Tennis Gods are Cruel: Memphis Preview

Written By: achangeofends - Feb• 14•11

In just four short days, I will be in Memphis to provide live coverage of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships. I’ve been looking forward to this event since the end of the US Open and could not be happier that it’s my first official event as credentialed media. So, I feel it’s only right to provide you guys with a preview for the week. Although, I have a feeling the actual draw will turn out quite differently than my predictions.

As far as I can tell, the tennis gods were playing a joke on us when they came up with this draw. In what world should John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro be playing a first round match at an ATP 500 event?

First Quarter

It’s as if tournaments actively seek to stop me from seeing Andy Roddick. While I see some players over and over again, I always seem to miss Andy and judging from his Memphis draw, it’s possible I may miss him again. Roddick starts off his title quest against Richard Berankis, but will likely face his US Open conquerer, Janko Tipsarevic, in the second round. If he manages to get through Tipsarevic, he’ll likely face Lleyton Hewitt in the quarterfinals. While Berankis is a rising star, I don’t think he’ll get the upset on Tuesday. Tipsarevic may give Roddick some trouble, but I think Andy still has the edge on the indoor hard courts. Hewitt played reasonably well last week in San Jose, but lost to Juan Martin del Potro. I think we’ll see a quarterfinal between former Grand Slam champions Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt, but Andy will emerge as the winner.

Second Quarter

The only notable thing to discuss in this quarter is the first round match between Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner. This is just plain cruel. These guys should be facing off in finals, not first rounds. Whoever wins this match should roll all the way into the semifinals and the only opposition in this quarter is Xavier Malisse, who lost in the first round of San Jose and Ivo Karlovic, who’s still working his way back from a long injury layoff. If I had to wager a guess, I think Isner may have the upper hand. Del Potro hasn’t played a ton of matches this year and he missed nearly all of last year. That’s a long time with no tennis. Juan Martin did have a pretty excellent run last week in San Jose, making the semifinals before losing to Fernando Verdasco.

Third Quarter

The two biggest factors in this quarter are Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish, but neither has had the best start to 2011. Sam Querrey is the defending Memphis champion, but he’s yet to win a match in 2011. Mardy Fish had a stellar 2010 season, but has been battling a thyroid problem this year. Hopefully, Querrey has worked out whatever issues he’s been having and will find a way to win at least one match, but he opens his title defense against Denis Istomin, who can be an extremely tough opponent when he’s playing well. If Fish is healthy, he should have no problem making it to the semifinals.

Fourth Quarter

Ever get that feeling of déjà vu? Well, Milos Raonic and Fernando Verdasco squared off today in the San Jose final, but they’ll meet again on Wednesday in the first round of Memphis. Raonic won their match today, and the SAP Open title, but I think Verdasco will be out for blood on Wednesday. I expect Fernando to take this one and make it through to the semifinals, considering the stiffest competition in the rest of the quarter is Radek Stepanek, Kevin Anderson, and James Blake.

Please check back for regular updates from Memphis and don’t forget to look out for my articles at TennisGrandstand. They got me the pass after all. Also, I will likely be tweeting like mad (@achangeofends) and posting photos on Facebook, so make sure to follow both.

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