The Los Cabos Open was established as an ATP 250 tournament last year. Played in Mexico as a tune up for the hard court Master’s swing in August it attracted a good pool of talent in its inaugural year. Ivo Karlovic beat Feliciano Lopez to clinch the inaugural title. He now returns as the defending champion and the fifth seed. but who else joins him on Baja California Peninsula?
Who is playing?
Karlovic returns as defending champion and fifth seed. His performances since Wimbledon have been lacklustre. He lost in a tight five setter against Alijaz Bedene in Wimbledon in the first round and fell to Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk in the quarterfinals of Umag. He’s had only a week’s rest before Abierto, but he’ll be desperate to turn his form around ahead of the Rogers Cup and the Cincinnati Masters. Whether it’s the right call for a 38-year-old, only time will tell.
Recent Wimbledon semi-finalist Tomas Berdych accepted a wildcard into the draw as the top seed. The Czech player performed admirably against Federer in the semi-finals at Wimbledon and was unlucky to fall in straight sets. Whilst he has struggled at times this year, it is fair to say that he is the strong favourite to win the tournament. Albert Ramos Vinolas is competing as well. The Spaniard has been struggling of late with losses against Verdasco in the Swedish Open and Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg. He’ll be particularly concerned to have been playing poorly on his favourite surface, but perhaps a change of surface will improve his fortunes.
Last year’s finalist Feliciano Lopez is also back and will be hoping to go one better. Other contenders include Sam Querrey and Adrian Mannarino. Querrey was in spectacular form at Wimbledon reaching his first Major semi-final. If he can replicate that form he’ll be in with a great chance of winning in Mexico. Mannarino has had a good season too. He reached the Antalya Open final and the second week of Wimbledon. He will be looking to finally get his first title, and clinching one before the US Open might just set him up for a great performance in New York.
First round match to watch
Thanasi Kokkinakis against Francis Tiafoe has all the ingredients to be a terrific match. Kokkinakis has been playing well since his comeback and while Tiafoe has had a so-so season, he’s a terrific talent. With Thanasi’s blistering serve and Tiafoe’s forehand, there should be no shortage of winners and dramatic points. One to watch out for.
Escobedo is among the NextGen players who are yet to make a real dent in the tour. However, he cracked the top 100 for the first time this year and won two challenger titles in 2016. He is certainly capable of upsetting Verdasco, as his big serve and forehand can damage anyone’s game. He may just join the likes of Rublev to win his first title this year although possibly not in Mexico.
Berdych seems like the likeliest winner. He’s playing well, as indicated by his performance at Wimbledon. The draw is not too difficult, and Berdych is fresh and well rested. A win here may well also put him in good stead ahead of the upcoming hard court Masters. However, with a strong draft of Next Gen talent amidst the draw, perhaps a Tiafoe or an Escobedo can steal the title. But, for now, Berdych remains the heavy favourite for the title.
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