Top seed, Daniil Medvedev opens his Rotterdam campaign on Wednesday when he faces last week's Montpellier finalist, Vasek Pospisil in the first round.
Daniil Medvedev vs Vasek Pospisil is live from Rotterdam from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT
Medvedev has steadily improved his results in Rotterdam in his last two visits, reaching the quarter finals in 2018 and the semi-finals last year- can he go a couple of steps further and claim the title in 2020?
After reaching a tour-leading nine finals last season, winning four titles, Medvedev will be keen to stamp his mark on 2020 early, as he attempts to build on an excellent 2019. Six of his 2019 finals came on the bounce between August and October, as the Russian compiled an incredible series of results to firmly establish himself as one of the best players in the world.
He claimed his first Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai within that spell, while he also made his first Grand Slam final, pushing Rafael Nadal hard in a five-set loss at the US Open. Medvedev’s other titles were in Sofia and St. Petersburg.
Despite not winning a title this year (and to be fair, he hasn’t had much opportunities to do so), the early signs are that this will be another successful campaign for the Russian. He had an impressive opening at the ATP Cup, winning five of his six singles matches as Russia reached the semi-finals. His only defeat was a three-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the last four. Medvedev then made the fourth round of the Australian Open where he was beaten in five sets by three-time major winner, Stan Wawrinka.
The world No. 5 held a two sets to one lead in that match, but ultimately succumbed to the immense firepower of Wawrinka, who produced some of his best tennis in those final two sets to take down the Russian. Medvedev joins a loaded field in Rotterdam this week, where he starts against the in-form Pospisil on Wednesday.
Pospisil is coming off a terrific week in Montpellier, where he took down Aljaz Bedene, Denis Shapovalov, Richard Gasquet and David Goffin before falling to Gael Monfils in the final. It was only his second career final, and his first since August 2014.
2014 was the year when Pospisil reached his career-high ranking of 25th, but he’s not been able to find that level in the last few years, finishing outside the top-100 in three of the last four seasons.
He underwent back surgery in January 2019 to correct a long-standing problem, missing the first six months of that season as a result. His inactivity inevitably dragged him down the rankings- he was at 248th in September- but he pulled himself up with a strong finish on the Challenger tour, winning titles in Las Vegas and Charlottesville to secure a top-150 finish to the season.
With Felix Auger-Aliassime injured for most of Canada’s Davis Cup campaign in Madrid, Pospisil stepped up big for his country, winning three of his four singles matches as Canada reached the final (lost to Spain).
A slow start to 2020 featured a second round loss in Auckland and an opening round exit at the Australian Open, but Pospisil surged back to form in Montpellier, finishing runner-up to Monfils.
Now up to 104th in the world, he would have had high hopes of backing up that performance with a decent run in Rotterdam, but he’s been dealt a big blow by an extremely unkind draw, which pits him against the tournament’s top seed, Medvedev in the first round.
Not that Pospisil cannot win- of course he can- but it will be very difficult for the Canadian. He will take plenty of encouragement from his only previous meeting with Medvedev, which ended 7-6 7-5 in the Russian’s favour in Shanghai last year.
Following his run in Montpellier, Pospisil should be feeling very confident and will take the attack to Medvedev, but the Rotterdam top seed is such a stubborn defender and a very hard man to break down. I think Medvedev will grind down Pospisil and get the win on Wednesday night.