October 31st, 2014
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We are still on the clay this week as focus switches over to the ATP World Tour 500 event in Hamburg, Germany.
This is one of the top tournaments on the summer clay circuit and the centre court there is the largest one in Germany. Heading up the field this week is David Ferrer, who, despite being such a brilliant clay court specialist, has never landed the Hamburg title, his best finish being a semi final appearance back in 2009.
The Spaniard goes as top seed this week and he will be looking to pick up some form after suffering a surprise quarter final exit last week in Sweden on the dirt. Ferrer lost there to Carlos Berlocq and that followed an early exit from Wimbledon for Ferrer as well. So it is coming to the time of the season where he needs to dig deep and you feel that with some action back on clay last week under his belt, he should make a good case for himself this week.
The field laying down the challenge to Ferrer’s supremacy is tricky, more than anything for the Spaniard. If Ferrer is on top of his game, then there shouldn’t be issues. Fabio Fognini is number two seed as the Italy is looking to defend the title he won here last year over Federico Delbonis. He has gone on to win a third ATP Tour title since them and had a 3-5 record in the final of ATP events. A semi final on clay, where he is most at home, last week in Stuttgart should serve as decent preparation for this week’s challenge.
Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber will have a big support on his side and he has taken a title on home soil already this season, winning in Dusseldorf. Never been past the quarterfinals in Hamburg though, but could make for a decent each way shot for punters this week. Along with Figini, other previous winners in the field are Spain’s Tommy Robredo, who lost in the opening round of Bastad last week, and Gilles Simon.
Frenchman Simon is probably the best dark shot of the tournament. He went to the semi finals of Nice on clay back in May and then gave Milos Raonic an epic battle at Roland Garros in the third round. There are clearly stronger options in the field, but Simon looks to be some great value this week to fly under the radar and at least make the final four here. There is a pretty evenly matched field out and the field is wide, wide open here.
It should be a case of Ferrer v The Field if quality is anything to go by, because he is the standout talent. He has won at least one tournament every season since 2010 and he beat Fognini in the final of Buenos Aires this season on clay to claim the 21st title of his career.