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Saturday Briefing - St. Petersburg, Vienna

del Potro© e|motion/zolles.comJuan Martin del Potro faces Kevin Anderson in the Vienna semi-finals.

VIENNA SATURDAY PREVIEW – TOP TWO SEEDS JOINED BY NO. 6 SEED, QUALIFIER IN SEMI-FINALS
The top two seeds, the No. 6 seed and a qualifier are in Saturday’s semi-finals at the Erste Bank Open and all four players are attempting to capture their first title in Vienna. In fact, the foursome are in their first semi-final.
  
In the first singles match on Centre Court, No. 6 seed and top South African Kevin Anderson takes on No. 2 seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina for the second time. Del Potro won the previous meeting in the quarter-finals in Delray Beach in February en route to the title. The 25-year-old Anderson is making his first appearance in Vienna this week and he’s yet to drop a set in three matches. Anderson is playing in his third semi-final of the season, the first since February when he captured his first ATP World Tour title in Johannesburg. The 23-year-old del Potro, who is in his sixth semi-final of the season, is getting closer to his Top 10 form of two years ago after coming back from a wrist injury last year. The Argentine has climbed back from No. 484 in February to No. 15 this week and has won a pair of ATP World Tour titles.

In the second match, top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France meets German qualifier Daniel Brands for the second time. They previously met in the first round at Roland Garros last year and Tsonga prevailed in five sets. Tsonga, who is playing here for the first time, holds the eighth and final spot for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Last month he earned his sixth career ATP World Tour title in Metz. Brands is appearing in his second career ATP World Tour semi-final (’09 Munich). Coming into this week the German was ranked No. 182 with a 1-10 match record. Thus far he’s won three qualifying and three main draw matches. He’s also dropped only one set, that coming in the first round.

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BATTLE FOR LONDON -- There are three spots remaining for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  Del Potro will move to No. 11 in the race if he reaches the final. Here are the updated 2011 ranking points leaders going into action on Saturday:       Bold indicates qualified
                                  2011 Points
1 Novak Djokovic       13,295   9 Nicolas Almagro        2,370   
2 Rafael Nadal           9,500   10 Janko Tipsarevic        2,245 (add 60 pts. with SF win in St. Pete)
3 Andy Murray           7,200   11 Gilles Simon              2,155
4 Roger Federer        5,185   12 Juan Martin del Potro  2,120 (add 60 pts. with SF win)
5 David Ferrer           4,300   13 Robin Soderling          2,080
6 Tomas Berdych          2,940   14 Gael Monfils               1,925
7 Mardy Fish                2,875   15 Alexandr Dolgopolov   1,835
8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     2,790   16 Andy Roddick             1,680   

SATURDAY SEMI-FINALS FEDEX HEAD 2 HEADS  - In Order of Play

Centre Court

(6) Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs (2) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) del Potro Leads 1-0
11 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard QF Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-4

Anderson FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Johannesburg (d Devvarman); SF: Brisbane (l Roddick); QF: Delray Beach (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic); Estoril (l Verdasco); Atlanta (l Muller); Beijing (l Cilic); Stockholm (l Monfils)
YTD W-L: 40-24 (31-15 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: May 18, 1986
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 32

• Anderson, 25, made a successful tournament debut on Monday with a 64 64 win over last year’s runner-up Andreas Haider-Maurer and he followed up with a 62 76(5) win over Marcos Baghdatis and 63 63 victory over two-time defending champion Jurgen Melzer
• The top South African comes in with a 40-24 match record on the season (31-15 on hard courts) and he’s advanced to the semi-finals or better three times, the last coming in February when he captured his first ATP World Tour title in Johannesburg (d. Devvarman)…He reached a career-high No. 30 on Oct. 10 and is No. 32 this week
• On Feb. 6, he captured his first career ATP World Tour title in his hometown of Johannesburg (d. Devvarman in three sets) and afterwards jumped from No. 59 to No. 40
• He opened the season with a semi-final in Brisbane (l. to No. 8 Roddick) and then lost back-to-back first round matches in Auckland (l. to Hanescu) and Australian Open (l. to Kavcic)
• In March, he reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final in Miami (l. to Djokovic)
• His best win came over No. 4 Andy Murray in the second round of ATP Masters 1000 Montreal in August

Del Potro FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Delray Beach (d Tipsarevic); Estoril (d Verdasco); SF: San Jose (l Verdasco); Memphis (l Roddick); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Nadal); QF: Los Angeles (l Gulbis)
YTD W-L: 44-14 (29-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 9
Date of Birth: September 23, 1988
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 15

• del Potro, 23, enters his sixth semi-final of the season with a 44-14 match record (29-11 on hard) and he won his opening round match Wednesday over ’08 Vienna champion Philipp Petzschner 63 64 and over Tommy Haas 62 64…He’s also in the doubles semi-finals (w/Stepanek)….This is the Argentine’s first  showing in Vienna  since 2008 when he reached the 2nd Rd. (withdrew due to left foot injury)
• He is trying to earn one of the three remaining spots for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next month…Stands No. 12 in ATP year-to-date rankings and he’s 670 points behind No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
• He’s trying to reach his 13th career final (9-3 mark) and his last final/title came on May 1 in Estoril…In
February, he captured title in Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic)
• Last week he lost in the opening round (after bye) to James Blake in Stockholm…It’s his only  opening round loss in 18 tournaments this year
• Last month he led his native country to the Davis Cup final (vs. Spain) with a pair of wins in SF tie in Serbia, defeating Tipsarevic and No. 1 Djokovic, who retired in the second set with a back injury…Prior to that, he reached the third round at the US Open (l. to Simon)
• The Argentine is rapidly improving and getting back to his Top 10 form after being sidelined for more than eight months last year with a right wrist injury… He ranked a season-low No. 484 on Feb. 7  before making his climb back into the Top 20 at No. 19 on July 4 after reaching the 4th Rd. at Wimbledon (l. to Nadal)
• In February, he reached back-to-back semi-finals in San Jose  (l. to No. 9 Verdasco)  and Memphis (l. to No. 8 Roddick) before winning his eighth career title in Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic)…It was his first final since the ’09 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London (l. to Davydenko) and first title since the ’09 US Open (d. Federer in five sets)
 
(1)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (Q) Daniel Brands (GER) Tsonga Leads 1-0
10 Roland Garros (France) Clay R128 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-3 6-2  6-7(2) 7-5

Tsonga FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Metz (d Ljubicic); F: Rotterdam (l Soderling); London / Queen's Club (l Murray); SF: Doha (l Federer); Wimbledon (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Montreal (l Djokovic); Beijing (l Berdych); QF: Marseille (l Youzhny); US Open (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 46-20 (29-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: April 17, 1985
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 9

• Tsonga, 26, the top Frenchman on the ATP World Tour, enters his eighth semi-final or better with a 46-20 match record, 29-11 on hard…He moved back into the Top 10 on Sept. 12 after reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open (l. to Federer)
• He made his Vienna debut on Thursday, coming back to defeat Jarkko Nieminen 36 61 3-1 ret. and on Friday rallied to beat Xavier Malisse 46 76(4) 64 in the quarter-finals
• He enters his eighth semi-final or better with a 46-20 match record, 29-11 on hard…He moved back into the Top 10 on Sept. 12 after reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open (l. to Federer)
• In his last tournament two weeks ago at ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai, he lost in his opening round (after a bye) to Kei Nishikori in three sets…The previous week, he reached his seventh semi-final of the season in Beijing where he lost to eventual champion Tomas Berdych
• Last month (on Sept. 25), he captured his sixth career ATP World Tour title in Metz (d. Ljubicic) in his third final of the season…Has a 6-3 career mark in finals
• He’s trying to secure one of the remaining four spots in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London…He holds the No. 8 and final spot coming into this week
• His other season-best results are a pair of runner-up showings in Rotterdam on Feb. 13 (l. No. 4 Soderling) and at the Queen’s Club in London (l. to Murray) in June
• In July at Wimbledon he advanced to the semi-finals (d. No. 6 Ferrer, No. 3 Federer in SF from 0-2 sets down, l. to Djokovic)…In next outing at ATP Masters 1000 Montreal, reached semi-finals (l. to Djokovic)
• Played in Davis Cup semi-final Sept. 16-18 vs. Spain and lost to Nadal in fourth rubber (won doubles)
• He began the year with a semi-final in Doha (l. to No. 2 Federer) and followed with a third round at the Australian Open (l. to Dolgopolov in five sets)
• Then in Rotterdam, he defeated Dimitrov, Llodra, walkover vs. No. 7 Berdych, and No. 15 Ljubicic before falling to Soderling…Followed with quarter-final in Marseille (l. to Youzhny)

Brands FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-10 (4-4 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 17, 1987
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 182

• Brands, 24, is appearing in his second career ATP World Tour semi-final…In May 2009, was a semi-finalist in Munich (l. to Youzhny)
• He qualified into the main draw and then defeated Austrian wild card Martin Fischer 67 62 76, No. 4 seed Radek Stepanek 64 76 and Belgian Steve Darcis 63 64…It’s his first main draw win since February in Zagreb (d. Karlovic)…The lone qualifier to reach a final this year was Frenchman Julien Benneteau in Winston-Salem in August  (l. to Isner)
• He has a 4-10 match record on the season and this is the German’s second appearance in three years in Vienna…In 2009, he defeated Robert Kendrick (l. to Cilic)
• This season his best results have come in Challengers (13-8 mark), winning title in Oberstaufen in July (d. A. Beck) and runner-up in Heilbronn in January (l. to Knittel), both in Germany
• He reached a career-high No. 66 on July 5, 2010 and enters this week No. 182…Will jump to around No. 149 thus far and around No. 129 if he reaches the final
• Has a 2-2 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents, defeating No. 7 Simon in ’09 Hamburg and No. 5 Davydenko at Wimbledon last year

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS

Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)   First Meeting

Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Daniel Brands (GER)    First Meeting

Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)  Del Potro Leads 3-0
07 New Haven (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Juan Martin Del Potro  3-6 6-3 6-4
08 Tennis Masters Cup (China) Hard RR Juan Martin Del Potro  7-6(4) 7-6(5)
09 Roland Garros (France) Clay R16 Juan Martin Del Potro  6-1 6-7(5)  6-1 6-4

Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs Daniel Brands (GER)    First Meeting   

ST. PETERSBURG SATURDAY PREVIEW - TWO FORMER TOP 10 STARS, NO. 2 SEED HIGHLIGHT SEMI-FINALS
Two former Top 10 players and the No. 2 seed are featured in Saturday’s semi-finals at the St. Petersburg Open, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

The first semi-final pits No. 2 seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia against No. 7 seed Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the U.S. Tipsarevic recently captured his first two ATP World Tour titles at Kuala Lumpur and Moscow and he is No. 10 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings. If he goes on to win the title he will rise to No. 9 on Monday. He is also still in with a shot at qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with three spots up for grabs. (at No. 10).  While the 27-year-old Serb is blooming late in his career, so is 28-year-old Bogomolov Jr., who reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Los Angeles in July and has now repeated the feat three months later. He will try to reach his first ATP World Tour final and although he is the lower-ranked player, he does have a few tricks up his sleeve. He did win the pair’s only previous meeting (in 2004) and does have three Top 10 wins to his name, including two this year, over Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The second semi-final pits No. 4 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia against No. 5 seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Youzhny won the title here in 2004 and he’s the last native champion. Both are former Top 10 players - Cilic has spent 11 career weeks in the Top 10 (including eight weeks at a career-high No. 9) while Youzhny has spent 26 career weeks in the Top 10 (including six weeks at a career-high No. 8). They are now ranked No. 22 and No. 33, respectively, and the top players in their country. They are fighting hard to work their way back up the rankings. Only one of them can go one step further and if their head-to-head is anything to go by, Youzhny might have the edge - he has won five of their six previous meetings, and the Russian has also had a phenomenal history at this tournament with a 27-8 record, reaching the final three times.

Youzhny has reached the same amount of finals as the other semi-finalists combined (17, going 7-10). Cilic is 5-6 in finals, Tipsarevic is 2-4 and Bogomolov Jr. has never played in an ATP World Tour final.

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BATTLE FOR LONDON -- There are three spots remaining for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  Del Potro will move to No. 11 in the race if he reaches the final. Here are the updated 2011 ranking points leaders going into action on Saturday:       Bold indicates qualified
                                  2011 Points
1 Novak Djokovic       13,295   9 Nicolas Almagro        2,370   
2 Rafael Nadal           9,500   10 Janko Tipsarevic        2,245 (add 60 pts. with SF win)
3 Andy Murray           7,200   11 Gilles Simon              2,155
4 Roger Federer        5,185   12 Juan Martin del Potro  2,120 (add 60 pts. with SF win in Vienna)
5 David Ferrer           4,300   13 Robin Soderling          2,080
6 Tomas Berdych          2,940   14 Gael Monfils               1,925
7 Mardy Fish                2,875   15 Alexandr Dolgopolov   1,835
8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     2,790   16 Andy Roddick             1,680   

 
SATURDAY SEMI-FINALS FEDEX HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Centre Court

(7) Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs (2) Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) Bogomolov Leads 1-0
04 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R64 Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3 3-6 7-6(2)
Other Meeting:
02 Mexico F2 (Campeche) Hard R32 Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(4) 7-6(9) 6-0

Bogomolov Jr. FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
SF: Los Angeles (l Gulbis); QF: Zagreb (l Garcia-Lopez); s-Hertogenbosch (l Malisse); Newport (l Isner); Moscow (l Troicki)
YTD W-L: 25-18 (19-13 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 23, 1983
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 36 (Career-high)

• Bogomolov Jr., 28, is one of the most improved players on the ATP World Tour, jumping from No. 166 at the end of last year to a career-high No. 36 this week…In past four years (2007-10), had three tour level match wins and this year is a career-best 25-18 on the season (19-13 on hard courts)
• He is appearing in the semi-finals for the second time…In late July, he was semi-finalist in Los Angeles  (d. Bellucci, l. to Gulbis) and a quarter-finalist in Zagreb, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Newport and Moscow last week (l. to Troicki)…He also captured his first ATP World Tour doubles title in Atlanta in July (w/Ebden)
• In his debut in St. Petersburg this week, has dropped only one set, in second round vs. Kohlschreiber (64 36 75)…Opened with 63 61 win over Igor Kunitsyn and in QFs, defeated Dusan Lajovic 62 61
• He posted the biggest win of his career over No. 5 Andy Murray in the second round in Miami in March and in August defeated No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Cincinnati…He is 3-10 lifetime against Top 10 opponents…His other Top 20 win came over No. 20 Juan Ignacio Chela at Wimbledon en route to a Grand Slam-best 3rd Rd. (l. to No. 7 Berdych)…At US Open, he also reached 3rd Rd. (l. to Isner)

Tipsarevic FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Kuala Lumpur (d Baghdatis); Moscow (d Troicki); F: Delray Beach (l Del Potro); Eastbourne (l Seppi); SF: Chennai (l Malisse); Belgrade (W/O vs Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Montreal (l Fish); QF: Washington (l Monfils); US Open (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 51-22 (39-15 on hard)
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: June 22, 1984
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 13 (Career-high)

• Tipsarevic, 27, the No. 2 Serb (behind No. 1 Djokovic), comes in with a career-best 51-22 match record (39-15 on hard) on the season and he’s reached a career-high four ATP World Tour finals (2-2)
• Last week he captured his second ATP World Tour title in four weeks in Moscow (d. Troicki) and afterwards moved from No. 13 to No. 10 in the ATP year-to-date rankings...Will go to No. 9 if he wins the title on Sunday… There are three spots left for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London
• He is one of three Serbians in the Top 20 (No. 17 Troicki) at No. 13 after reaching a  career-high No. 13, first achieved on Sept. 12  after US Open quarter-final
• He is making his fourth appearance in St. Petersburg (7-3 mark) and his previous best results were the quarter-finals in 2008 and last year
• On Oct. 2, he captured his first career ATP World Tour title in Kuala Lumpur (d. Baghdatis) in his 148th career tournament  (in fifth final)…He improved his ranking from No. 17 to No. 13
• He finished runner-up in Delray Beach (l. to del Potro) in February and Eastbourne (l. to Seppi) in June…Also a semi-finalist three times, at Chennai (l. to Malisse), Belgrade (w/o vs Djokovic) and Montreal (l. to Fish) and first Grand Slam QF at US Open
• He helped his country to Davis Cup semi-finals (l. to Argentina) after winning last year’s Cup (d. France)

50 MATCH WINS CLUB – Tipsarevic is tied for No. 4 on the ATP World Tour this season with 51 match wins:
                             W-L   Titles
1) Rafael Nadal       66-13    3
2) Novak Djokovic  64-3     10
3) Andy Murray      54-11    5
4) David Ferrer       51-15    2
Janko Tipsarevic     51-22    2
 
(5) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs (4) Marin Cilic (CRO) Youzhny Leads 5-1
08 Chennai (India) Hard SF Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-3
08 Marseille (France) Hard (I) R32 Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 7-6(3)
09 ATP Masters 1000 Montreal (Canada)Hard R64 Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 7-6(4) 6-1
10 Munich (Germany) Clay F Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 4-6 6-4
11 Marseille (France) Hard (I) SF Marin Cilic 6-2 1-6 7-5
11 Hamburg (Germany) Clay QF Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 6-3 7-6(6)

Youzhny FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
SF: Marseille (l Cilic); Hamburg (l Simon); Gstaad (l Granollers); QF: Rotterdam (l Soderling); Beijing (l Ljubicic)
YTD W-L: 27-21 (14-10 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: June 25, 1982
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 33

• Youzhny, 29, is appearing in his fourth semi-final of the season, his first since July 30 in Gstaad…His other semi-finals were in Hamburg in July and in Marseille in February (l. to Cilic)
• The top Russian  has brought some of his best tennis to St. Petersburg over the years and owns a 27-8 career record,  winning the title in 2004 (d. K. Beck) and reaching the final in 2002 (l. to Grosjean) and last year (l. to Kukushkin)…He is the last Russian to win the title
• In September, lifted his country to a 3-2 Davis Cup World Group playoff win over Brazil by winning both of his matches, including a 14-12 in the fifth battle over Thomaz Bellucci in fourth rubber
• Has a 27-21 match record on the season (14-10 on hard) and looking to reach his 18th career ATP World Tour final (7-10)…Has won at least one title the past four years from 2007-10
• His best Grand Slam result was the fourth round at Wimbledon (l. to Federer in four sets)

Cilic FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
F: Marseille (l Soderling); Umag (l Dolgopolov); Beijing (l Berdych); QF: Zagreb (l Mayer); Rotterdam (l Troicki); Munich (l Davydenko); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal); London / Queen's Club (W/O vs Murray); Hamburg (l Youzhny)
YTD W-L: 41-20 (26-12 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: September 28, 1988
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 22

• Cilic, 23, is making his fourth ATP World Tour semi-final showing of the season and in the previous three, went on to reach the final…He is trying to reach his 12th career ATP World Tour final (5-6)… His last title came in Zagreb in February 2010…He’s won at least one title from 2008-10
• He was runner-up in Beijing (l. to Berdych) on Oct. 9 and in Marseille (l. to Soderling) in February and Umag (l. to Dolgopolov) in July in addition to six other quarter-finals (Zagreb, Rotterdam, Munich, Rome, Queen’s Club, Hamburg)
• Has a 6-3 career mark in St. Petersburg and he was a semi-finalist four years ago (l. to Verdasco)
• The top Croat at No. 22 enters with a 41-20 match record on the season (26-12 on hard courts)… He reached a career-high No. 9 (set February 22, 2010); has spent 11 career weeks in Top 10, all coming consecutively between February 1 and April 18, 2010 (peaked at No. 9 for eight weeks)

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS

Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)  First Meeting

Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs Marin Cilic (CRO)   First Meeting

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