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  • Chris Sobey


The ATP European clay court swing moves on to Barcelona and a new tournament in Budapest, Hungary this week, which is the first time the ATP Tour has had a tournament in the country. Barcelona is one of three ATP 500 tournaments played on the red dirt and nine times Barcelona winner and third seed this week Rafa Nadal, who won an unprecedented tenth Monte Carlo Masters title yesterday, will aim to achieve the same feat this week. Defending champion Kei Nishikori will not defend his title this week due to injury while top-seed and world number one Andy Murray will look to improve on his results last week after a short lay off due to an elbow injury.

The historical statistics bode well for Murray’s chances of winning Barcelona for the first time as the top seed has won seven of the last ten titles overall and they were never a losing finalist in this period. The second seed has not performed as well at Barcelona over the last decade winning the title only once in this period (2013) and they were a losing finalist three times in this period, but with no second this week due to Nishikori’s withdrawal these trends won’t play a part this season.

Seeded players in general have a strong record at Barcelona and a player seeded no higher than five has won the last ten titles; a player seeded no higher than 12 was a losing finalist eight times over the last decade and the best result unseeded players have achieved was two losing finalists in 2014 and 2015. With third seed Nadal in dominant form on his beloved red dirt it’s hard to oppose him this week from the bottom half however, it may take top-seed Murray a few more tournaments before he hits top form again so I will highlight one player who could make the final from the top-half of the draw. Seventh seed Carreno-Busta (22/1) is turning in to a consistent high class performer especially on clay and on current form he has a realistic chance of reaching the final and looks overpriced to do so.

As the tournament in Budapest, Hungary is a new event there is no historical data to help analyse the draw however, we can use historical data from Bucharest the tournament it replaces, as the location and conditions are very similar. The top-two seeds had a poor record at Bucharest over the last decade winning four titles between them and they were a losing finalist once in this period. Seeded players in general performed well and a player seeded no higher than five won eight titles over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than seven was losing finalist five times during the period. Unseeded players performed well at Bucharest over recent seasons and with that in mind I will focus on two unseeded outsiders this week Coric (14/1) and Haase (33/1) as both are proven performers at this level on clay having won titles and been losing finalists on the surface.

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