Joint – New Haven (Premier and 250)
I have never been happier to do a “The Week Ahead”. One tournament? No strange clay events? No weird, smaller USO Series tournies? Praise be to Sven.
Hilariously, the ladies’ side is of a higher level (Premier vs. 250), has way more star power in terms of big names, slightly higher prize money… yet with a 32 player draw instead of the men’s 64 (though 2 and 16 byes respectively). That being said, New Haven suddenly takes on a whole new meaning with Serena out of the USO, the return of Sam, and the quality of the draw. Can Caro defend (or bother to play)? Is Sam’s arm ok? How’s Elena’s head after that ridiculous loss in Montreal? Franny/Dinara? Can Flavs keep the ball rolling? The perfect appetizer before New York’s main course.
As for the men… well, Leo Mayer is your eighth seed, so that says a lot. Cincy finalist and semifinalist Fish and Bags are in, however, and Gonzo makes his return as the third seed. Otherwise, it’s guys without real shots at going deep at the Open looking to scrap together some last minute hard court points (Bellucci, Golubev, T-Rob, etc.). It does feature youngsters de Bakker and Dolg Jr., however, guys who I’ve had a keen eye on the past several months. And Dustin Brown qualified, so that rules too.