By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds: Gael Monfils, Grigor Dimitrov, Ivo Karlovic, Alexander Zverev
- 2015 Champion: Tomas Berdych
- Unseeded players to watch: Juan Martin Del Potro, Fernando Verdasco
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – Top seed Gael Monfils may have to beat in-form foes Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev to win the title in Stockholm.
Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
Under the guidance of Coach Mikael Tillstrom, who he hired in October 2015, Monfils has changed his approach to tennis in 2016. He has become more focused and consistent, and does not play as many of the flashy shots he is famous for. And his new approach has undeniably worked wonders, as he has reached a Grand Slam semi-final, won an ATP 500 title in Washington and is currently sixth in the Race to London.
However, despite his lofty position in the Race, the Frenchman has not yet sealed qualification for the ATP World Tour Finals, and this is probably the main reason he has entered the Stockholm Open.
To win the tournament and secure 250 points that would edge him closer to an appearance in London, Monfils will first have to beat either Ivan Dodig or Gastao Elias in round two. Young American Jack Sock could prove to be a very tough quarter-final opponent after his excellent run to the quarter-final in Shanghai last week, and probable semi-final foe Alexander Zverev could also be tricky. If the Frenchman reaches the final, Grigor Dimitrov may await – if the Bulgarian can overcome the likes of Ivo Karlovic, John Isner and Juan Martin Del Potro.
After losing to Britain’s Dan Evans in Washington in July, Dimitrov dropped to world number 40 – his lowest ranking since February 2013. Since that disappointment, he has staged an impressive revival by reaching the Rogers Cup quarter-final, the Cincinnati semi-final, the US Open fourth round and the China Open final. These results have elevated him to 18 in the world.
Consequently, the Bulgarian will be confident heading into the Stockholm Open, and should beat Benjamin Becker or a qualifier in round two, and then any of his possible last eight opponents – most likely Kevin Anderson or Marcos Baghdatis. If he makes it to the semi-final, whoever he faces is likely to be a major challenge. Anyone out of Karlovic, Del Potro, Isner or Fernando Verdasco could conceivably face Dimitrov at that stage.
After a series of injuries blighted Karlovic’s career from 2010-2013, the Croatian, now 37, has performed superbly since then to return the world’s top 20. This year, he won titles in Newport and Los Cabos and reached the final in Washington. He also played some terrific tennis to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
If he is to make an impression at the Stockholm Open, Karlovic will first have to find a way past the mercurial Verdasco in round two – provided the Spaniard does not slip up against wild card Mikael Ymer. If the Croatian reaches the last eight, he will probably face either Isner or Del Potro, who are both likely to be tough players for him to beat. His expected reward for winning his quarter-final would be a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Dimitrov.
What a year it has been for Zverev. The German, 19, has shot up to world number 21, won his first ATP tour title in St Petersburg and reached finals in Nice and Halle. He has also enjoyed victories over Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and, most famously of all, Roger Federer.
After such triumphs, Zverev will not fear anyone in the Stockholm Open draw. His first task will be either Donald Young or Adrian Mannarino. Then Steve Johnson is his likely quarter-final opponent, Monfils and Sock are the favourites to battle it out to join the German in the last four, and Dimitrov is the expected bottom-half finalist. On 2016 evidence, the German is capable of beating them all. Can he prove it and claim his second ATP title?
The Stockholm Open takes place in Sweden from 17-23 October.
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