Hey guys, the draw for the German Open Tennis Championships in Hamburg is out and it's a really strong field which will give Federer a very stern test if he's to win the title here.
As you can see from the list of seeded players below this isn't a mickey mouse field and there's some very accomplished clay court players who can definitely test Roger.
The annoying thing for me is 12 months ago I'd be 100% confident he was flying through this draw to the title, but based on recent performances and knowing Roger isn't at his confident best then this definitely won't be easy.
- Roger Federer
- Tommy Haas
- Nicolas Almargo
- Jerzy Janowicz
- Juan Monaco
- Andreas Seppi
- Alexandr Dolgopolov
- Jeremy Chardy
- Benoit Paire
- Tommy Robredo
- Feliciano Lopez
- Fabio Fognini
- Mikhail Youzhny
- Fernando Verdasco
- Ernests Gulbis
- Martin Klizan
Federer's Potential Opponents
- Round One: Bye
- Round Two: Brands
- Round Three: Gulbis
- Quarter Final: Dolgopolov / Lopez
- Semi Final: Janowicz
- Final: Haas / Almagro
Full draw available to download here.
First up for Roger is likely to be the guy who troubled Nadal at the French Open; Daniel Brands. He's a heavy hitting German so is always a danger but I can't see him causing Roger too many problems as his return of serve isn't up to scratch and he plays a much different style of play to Nadal so I don't think he will be replicating the damage he was able to cause with his forehand against Rafa.
Round Three is a tricky one though with Gulbis the likely opponent, he's of course had success on clay against Roger before in Rome back in 2010 and definitely has the type of game that can produce upsets on his day. I'd be surprised if Roger loses to Gulbis though and I think he will beat him in straights should they meet, he just has to play a tactically smart match and make sure he's not getting into a hitting contest or playing to Gulbis's strengths.
The Quarter Final shouldn't be too difficult as it's likely to be either Dolgopolov or Lopez, both those guys are good players but Fed should see them off without having to come up with his A game as they don't really have any big weapons which is a nice situation to be in.
The Semi Final is seeded to be against Wimbledon Semi Finalist Jerzy Janowicz whom Roger defeated earlier this year in Rome. Janowicz has a huge game with a huge serve which make him a testing opponent. To be honest though I don't think he's making it to the semi finals and my pick would be Verdasco to make it instead.
The final could then be against Haas or Almagro, Haas lost early in Stuttgart to Fognini so he may be slightly out of form but again in front of his own crowd he can be a danger. Almagro is confident on clay courts but if Roger makes the final I back him to win it.
Verdasco Back into Form?
As I predicted above I see Verdasco meeting Roger in the semi finals as he's definitely in a rich vein of form, he should have beaten Murray at Wimbledon and now has a chance for a title in Bastad after he beat Dimitrov in the semi finals there.
I see him beating Janowicz which would be a gift for Roger has I think Janowicz is more of a threat than Verdasco to him as the Spaniard doesn't have the style of game to defeat Federer making him an ideal opponent.
Expectations for Federer
This is the first time Fed is stepping on court since his defeat to Stakhovsky so it's difficult to know what to expect from him, I'd imagine he rested for a few days after the loss, stayed in Wimbledon for a couple of days before returning back to Switzerland and then hit the practice courts.
I think he has to make the final here to consider it a successful tournament, anything less and there are still going to be question marks against his form. After the season so far confidence has been in short supply so I think he has to get back to winning ways ahead of an important stretch, it's the last slam of the year soon so I'd like to see a strong showing from him there.
I think the opening 2 matches will be tricky, but if Fed can make the final I make him odds on favourite to take the title.
What are your expectations for Roger in Hamburg? Can he take the title?