The Gery Weber Open draw has just taken place in Halle and it's Roger's last chance to get some grass court tournament prep in before Wimbledon starts in a couple of weeks. After the disappointing loss to Haas earlier this week he'll be looking to bounce back at one of his most successful tournaments, however, it's a strong field and it won't be easy. You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents:
- Round 1: Yen-Hsun Lu
- Round 2: Mischa Zverev
- Quarter Final: Benoit Paire / Lucas Pouille
- Semi Final: Kei Nishikori
- Final: Dominic Thiem / Alexander Zverev
Full .PDF printable draw
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is Lu Yen-hsun from Chinese Taipei, Roger played him at Wimbledon many moons ago and on his day he's a pretty decent player. Looking at his activity he was supposed to play in Rosmalen but withdrew before his match again Evgeny Donskoy so I'm not sure if he was carrying a knock. As a result, this will be his first match on the grass of the season, but it is his favourite surface having beaten Roddick on it at SW19 in 2010. As we saw in Stuttgart anything can happen but he's typically not much of a threat to Roger who will be able to play the match on his terms.
Into round 2 and it's either a Qualifier or Mischa Zverev who lost in today's Stuttgart Semi-Final. Seppi, Youzhny, Escobedo and Pospisil are all in qualifying so not unthinkable one of those guys can come through but Zverev has been playing well so far. He serves & volleys but then stands miles back on the return, weird approach but it's working for him. Either way, I fancy Fed to nullify his game should they meet. Out of the qualifiers, Pospisil is perhaps the most dangerous if he makes the main draw but if Roger lost that one it'd be time to panic 😉
For the quarter-finals, there are quite a few players who can come through. Both Paire and Pouille (who play each other today in Stuttgart) are in this section. Paire supposedly hates the surface and Pouille has a Wimbledon quarter-final on his CV from last year so he's the favourite. Struff and Florian Mayer are the other two guys in this section with home soil advantage and Mayer is, of course, the defending champion who you can never rule out.
Kei Nishikori is the seeded opponent for the semi final and he's not played since his loss to Murray in Paris. If he's injury free then he's in with a shot of getting that far but Verdasco in his opener won't be easy. Karlovic will likely factor too in his section.
The finals then have Thiem and Zverev as the two top seeds in that half. Thiem has proved he can play on grass but it's by no means his best surface so I don't think he's nailed on to come through. Zverev showed form on grass last year pre Wimbledon and he's playing well in Rosmalen so I'd make him the favourite. Kohli, Gasquet, Monfils and Tomic all reside in this section too and all of them on a given day can make finals or win titles at this level.
So expectations for Federer? I think he has to make the final really after losing early in Stuttgart. Looking at the draw though the tournament is completely wide open. There are plenty of guys who have pedigree on grass and I can see some seeds falling early. Over best of 3, it's tough to predict but I think Fed will fare ok. The first task is to see off Lu in straights.
What are your thoughts on the draw? Let me know in the comments.