What may seem like an underwhelming field on paper, will be seen as a huge opportunity for all players participating this week. The Brasil Open kicks off tomorrow in Sao Paulo & provides a great chance for a number of players to make a good run at it. The players in this field have only combined for 16 ATP titles, a number much less than the other two tournaments this week in Dubai & Acapulco.
We kick off the draw here in Sao Paulo with the top seed, Joao Sousa. A potential 2nd round matchup against Norwegian, Casper Ruud, would see a chance for revenge. Ruud ousted Sousa from the Rio Open last week in the second round with a strong 3-set victory. Sousa, a semi-finalist here in 2017, will be looking for a strong run here as the #1 seed. The #7th-seeded, Juan Ignacio Londero has been drawn in this quarter and would love the chance to meet Sousa, a man who he lost to just two weeks ago, in the quarter finals.
The 4th seed, Leonardo Mayer, has a difficult quarter to deal with. A second round match against either Lorenzo Sonego or Federico Delbonis, a previous champion here, is less than ideal. Delbonis defeated Mayer a couple of weeks ago in Cordoba. The young & dangerous, Jaume Munar is also in this quarter of the draw and is playing with a ton of confidence right now. The 20-year-old Spaniard has reached the quarter finals at his previous 3 tournaments.
Speaking of good form, Guido Pella is right amongst it. The 3rd seed has amassed a 7-3 record over the past month of play & albeit a hiccup last week, losing to the higher ranked Joao Sousa, he will come in with confidence. He should be ecstatic with this quarter of the draw.
It couldn’t get much worse here for the #2 seed, Malek Jaziri. The Tunisian has been handed a brutal draw for this year’s Brasil Open. His projected run to the final is Laslo Djere (won this past week in Rio), Pablo Cuevas (2 SF’S & 1 QF in past 3 tournaments) and Guido Pella (mentioned above). If he comes out of this quarter, let alone half, he should be in the form of his life. At the top of this quarter sees Pablo Cuevas play Felix Auger-Aliassime. These two battled just a few days ago in Rio, with the Canadian teenager coming out on top in 3 sets. I’m expecting this result to go the other way this time though. And of course, there is Laslo Djere. The Serbian captured not only his first ATP title this past week, but the hearts of the entire tennis community (see below). This is the toughest quarter by a mile.
On Upset Alert here in Sao Paulo we have Marco Trungelliti. The Argentine, who made headlines at Roland Garros last year, faces the #8 seed, Taro Daniel, in the first round. Nothing more than a gut-feeling on this one.
One To Watch
The One To Watch here is the 5th-seeded Pablo Cuevas. He faces Auger-Aliassime first up & the Canadian is coming off a long week of tennis on the clay. Although the result didn’t favour Cuevas just a few days ago, I expect a different result this time around. The top seed in this quarter is Malek Jaziri, who is on a 3-match losing streak which was kick-started by Cuevas himself in Cordoba.
In saying that above, my prediction to win this tournament is Guido Pella. Pella suffered a first round exit last week in Rio to the top-seeded here, Joao Sousa. I think the extra days off will benefit Pella, after stringing together a pretty heavy schedule prior. Pella is yet to win an ATP Title, but has been edging closer & closer over the years, and an opportunistic field & draw provided here gives him his best chance yet.