Ricky preview and pick for this week’s ATP 250 tournament in Winston-Salem

Holland’s Botic van de Zandschulp is Ricky’s pick at Winston-Salem this week. EPA-EFE/JASON O’BRIEN

By Ricky Dimon

The US Open is only a week away. Yes, just like that, the 2022 Grand Slam season is almost over. Rafael Nadal has already been seen training at the Arthur Ashe Stadium as he tries to win three of the four major tournaments of the year. Novak Djokovic is in a race against time as he hopes to be allowed to enter the United States.

Before we can fully focus on the New York festivities, however, there is still one preparatory tournament. A field of 48 players are taking part in this week’s Winston-Salem Open, where Grigor Dimitrov, Botic van de Zandschulp, Holger Rune, Maxime Cressy and Emil Ruusuvuori are among the top seeds.

Winston Salem Open

Points: 250
Prize money: $731,935
First in the series: Grigor Dimitrov
reigning champion: Ilya Ivashka

First of all, draws for smaller 250-point tournaments in the weeks directly preceding a Grand Slam don’t mean much. Just about anything can happen; these are the hardest weeks of the year to predict. Unexpected results are sure to happen, so it doesn’t matter if you run into the top seed or the lowest-ranked player in the early rounds. The most motivated players are the ones who generally do well…but there aren’t many of them. Most guys are eager to get to New York to prepare and rest before the US Open.

That being said, Van de Zandschulp has a big draw at Winston-Salem. The Dutchman should also be inspired, as at 24th in the rankings he is one of the best players to never win an ATP title. A very open event offers him one of his best opportunities. Van de Zandschulp is unlikely to have any problems reaching the semi-finals, in which case he could meet Cressy or Ruusuvuori.

Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria in action. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

The top half of the bracket is much deeper, featuring Dimitrov, Rune, Lorenzo Musetti, Jack Draper and defending champion Ilya Ivashka. Dimitrov’s road is tough, perhaps starting with Dominic Thiem before featuring Draper in the third round, Ivashka in the quarterfinals and Rune or Musetti in the semis. The eighth in the Ivashka draw also includes 2021 finalist Mikael Ymer and Sebastian Baez, who is in the midst of a breakout 2022 campaign.

Quarter-final picks: Ilya Ivashka in front of Jack Draper, David Goffin in front of Lorenzo Musetti, Emil Ruusuvuori in front of Maxime Cressy and Botic van de Zandschulp in front of Denis Kudla

Semi-finals: Goffin on Ivashka and Van de Zandschulp on Ruusuvuori

Final: Van de Zandschulp on Goffin

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also runs its own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.

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