may be tough, however on clay I expect Thiem to cruise to a 12th ATP Title.