2011 German Open Preview: Gael Monfils Leads Stacked Field in Hamburg

James WatersonContributor IJuly 18, 2011

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World No. 7 Gael Monfils and Jurgen Melzer lead the field at this week’s bet-at-home Open German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, the first ATP Tour 500 level event since Barcelona in April.

The top six seeded players are the same ones that lost in the early rounds of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart last week.

Monfils faces a potentially tricky match-up against 57th-ranked Radek Stepanek, who he is 4-2 against, in the third round, and 18th-ranked Gilles Simon in the quarterfinal.

He could face fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, a man he hasn’t beaten in three matches, in the semifinal.

Youzhny’s trip to the semifinal looks to be a difficult one because he has a losing record against two of the other seeded players in his quarter: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Juan Ignacio Chela.

In the other half, tennis fans could be treated to matchups between World No. 20 Florian Mayer and Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas Almagro and Albert Montanes, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco, and Melzer and Fabio Fognini.

Before Davydenko faces Verdasco, he may have to fight his way past former World No. 1 and 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won last week’s title in Stuttgart.

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The winner of the tournament gets 500 ranking points and $325,035.

The other ATP event this week is the Atlanta Tennis Championships, a 250 level event. World No. 9 Mardy Fish is the top-seeded player, followed by 35th-ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa and John Isner.

Fish’s path to the semifinal seems straightforward. He could face World No. 97 Nicolas Mahut in the second round and then eighth-seeded Somdev Devvarman of India in the quarterfinal.

The American won both of his previous matches against Devvarman in straight sets.

He could meet fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse in the semifinal. Before that happens, Malisse needs to work his way through a quarter that includes former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, Grigor Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison.

In the bottom half, former top 10 player James Blake takes on Ernests Gulbis in the first round, and if he wins plays Isner in the second round. This section of the draw also features seventh-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tommy Haas, Robby Ginepri and Donald Young.

The winner receives 250 ranking points and a $96,800 check.

This story originally appeared at Tennis Now.