Kohlschreiber can clinch crown

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Men’s Draw

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Philipp Kohlschreiber wins on grassMilos Raonic narrowly pipped Gilles Simon to the prestigious top seeding berth, but it is the no3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who appears to be the most probable player to win the 2013 AEGON International.

German ace Kohlschreiber made 20102 his breakthrough year, finishing in the world’s top for the first time since turning professional in 2011 and reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals following four opening round defeats in seven seasons at SW19 – on top of a victory on grass at Halle in Germany over Rafael Nadal.

His 2012 win-loss grass record of 9-3 speaks volumes, and being one of the four seeds – all within the world’s top 20 – to be gifted a bye into the 2nd Round should ease his way through the field.

However, this is the strongest ever set of players in the Men’s draw with the no8 seed of Italian Fabio Fognini ranked at world no31.

There are two mouthwatering 1st Round clashes to relish, Bernard Tomic against British wildcard James Ward and Jarkko Nieminen facing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

bernard tomicTomic, a 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist sensation as a tenacious teenager, has struggled ever since his father/coach John was involved in an alleged assault with his former practice partner at this year’s Madrid Masters.

The giant Australian fell in the 1st Round at Queen’s last week, which made it four ATP Tour defeats on the bounce. Yet his game is suited to fast surfaces and he has the ability to win this event if his confidence crisis doesn’t continue, which is seemingly due to his father’s coach accreditation ban by the ATP until October’s court hearing in Madrid.

British no2 Ward, who is playing in his fifth successive Eastbourne tournament and reached the 2010 quarter-finals, hovers just outside the world’s top 200 but produces his best on grass and in front of his home crowd.

The Londoner’s wildcard entry at Queen’s resulted in just the one match, beaten in three sets by Croatian Ivan Dodig. And wildcard Ward has a real shot at causing an upset if Tomic’s recent injury and personal circumstances take over from the natural ability that the Australian obviously possesses.

Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen tasted a 2nd Round reversal at Queen’s last week, one victory less than Lopez on the grass court in London.

Nieminen has picked up six wins in eight contests against Lopez, including their only grass court meeting – 2012 Wimbledon.

With totally different styles of play the result is in the balance, Nieminen is a firm favourite to progress and face no4 seed Monaco of Argentina although Lopez

Top Half

(1)Milos Raonic (CAN) bye
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO) [head-to-head1-0]
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) [1-0]
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs (8)Fabio Fognini (ITA) [1-2]
(4)Juan Monaco (ARG) bye
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [7-2]
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (qualifier)James Blake (USA) [1-0]
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (6)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [1-0]

MilosRaonicRaonic is aiming to recover from last week’s reversal to France’s Gael Monfils on grass in Germany. Not only has Monfils since withdrawn injured from Wimbledon, but the giant Canadian arguably produced some of his worse tennis in recent seasons.

With a new coach to guide him, Raonic needs to return to winning ways and utilise his array of weapons on fast surfaces.

If Raonic can dispatch the winner of Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Dodig, then he should have few problems in getting past no8 seed Fognini, Slovenian Grega Zemlja, Slovakian Martin Klizan or Serbian Viktor Troicki to book a semi-final berth.

Monaco has a much tougher task to progress. He faces the winner of the Lopez/Nieminen contest, and if successful would take on either Spaniard Albert Ramos, American qualifier James Blake, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco or Ukraine’s Alex Dolgopolov in a battle for a last four place.

Lopez is arguably one of the best grass court players in the draw, with three quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon. And SW19 was a happy hunting ground for the veteran with Monaco one his victims at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bottom Half

(7)Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (q)Guiliame Rufin (FRA) [1-0]
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs (q)Ryan Harrison (USA) [1-0]
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(3)Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bye
(5)Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) [1-2]
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (WC)James Ward (GBR)
(WC)Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs (q)Kerry de Schepper (FRA)
(2)Gilles Simon (FRA) bye

Simon, dethroned as the top seed by Raonic’s late wildcard entry, should ease into only his second quarter-final at Eastbourne as he has a strong chance against either British wildcard Kyle Edmund or a French qualifier Kerry de Schepper in the 2nd Round.

Kevin Anderson appears to stand in the way of Simon progressing to the semi-final stage. But the South African giant has to fend off France’s experienced Julian Benneteau in the 1st Round with the winner of Tomic/Ward next up.

Andreas Seppi, the only former Devonshire Park champion in the draw, should have few difficulties in reaching the quarter-finals. The Italian has French qualifier Guiliame Rufin in the 1st Round, the winner will play either France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu or American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Kohlschreiber, a quarter-finalist at last week’s grass court event in Germany, has a 2nd Round clash against Australian Marinko Matosevic or Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. And Kohlschreiber should soar to the semi-finals with ease.

Semi-Final Prediction
Raonic vs Lopez
Kohlschreiber vs Simon

Seeds

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

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2013 Men’s Draw

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Fabio FOGNINI, Gilles SIMON, Juan MONACO, Kevin ANDERSON, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Men’s Draw

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SCORES FROM EASTBOURNE

Bernard Tomic deflatedBernard Tomic, who in 2011 became the first teenager since Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon, was the player to avoid – but British wildcard James Ward faces the Monaco-based Australian in a mouthwatering 1st Round.

Tomic has been drawn against the British no2, who is a former quarter-finalist at Devonshire Park, keen to bounce back following a brief and unsuccessful appearance at Queen’s in London last week.

He stuttered out of the 2012 AEGON International in three sets to Fabio Fognini despite being the no4 seed and was booed off the Wimbledon courts following his destruction of the grass with his racquet after tasting defeat.

Edmund, the world no444, will be seeking to register his maiden ATP Tour main draw victory ahead of his first wildcard entry for 2013 Wimbledon.

Milos Raonic, the world no15 and late wildcard, has the pressure on his shoulders as the top seed. The giant Canadian, whose booming serve puts him in with a fantastic chance of claiming the Eastbourne crown on his debut.

But he will need to bounce back from his surprise straight set exit on grass at last week’s opening match against French ace Gael Monfils at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany.

Montenegrian-born Raonic split with his Spanish coach Galo Blanco last month and now works from his Monte Carlo base with former ATP Tour star Ivan Ljubicic on a trial run with the Croatian.

The 22-year-old has a bye so starts in the 2nd Round against either Ivan Dodig or Denis Istomin.

gilles simonAt the other end of the draw no2 seed Gilles Simon, relegated from top billing with Raonic’s arrival on Thursday, will be eager to show the fans that he could waltz his way to the Eastbourne title.

The French star has never got further than the quarter-finals at Devonshire Park despite possessing all the weapons that are suited to grass.

The world no17 employs tactics that grind down opponents and utilises the pace of his opponents with a trampoline effect. Simon starts off in the 2nd Round against either British teenager Kyle Edmund or French qualifier Kerry de Schepper.

Phillip Kohlschreiber, arguably the most probable 2013 winner, has the perfect all round game is suited to grass. He is seeded no3 and in the same half of the draw as Simon. The German begins the tournament with a 2nd Round clash against either Marinko Marosevic or Radek Stephanek.

Clay court specialist Juan Monaco, the no4 seed, is drawn to face the winner of Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen. However, the Argentinian is unlikely to make much of an impact on grass with a 3-6 record on the surface. However, on his Eastbourne debut he will be seeking to capture his second ATP Tour title of 2013 having won the Dusseldorf crown last month.

Giant South African ace Kevin Anderson, the no5 seed, has arguably the toughest match of all the seeds with Julien Benneteau his opening Round opponent.

Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Devonshire Park regular, takes the no6 slot and is drawn against Fernando Verdasco.

Former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi is a dangerous opponent in the draw as no7 seed. The Italian faces French qualifier Guiliame Rufin and boasts an impressive 13-5 record at Eastbourne, finishing 2011champion and 2012 runner-up to Andy Roddick.

Seppi’s compatriot Fognini takes the no8 berth and in the 1st Round will tackle Slovenian Grega Zemlja.

Two Americans have booked themselves into the main draw after polishing off three victims apiece in qualifying. James Blake dispatched Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky in a three set thriller on Sunday to earn a place in the main draw, where he faces Spaniard Albert Ramos. With Ryan Harrison seeing off his American compatriot Michael Russell in two closely fought sets, his reward is a clash against France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Seeds:

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

Draw:

(1)Milos Raonic (CAN) bye
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO) [head-to-head1-0]
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) [1-0]
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs (8)Fabio Fognini (ITA) [1-2]
(4)Juan Monaco (ARG) bye
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [7-2]
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (qualifier)James Blake (USA) [1-0]
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (6)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [1-0]
(7)Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (q)Guiliame Rufin (FRA) [1-0]
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs (q)Ryan Harrison (USA) [1-0]
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(3)Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bye
(5)Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) [1-2]
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (WC)James Ward (GBR)
(WC)Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs (q)Kerry de Schepper (FRA)
(2)Gilles Simon (FRA) bye

MILOS RAONIC

2013 AEGON International, Andreas Seppi, Fabio FOGNINI, Milos RAONIC, Players

milos raonic

Birthplace:
Podgorica, Montenegro
Residence
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Height
6′ 5″ (1.90 m)
Weight
198 lbs (90 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
2008

The giant Canadian is arguably one of the most exciting prospects on the ATP World Tour with his thundering serve.

Having moved from Montenegro to Canada aged three, he perfected his game as child with a ball machine. This practice paid dividends as Raonic became just the third Canadian man in the Open Era to reach the 4th Round of a Grand Slam by excelling at the 2012 Australian Open..

He made it an incredible hat-trick of San Jose titles on the bounce in February 2013 to become the first player for almost 50 years to achieve such an impressive feat.

His style of play suit fast courts, where he relies on his height and reach to thunder down serves and put away overhead smashes.

Helped Canada reach their first Davis Cup semi-finals with victories over Italy’s Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi – Eastbourne regulars.

Raonic races into pole position

Gilles SIMON, Kevin ANDERSON, Milos RAONIC, Players

 

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

MilosRaonicMilos Raonic, the world no15, has taken over the mantle as top seed for the 2013 AEGON International from Gilles Simon after being granted a wildcard on Thursday evening.

The Canadian was bundled out of the 1st Round of the Gerry Weber Open in Germany by French ace Gael Monfils on Tuesday without putting up much of a fight in a 6-4 6-2 reversal.

Despite his infamous booming serve, Raonic made a string of unforced errors and whimpered to his concede defeat – following on from his early French Open exit after being out served by South African Kevin Anderson.

But Raonic’s game has recently been going through a bad patch after he parted ways with Spanish coach Galo Blanco last month.

The 22-year-old has turned to Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, who retired from competing on the ATP Tour last year after 14 seasons, on a trial run. The pair are working together from Monte Carlo as they both reside in the tax-free haven.

Montenegrian-born Raonic said: “Being coached by Ivan will really offer a new dimension to my game, as his recent experience on Tour is a major plus for my development.

“I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from him and to continue to grow my game in the best way possible.

“We both come from aggressive styles of play, so he understands the mentality I have on court as well as the areas where I can improve.”

The British duo of Kyle Edmund and James Ward have also been given wildcards into the Eastbourne event.

South African-born Edmund, the world no444, became the youngest British player since Andy Murray to win a Futures event with the Birmingham, Alabama title in American crown in October 2012.

The 18-year-old, given a trio of wildcards by the LTA – for Queen’s, Eastbourne and Wimbledon – last month picked up the Junior French Open Doubles title to add to the 2012 Junior US Open Doubles crown.

Brought up in Yorkshire from the age of three, Edmund said: “This is only my second ATP World Tour event so I’m very excited to be playing against some of the world’s top players at Eastbourne.”

james-wardGreat Britain Davis Cup stalwart Ward came close to breaking into the top 100 last April with a career-high world ranking of no137, and took American ace Mardy Fish to five sets at 2012 Wimbledon before bowing out.

The son of a London taxi driver, Ward’s best results and displays have been on the grass courts in England although he shocked Russian Dimitry Tursunov in April’s Davis Cup tie.

Ward, a 2010 AEGON International quarter-finalist, admitted: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Eastbourne, it’s the perfect opportunity to get in some matches ahead of Wimbledon.”

Provisional eight seeds:

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

Other provisional entrants:

  1. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  2. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  3. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  4. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  5. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  6. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  7. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  8. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  9. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  10. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  11. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)
  12. James WARD (Great Britain)
  13. Kyle EDMUND (Great Britain)

Simon set to impress

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Fabio FOGNINI, Gilles SIMON, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international men's winnerGilles Simon, who has yet to progress beyond the 4th Round at Wimbledon, is one of the favourites to lift the 2013 AEGON International crown.

But the French ace, whose game is suited to the low bounce on grass, as top seed will no doubt feel the pressure on him at Devonshire Park as he was pushed out of being the top seed on Thursday evening.

Milos Raonic, the world no15, taken over the mantle as no1 seed for the 2013 AEGON International as a late wildcard.

The Canadian was bundled out of the opening round of the grass court Gerry Weber Open in Germany by French ace Gael Monfils, following on from his early French Open exit after being out served by South African Kevin Anderson.

Despite his infamous booming serve, Raonic’s game has recently been going through a bad patch after he parted ways with Spanish coach Galo Blanco last month.

The 22-year-old has turned to Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, who retired from  the ATP Tour last year after 14 seasons, on a trial run and the duo are working together from their respective residence in Monte Carlo.

Raonic said: “We both come from aggressive styles of play, so he understands the mentality I have on court as well as the areas where I can improve.”

The British duo of talented teenager Kyle Edmund and Davis Cup stalwart James Ward have also been given wildcards into the Eastbourne event.

Ward, a 2010 AEGON International quarter-finalist, admitted: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Eastbourne, it’s the perfect opportunity to get in some matches ahead of Wimbledon.”

Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci has become the first withdrawal from the tournament, and previously skipped the Eastbourne event, although was never amongst the players likely to win.

But Phillip Kohlschreiber, who narrowly missed out on being the no1 seed, is the most probable champion with an attacking style of play that is suited to grass and saw the German reach the 2012 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

South African no1 Anderson made a name for himself on grass with an impressive run to the quarter-finals at 2008 Wimbledon – just a year after joining the ATP Tour – and the thundering serves from the 6 foot 8 inch powerful ace are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Bernard Tomic deflatedYet unseeded Bernard Tomic, who crashed out at Queen’s in London, went one better by becoming the first teenager since German legend Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

That was in 2011, but the tenacious Aussie had an unhappy return to SW19 last season and has courted controversy off the court due to allegations involving his father/coach John.

Tomic was surprisingly defeated in three sets by Italian Fabio Fognini at the 2012 AEGON International, so will be a dangerous floater in the draw.

Another Italian regular to Devonshire Park, former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi, has a slim shot of winning the tournament.

Clay court expert Juan Monaco of Argentina, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, French ace Julien Benneteau and Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will all be vying a slice of glory although it seems that the top three seeds of Raonic, Simon and Kohlschreiber are the overwhelming favourites to taste success.