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The Abierto Mexicano Telcel is entering its second year as a hard-court event and if the draw is anything to go by, it looks like being even more successful than its first.
Grigor Dimitrov, who hasn’t made a great start to the season, returns to defend his title at the 500 event as the third seed behind world no. 5 Kei Nishikori and world no. 9 David Ferrer, each of them looking for their second title of 2015 after Nishikori triumphed in Memphis and Ferrer won on the clay courts of Rio de Janeiro.
Featured matches - Thursday 26 February
World No. 5 is looking in cruise control and should steam past Dolgopolov
Full order of play – Thursday 26 February
Kei Nishikori (1)
Kei Nishikori (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
– Already with one title at the Memphis Open to his credit for 2015, world no. 5 Kei Nishikori sets his sights on another, and bigger, in Acapulco, returning to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel for the first time since losing in the second round in 2012.
Nishikori could also close the gap in the rankings that separates him from world no. 4 Rafael Nadal with the Acapulco title, but it will not be easy for the Japanese shotmaker in such a strong field. 10-2 on the season so far, Nishikori opens against qualifier Alejandro Gonzalez and could face Victor Estrella Burgos – who captured his first title in Quito earlier this month – or the very dangerous Yen-Hsun Lu in the second round. His projected opponent would be Alexandr Doglopolov, a semifinalist in Acapulco in 2014, but with Dolgopolov still not recovered his form after last year’s knee surgery, Australia’s big-serving Sam Groth – Dolgopolov’s first-round opponent – could be an alternative threat.
David Ferrer (2)
David Ferrer (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
– It’s almost as if David Ferrer heard the tennis world speculating that the iron man of tennis was finally showing signs of rust last season. He’s begun the year with titles in Doha and at last week’s Rio Open and is on the attack in Acapulco, where he won three titles when the tournament was still held on clay.
Ousted by Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals in 2014, Ferrer opens his 2015 Abierto Mexicano Telcel campaign against Igor Sijsling and could meet compatriot Marcel Granollers in the second round. His projected quarterfinal opponent would be eighth seed Benjamin Becker, but a more interesting possibility might be either Adrian Mannarino – already twice a semifinalist in 2015 – or Bernard Tomic, Mannarino’s first-round opponent.
Grigor Dimitrov (3) – The shining star of the first six months of the year in 2014, when he won titles in Acapulco, Bucharest and Queen’s, world no. 10 Grigor Dimitrov hasn’t had a great start to 2015, reaching the semifinals of Brisbane but ousted in the fourth round of the Australian Open and the second round of Rotterdam by Gilles Muller.
Kevin Anderson (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Dimitrov begins his title defence against Filip Krajinovic, which should be little trouble for the talented Bulgarian, but could face Donald Young – a finalist in Delray Beach last week – in the second round. His projected quarterfinal opponent is Ivo Karlovic, which could be a stroke of luck: Karlovic might not have that much energy after winning the title in Delray Beach and there are no other players in Dimitrov’s quarter that should threaten him, although a semifinal against Ferrer would be a huge challenge.
Kevin Anderson (4) – The Abierto Mexicano Telcel was a happy hunting ground for big-serving Kevin Anderson on his debut in 2014, when he defeated Ferrer and Dolgopolov to reach the final before losing narrowly to Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.
A runner-up to Kei Nishikori in Memphis a few weeks ago, Anderson could meet the Japanese player again in the semifinals but he’ll have to contend with some tough opposition to get there, starting with the charismatic Dustin Brown in the first round. Talented Ivan Dodig or rising Steve Johnson could await in the second round and although Santiago Giraldo isn’t too intimidating as a quarterfinal opponent, he could be replaced by Sydney champion Viktor Troicki, who is continuing his own comeback.
The Abierto Mexicano Telcel begins in Acapulco on Monday 23 February and will be available to watch online.
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