By Michael Stafford-Jones
- Top Seeds: David Goffin, David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet, Pablo Cuevas
- New ATP 250 Tournament
- British Interest: Kyle Edmund
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – David Goffin seeks to continue his excellent 2016 by winning the inaugural European Open in his home country of Belgium.
Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
Goffin has had a really good year, reaching the Tokyo final, the Miami semi-final and the French Open quarter-final. However, he is missing something: a title. In fact, he has not won one since 2014 and he would surely love to end that drought at the first staging of the only current ATP tournament in Belgium.
The Belgian’s position in the Race to London is another compelling motivation for him to try and win the European Open. As it stands, he is 10th and only 560 points behind Dominic Thiem in eighth. With the Austrian set to return after illness at the Vienna Open next week, Goffin has a great incentive to take home the title in Antwerp and increase the pressure on Thiem.
Goffin’s first match will be with Tommy Robredo or Florian Mayer, followed by a challenging quarter-final likely to be against either Joao Sousa or Benoit Paire. If he makes it to the semi-final, he could face fourth seed Pablo Cuevas or seventh seed Nicholas Mahut. And if he reaches the final, the favourites to face him for the title are David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon.
After five-and-a-half years in the world’s top 10, Ferrer has slid down the rankings in 2016. He has not reached a single final, and arguably had his best tournament of the year all the way back in January when he made it to the Australian Open quarter-final. He is also in danger of finishing a year without a title for the first time since 2009.
However, the Spaniard will take confidence from his run to the Beijing semi-final this month, and particularly his win over rising star Alexander Zverev on the way.
Ferrer is likely to face a tough first European Open match against either Kyle Edmund or Ilya Marchenko, who both performed well at the US Open. If he survives, he will have a very winnable quarter-final against Federico Delbonis, Andreas Seppi, Robin Haase or Paul-Henri Mathieu. However, Gasquet or Simon will probably halt the Spaniard’s progress at the semi-final stage.
It has been a funny old year for Gasquet. He missed the Australian Open through injury, and then won the first tournament he played in Montpellier in February. He played brilliantly en route to the French Open quarter-final and maintained consistent form until July. But he suffered an unfortunate back injury at Wimbledon, missed a month of the season and crashed out in the US Open first round to Britain’s Edmund.
The Frenchman seemed to have returned to form when he reached the Shenzhen final, but he disappointingly lost early in Beijing and Shanghai and will be keen to find a strong finish to 2016.
The European Open draw has served up a straightforward opener for Gasquet in the shape of either Inigo Cervantes or Michael Berrer. However, he is then likely to face countryman Simon, who performed superbly to reach the Shanghai Masters semi-final and could prove too strong for his younger compatriot. If Gasquet beats Simon, he may have to take on Ferrer in the last four and Goffin in the final.
The Uruguayan, 30, is enjoying the best year of his career. He has won two titles, on the clay of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and reached two other finals in Hamburg and Nottingham. He also reached a career-high world ranking of 19 in August. However, Cuevas’ results indicate he is very much a clay-court player and he has not gone beyond the third round of any hard court tournaments in 2016.
Cuevas should win his first European Open match against either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or qualifier Jozef Kovalik. However, considering his hard court struggles, he may find a quarter-final with Mahut a very difficult task. If the Uruguayan beats Mahut, his tournament will surely end at the hands of Goffin in the semi-final.
The European Open takes place in Antwerp from 17-23 October.
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