This week we move to one of my favourite events on the calendar the Godo Barcelona Open. Sure Tiriac the mafia don managed to get a TMS for Madrid, more on that later, but this event is held in the spiritual home of Spanish tennis in Barcelona, so many players learned their craft at this club and many great winners of the event. It’s a tennis club and not a multi purpose venue and for people calling for Nadal to remove this from his schedule, are pissing in the wind, the conditions are favourable, he feels at home there and it also helps his preparation for RG domination.
Now onto to the event itself, the Bye continues his strong work ethic and is enjoying life on La Rambla. The qualifying field was quite strong this time. The warrior Lapentti coming through qualifying for Monte Carlo losing on Friday, then playing qualies here, knocked out Cuevas in 3 sets of course, running away with the last one 6-0. Pere Riba takes out Massu 4 and 4, he must have had a good serving day. Daniel Gimeno-Traver been taken to 3 sets by Bohli, not so good, but the result counts. Kuku the Kazak is back again and hope he makes the MD.
No need to comment too much more on Nadal as he will win the event. Onto the other matches, this will be done on order of the draw down. Gasquet is allegedly playing this event and he got a very kind section playing Hernych with his flat game and the only way Chris Rochus or Devilder would beat him, if Gasquet is injured or he withdraws. Richie getting another pummelling on clay from Rafa, not sure what it would to do the psyche of Mozart.
Next section is the one with el cabezon Almagro, Ferrero and Nalbandian, there are some potential good matches here. Almagro needs to lift his game and Hanescu isn't the best or worst match for him, then Chela or ballbashing Bellucci in the next round. Bellucci sometimes should take a bit of pace off the shots now and then, he will get short replies and then work from there. Ferrero playing Kunitsyn is good 1st rounder for him, then with Nalle anything can happen. He might turn up to play or not give a shit.
Davydenko doesn't have a great record here, but he showed some good signs in his comeback match and potentially a Cañas match would be good for him, as he will get to hit plenty of shots and gain his groove, as he loves playing events to get him into his rhythm. Willy has been average of late, but at least he won 2 matches in a row in Houston and Clement is far from the worst draw. Speaking of poor form the friendly Finn Nieminen needs to get back on track and playing LaLo on clay is always a good place to do it. Hope he gets heckled because he is a cat who deserves heckling all the time.
Gaudio got a WC to the main draw, they haven't forgotten that great display of tennis in 2002 where he was on fire and won the event, then the final in 2004, where he lost to Boredo in very dodgy circumstances. History might repeat itself, because Gaston got Junquiera in the 1st round, who is very beatable, but at the same time Gaston not playing matches and getting proper match conditioning won't help at all. It would be fun if he won, then I wonder if Robredo would feel the need to make a medical timeout for a massage when serving for a match. Tommy, one of the last people to criticise anyone for sportsmanship.
Seppi who is having a poor year playing big Andreev, who he doesn't have a great record against. Acasuso is having some back issues, but has played well here before, playing Sela on clay should be the right match for him, then playing Gonzo who is a bit cold on the clay, might give him some momentum, though he matches up poorly there.
Berdych (who will be the subject of a write up next week) is still his inconsistent self, he could easily thrash Vassallo Arguello or lose handily as Martin has improved in the last 2 seasons and had a good week in Monte Carlo, saving match points against Andreev, then serving for the match against Wawrinka. What ifs are just that, but Vassallo Arguello in a TMS semi would be interesting to say the least.
The King and Schwank will get the pulses ready for the ladies of Barcelona. Oscar needs to perform well in front of his friends and family and this is a good chance for him against Schwank whose form and confidence have gone quicker than free vodka shots. He has some points to defend as well, but that doesn't matter so much, if the mental side of things aren't right and they can be in many different guises, then it's going to impact on their play.
To finish up Pico Monaco playing former champ Safin in the first round on paper looks like the match of the round, things don't always work out like that and it would be good for Monaco to take out Mr.Wildcard.