Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The best of the rest

Meanwhile, over on the ATP tour …

The two tournaments going on this week, one in Thailand and the other in Kuala Lumpur (which HCFoo has been covering religiously!) feature pretty strong fields, and I just noticed something interesting—at least to me, tennis dork that I am: Between the two, none of the top six players are competing.

Usually, I'm all like, "The big guns should be out there," but with each event having a couple of top 10 players apiece—for ATP 250 tournaments, no less—I really can't complain. The seventh- through 13th-ranked players are out there getting at it, which is good to see.

I think the Asian swing is off to a great start from a fan's perspective with the star power out there. Here's my take on a few of the matches that should be pretty high-quality today:

In Bangkok:

• Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Ernests Gulbis: Jo-Willy should be OK here, but Gulbis is ultra-talented. I think Tsonga will get him, though.

• Andreas Beck vs. Donald Young: I can't tell you how happy I am to even see Young in a foreign country playing! He got into the main draw as a lucky loser after Sam Querrey's freak accident, but he could win this match. Beck blasts the ball, so it'll be good to see if he can handle that type of heat. I'm going with Young here.

In Kuala Lumpur:

• Joachim Johansson vs. Richard Gasquet: You know, once upon a time, if you said these two would be playing for Slams, you wouldn't have been thought of as crazy. Glad to see Johansson back, but I think Gasquet might be in too good of form for him.

• Martin Damm/Robert Lindstedt vs. Marcelo Melo/Andre Sa: What's this? A doubles mention on TTA?? I know, I should mention dubs more—I'm starting now! Damm has been out there a looonng time, but he's still playing at a high level, and his partner Lindstedt—a past U.S. Open champ—is solid. Melo and Sa have been one of the best the past few years, but I think the veterans will take them out.

This is just a little bit of what's going on. With this, who needs a top six? (Just kidding, top six! We're waiting for you!)

(Photo: Getty Images)