Heineken Open Preview

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Published: 08/01/2012

The ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland will play host to the 21st renewal of the Heineken Open in January 2012 which will see many of the ATP’s elite putting together their final preparations for the Australian Open at the end of the month.

Despite the impending Grand Slam action being at the forefront of players’ minds however, the Heineken Open is still a top drawer tennis tournament in its own right and the action and standard this year is likely to be as strong and competitive as ever.

With such an open field, decent odds are likely to be available for the majority of the twenty-eight strong line-up, but it will be Spanish World No.5 and 2011 champion David Ferrer who will start as clear favourite.

After lifting the title in Auckland last year, Ferrer went onto reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open and the recent Davis Cup winner will want to at the very least match those achievements once again this time around.

Whilst from a betting perspective it would be difficult to deter people away from Ferrer due to his clear advantage in the rankings, the Spaniard may not have everything his own way especially with compatriots Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro and Juan Monaco on the scene.

Verdasco may not be quite top class but is a model of consistency whilst Almagro leapt up the World Rankings to ninth in 2011 and will be confident of making further progress this year starting with this Aussie Open prep in New Zealand.

All of the four aforementioned players are likely to receive a bye through to the second stage because of their superior rankings and it is hard to envisage a potential winner emerging from outside of that Iberian quartet.

Nevertheless, there will be a plethora of other Spanish players aiming to impress as well as the useful Thomaz Bellucci and Kevin Anderson.

Brazilian Bellucci has struggled to so far make an impact in the Grand Slam events however he does have two minor ATP titles to his name and confirmed his ability when beating Andy Murray on the tour last year.

Anderson meanwhile has worked hard to grind his way up to No.30 in the World Rankings however his four straight first round defeats at the Australian Open says a lot about his prowess and threat as a hard court player.

Albert Montanes, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Albert Ramos complete a sizeable Spanish contingent whilst native Michael Venus will be seeking to cause an upset or two after receiving a wild card to play in his home event.

There is definitely potential for some entertaining matches in the early rounds particularly considering that a lot of the players will be rusty and simply beginning their quest to obtain full match fitness.

Nevertheless it is still likely that the classier players will rise to the top and Ferrer’s ability to hit the ground running as he demonstrated in 2011 is enough reason to side with him before the ATP action moves to the fist Slam of 2012 in Melbourne.

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (08/01/2012) but are subject to change.

08/01/2012     © Frixo 2018

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