PTA Halle Preview: Season II Gerry Weber Open
What looked like a great field for the Halle organisers has taken a hit in the past week or so with Radivoj Daneu, Daniel Páez Blanco and József Boros withdrawing. While Daneu announced is withdrawal through injury late last week, Blanco and Boros, the Roland Garros finalists, announced their withdrawals after the seeds were placed which left two lucky losers replacing them in the top half.
It wasn't ideal for the organisers, as the top two ranked players can now only meet in the semi finals. Rasmus Olesen is the defending champion (having beaten Ivan Genov last season), and he and Sven Oxenstierna have been placed in a stacked half with just the one wildcard and no qualifiers. For a 250 tournament, it is a seriously tough path to title defence with two Grand Slam finalists and two Grand Slam semi finalists in it.
With Blanco and Boros out, the top half is a bit of a disaster. Miroslav Brdar is the highest seed and is uncomfortable with the lower balls on grass. Carlo Amato is the other seed who did well to make the fourth round at Wimbledon last year. Grass king, though, he is not.
The other exciting storyline is veteran Brett Read who is playing his first PTA tournament on grass. The Roland Garros quarter finalist faces a tough path on the grass with serve-and-volley specialist Denis Isaev first, and then a third match against Carlo Amato in a month. His strength has been how much time he has been able to create for himself, so the grass may produce some obstacles for the 28-year old.
Prediction: Rasmus Olesen def. Carlo Amato