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Few contenders here but always difficult to call when players are coming off grass.

Lopez obviously had a great run and it'll be interesting to see whether the confidence he'll have gained will translate into success on the dirt. Bautista Agut has a very favourable run through to the SFs so I'd consider him a contender alongside Fognini and Kohlschreiber. The bottom quarter could see anyone come through as Youzhny's game is off at the moment and none of Monaco, Paire, or Delbonis have shown much this year to suggest they're especially dangerous.
 

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These events are useless these days. They used to be pretty good when the likes of Canas, Gaudio, Calleri, Kuerten, Novak and all would participate. Now it doesn't seem very competitive.
 

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These events are useless these days. They used to be pretty good when the likes of Canas, Gaudio, Calleri, Kuerten, Novak and all would participate. Now it doesn't seem very competitive.
I don't think you can say it's not competitive considering that there's probably about ten guys going into the tournament thinking they really could take the title, but the lack of top ten players does make this look like a second tier event. I think that it could look more interesting with a couple of bigger names involved but it still offers a platform for guys outside of the top ten to compete for a title, gain confidence and boost their ranking.
 

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I don't think you can say it's not competitive considering that there's probably about ten guys going into the tournament thinking they really could take the title, but the lack of top ten players does make this look like a second tier event. I think that it could look more interesting with a couple of bigger names involved but it still offers a platform for guys outside of the top ten to compete for a title, gain confidence and boost their ranking.
I was meaning more from the standpoint that the world's distinguished clay court specialists used to participate, making it quite a gruelling and entertaining spectacle. We don't really have those kind of specialists any more. It all came to a head with a great 5 set final.
 

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I was meaning more from the standpoint that the world's distinguished clay court specialists used to participate, making it quite a gruelling and entertaining spectacle. We don't really have those kind of specialists any more. It all came to a head with a great 5 set final.
That's a fair point, I think court homogenisation has actually helped limit the group of true clay specialists. So many can now play as well on slow hard courts as clay, so these events are less vital for success and rankings. As much as it's normally talked about as limiting the powerful or serve volley players, there's some a less obvious impact from court homogenisation too.

 

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Sijsling with his GOAT scheduling of playing Stuttgart, Hamburg and Umag instead of Newport, Bogota and Atlanta.
 

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looks very open. Klizan or Delbonis for me.
 

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Leo Mayer as a longshot, but Fog should be hard to beat
 

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That's a fair point, I think court homogenisation has actually helped limit the group of true clay specialists. So many can now play as well on slow hard courts as clay, so these events are less vital for success and rankings. As much as it's normally talked about as limiting the powerful or serve volley players, there's some a less obvious impact from court homogenisation too.
It's not a case of that. Forget analysing results, that's a lazy way of analysing performance.

Costa, Corretja, Gaudio et al. all did much better on clay than hardcourts, clearly, and it wasn't because of the fact that they were weak on hardcourts.

Currently, the current group of "clay court specialists" are not even that good on clay, so of course they are going to perform just as well on hardcourts. A part of the reason why is because they do not treat clay court tennis like the former group did. The patterns of play are completely different today from 10 years ago. There is far less use of dropshots (and the sliding drop volley), there is less use of short angles, there is less use of clearance variation. They are essentially playing what we now believe to "hardcourt tennis" on a clay court.
 
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