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Wednesday Briefing - Memphis, Marseille, Buenos Aires

Roddick© Getty ImagesAndy Roddick is in Memphis action on Wednesday.

MEMPHIS WEDNESDAY PREVIEW – DEFENDING CHAMPION RODDICK, STEPANEK, RAONIC IN 1ST RD PLAY 

• It will be a busy Wednesday with nine first round matches on the schedule at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships with the reigning champion and two finalists on Stadium.

• In the opening match, former Top 10 Jurgen Melzer of Austria takes on Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan for the first time. Melzer enters with a 3-4 match record in Memphis and he reached the second round in 2004, ’07 and ’08., his last appearance at the Racquet Club. Istomin is coming off his second career ATP World Tour final showing in San Jose on Sunday (l. to Raonic). He climbed from No. 61 to No. 49 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. He is off to a 9-4 start and last season he didn’t win his ninth match until the last week in July.

• In the second match, qualifier Robby Ginepri takes on No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa for the second time. In their previous match, Anderson won 76 64 in the semi-finals of Las Vegas in March 2008. Ginepri is coming off an elbow injury in September 2010, which sidelined him for nine months, and he’s slowly working his way back into form. Last month he advanced to the final at the Honolulu Challenger and last week he lost in the second round in San Jose, losing to Ryan Harrison in a third set tie-break (held two match points). Anderson is looking for his first match win (0-2) in Memphis and the top South African was a quarter-finalist in San Jose last week (l. to eventual champ Raonic).

• In the third match, No. 3 seed and 2009 finalist Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic brings a 2-0 career mark against American qualifier Bobby Reynolds, who played collegiately at Vanderbilt. Stepanek is 9-4 lifetime in Memphis and last month he reached the quarter-finals in Brisbane and won his first Grand Slam doubles crown at the Australian Open (w/Paes). Reynolds is 2-1 on the season and he was a quarter-finalist in Sydney last month. He is ranked No. 117 this week.

• In the evening session, No. 2 seed and three-time Memphis champion Andy Roddick looks for his 10th win in as many meetings against Belgian Xavier Malisse. Roddick has been slowed by injuries in the early part of the season, retiring in the second round of the Australian Open (vs. Hewitt) with a right hamstring injury on Jan. 19. Last week in his second round win against Denis Kudla, he sprained his right ankle in the 10th game of the second set but went on to win in three sets before falling to Istomin in the quarter-finals. Roddick is 35-7 lifetime in Memphis and he won titles in 2002, ’09 and last year. Malisse, who won the doubles title last Sunday in San Jose (w/Knowles), is trying to win his first match (0-4) of the season. He owns a 10-8 mark in Memphis.

• In the final match, No. 4 seed and last year’s runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada enters with an 11-1 record on the season as he takes on Ernests Gulbis of Latvia for the secondt time. Last April Raonic won 64 75 in the second round of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo. Last Sunday Raonic defended his title in San Jose (d. Istomin) and became the first two-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season. In the first week of the season in Chennai, India, Raonic won the title without losing serve (held 48 games). Last week he held 41 of 42 service games. Gulbis is 2-2 on the season and he’s ranked No. 70. He was a semi-finalist here two years ago.

WEDNESDAY FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play by Court

Stadium

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs Denis Istomin (UZB)     First Meeting

Melzer FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Zagreb (l Berrer)
YTD W-L: 4-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: May 22, 1981
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 38

Istomin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: San Jose (l Raonic); SF: Sydney (l Nieminen); QF: Brisbane (l Tomic)
YTD W-L: 9-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 7, 1986
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 49

(Q) Robby Ginepri (USA) vs (7) Kevin Anderson (RSA) Anderson Leads 1-0
08 Las Vegas (U.S.A.) Hard SF Kevin Anderson 7-6(4) 6-4

Ginepri FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-1
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: October 7, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 218

Anderson FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: San Jose (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 4-3
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: May 18, 1986
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 36

(3) Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs (Q) Bobby Reynolds (USA) Stepanek Leads 2-0
08 San Jose (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Radek Stepanek 7-5 7-6(5)
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R64 Radek Stepanek 7-5 6-7(3)  6-2
Other Meeting:
08 Wroclaw CH (Poland) Hard R16 Radek Stepanek 6-4 7-6(5)

Stepanek FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Brisbane (l Dolgopolov)
YTD W-L: 4-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 27, 1978
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 28

Reynolds FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Sydney (l Nieminen)
YTD W-L: 2-1
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 17, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 117

Xavier Malisse (BEL) vs (2) Andy Roddick (USA) Roddick Leads 9-0
01 Atlanta (U.S.A.) Clay F Andy Roddick 6-2 6-4
02 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard SF Andy Roddick 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3
02 Los Angeles (U.S.A.) Hard QF Andy Roddick 6-4 6-4
02 Basel (Switzerland) Carpet R32 Andy Roddick 6-4 6-3
03 Indianapolis (U.S.A.) Hard QF Andy Roddick 6-4 6-1
03 ATP Masters 1000 Montreal (Canada)Hard R64 Andy Roddick 3-6 6-0 6-2
03 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Andy Roddick 6-3 6-4 7-6(5)
09 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R64 Andy Roddick 4-6 6-2 7-6(1)  6-2
10 Atlanta (USA) Hard QF Andy Roddick 4-6 6-3 6-4
Other Meeting:
00 Knoxville CH (USA) Hard SF Andy Roddick 6-4 3-2 ret

Malisse FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 0-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: July 19, 1980
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 75

Roddick FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: San Jose (l Istomin)
YTD W-L: 2-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 30
Date of Birth: August 30, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 27

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs (4) Milos Raonic (CAN) Raonic Leads 1-0
11 ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (Monaco) Clay R32 Milos Raonic 6-4 7-5

Gulbis FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: August 30, 1988
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 70

Raonic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Chennai (d Tipsarevic); San Jose (d Istomin)
YTD W-L: 11-1
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: December 27, 1990
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 35

Court 1

(Q) Jesse Levine (USA) vs Lukasz Kubot (POL)   Levine Leads 1-0
07 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard RR Jesse Levine 6-3 6-2

(5) Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) vs Olivier Rochus (BEL)  First Meeting

(6) Julien Benneteau (FRA) vs Philipp Petzschner (GER) Benneteau Leads 2-1
05 's-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) Grass R32 Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-3
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris  Hard R64 Julien Benneteau 4-6 7-5 6-3
10 Munich (Germany) Clay R32 Philipp Petzschner 3-6 6-3 6-3

Benjamin Becker (GER) vs Dudi Sela (ISR)   First ATP Meeting
Other meeting:
09 Ramat Hasharon CH (Israel) Hard QF Benjamin Becker 6-3 7-6(5)


MARSEILLE WEDNESDAY PREVIEW - TOP 10 STARS TSONGA & TIPSAREVIC OPEN ON DAY THREE

• Four Top 10 players in Marseille for the Open 13 and two of them will make their first appearances at the ATP World Tour 250 event on Wednesday, taking on talented opponents in their opening matches.

• First on Centre Court, though, is No. 6 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov against Czech Republic native Lukas Rosol, one of the last first round matches left to play. Dolgopolov went into the Australian Open ranked a career-high No. 13 but didn’t defend his quarter-final points from last year, falling third round, and now finds himself down at No. 18. He lost first round at Rotterdam last week and will try to get back on the winning track today. The No. 79-ranked Rosol has lost first round at his last three ATP World Tour events though and at four of five this year (he has one second round result this year and four first rounds). This is a first-time meeting.

• Next up is the only other first round left, France’s Michael Llodra and Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli. Llodra has really lifted his game in Marseille the last three years, making it to the final in 2009 (beating then-No. 8 Gilles Simon en route and finishing runner-up to Tsonga), winning the title in 2010 (beating then-No. 8 Robin Soderling along the way) and making the quarter-finals last year (lost to  No. 4 Soderling). Chiudinelli may be ranked No. 192 but he has been as high as No. 52 (two spots from where Llodra is now) and the Swiss has won their two ATP World Tour main draw meetings.

• Later in the afternoon, top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga takes on fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. After finishing 2011 with back-to-back finals at very big events – the ATP Masters 1000 stop in Paris and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Tsonga has started 2012 very strong, going 9-1 so far (and picking up his eighth career title in Doha). He has done  well in Marseille before, winning the title in 2009 (taking out Llodra) and reaching the quarter-finals or better the last two years. Mahut could be troublesome though - he has three Top 10 wins to his name and all of them came indoors or on grass (and one of them actually came right here in 2007 over No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic). Also, while Tsonga has won both of their ATP World Tour meetings, Mahut did push him to close three-setters in both matches.

• The night session starts with No. 3 seed Janko Tipsarevic against Belgian wild card David Goffin. Tipsarevic played very well indoors last fall, winning his first two ATP World Tour titles indoors, and with his two Davis Cup wins last week has now won 16 of his last 20 indoor matches. He will try to keep that momentum going as he begins his Open 13 campaign. Goffin seems like a mismatch in terms of ranking - No. 164 to Tipsarevic’s No. 9 - but in their only previous meeting the 21-year-old Belgian did push Tipsarevic to three sets, in the quarter-finals of Chennai in January (Tipsarevic won, 62 36 62).

• Last up is No. 7 seed Ivan Ljubicic against Slovakia’s Karol Beck. Both men are trying to work their way back up the rankings - Ljubicic is a former No. 3 now at No. 42, Beck is a former No. 36 now at No. 94. But while Ljubicic is ranked much higher and has also done better at Marseille in the past (he is a former finalist here while Beck has never been beyond the quarter-finals), their head-to-head is tight. Beck won their first meeting and while Ljubicic has won their last three meetings,all in three sets.

Wednesday FedEx ATP Head 2 Heads – In Order of Play by Court

Centre Court

(6) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) vs Lukas Rosol (CZE) First ATP Meeting
Other meeting:
06 France F17 (France) Hard R32 Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5 6-4

Dolgopolov FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Brisbane (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 6-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: November 7, 1988
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 18

Rosol FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-5
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 24, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 79

(Q) Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) vs Michael Llodra (FRA) Chiudinelli Leads 2-0
10 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R32 Marco Chiudinelli 6-1 6-7(5)  7-6(6)
10 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R32 Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 6-0
Other Meeting:
09 ATP Masters 1000 Canada Q  Hard -- Michael Llodra 5-7 7-6(1)  6-2
 
Chiudinelli FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 0-2
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 10, 1981
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 192

Llodra FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: May 18, 1980
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 50

(1)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Nicolas Mahut (FRA) Tied 1-1
08 ATP Masters Series Hamburg  Clay R64 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 0-6 7-6(5) 6-2
11 Metz (France) Hard QF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-3 7-5
Other Meetings:
01 France F15 (Bagneres-de-Bigorre) Hard SF Nicolas Mahut 6-2 6-2
03 France F8 (Melun) Clay R32 Nicolas Mahut 7-6(6) 6-2

Tsonga FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Doha (d Monfils)
YTD W-L: 9-1
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: April 17, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 6

Mahut FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Montpellier (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 5-4
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 21, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 84

(Q) David Goffin (BEL) vs (3) Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) Tipsarevic Leads 1-0
12 Chennai (India) Hard QF Janko Tipsarevic 6-2 3-6 6-2

Goffin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Chennai (l Tipsarevic)
YTD W-L: 3-1
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: December 7, 1990
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 164

Tipsarevic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Chennai (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 7-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: June 22, 1984
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 9

(7) Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) vs Karol Beck (SVK)  Ljubicic Leads 3-1
04 Milan (Italy) Carpet R32 Karol Beck 6-4 6-4
04 ATP Masters 1000 Toronto Hard R64 Ivan Ljubicic 6-2 5-7 6-3
05 Milan (Italy) Carpet QF Ivan Ljubicic 6-7(4) 6-0 6-2
12 Zagreb (Croatia) Hard R32 Ivan Ljubicic 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3

Ljubicic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: March 19, 1979
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 42

Beck FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 3, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 94

Court 1

Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs Flavio Cipolla (ITA)  Cipolla Leads 1-0
08 Estoril (Portugal) Clay R32 Flavio Cipolla 6-4 5-7 6-4
Other Meeting:
07 Rimini CH (Italy) Clay R16 Flavio Cipolla 6-3 6-2


BUENOS AIRES WEDNESDAY PREVIEW - WORLD NO. 5 FERRER HIGHLIGHTS PLAY ON DAY 3

• The current World No. 5 and a former World No. 5 on his farewell tour are all on the schedule today as the second round begins at the Copa Claro, an ATP World Tour 250 clay court event in Buenos Aires.

• First on Estadio Central is No. 6 seed Stanislas Wawrinka against France’s Benoit Paire. Wawrinka is always a strong contender on clay, two of his three ATP World Tour titles coming on this surface, as well as his only ATP Masters 1000 final (at Rome in 2008). He also reached the semi-finals in his only previous appearance at this event one year ago. After a straight-set first round win he now faces Paire, and if their only previous meeting is any indication, the No. 26-ranked Wawrinka is a big favorite against the World No. 98 - he beat him in the first round of this year’s Australian Open 61 61 75.

• Next is No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori against Romania’s Victor Hanescu. Nishikori is playing his first ATP World Tour event as a Top 20 player and had an impressive victory in his first round, beating 2003 French Open champion and former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero on Monday. Nishikori’s best results have come on faster surfaces but he has been to the quarter-finals or better once before on clay, at Houston last year (making it all the way to the final). Romanian veteran Hanescu has always favored clay, in fact all five of his career finals coming on this surface (and his four doubles finals too). This is a first-time meeting.

• The night session begins with top seed David Ferrer against Argentine wild card Facundo Bagnis. Ferrer has gotten off to a near-perfect start this year, going 9-1 (his only loss coming in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic), and the last time he played in Buenos Aires he made the final without losing a set (he eventually finished runner-up to Ferrero). The 21-year-old Bagnis earned his first ATP World Tour-level match win in the opening round here over No. 76-ranked Leonardo Mayer, but this will be a step up - it’s not only his first match against a Top 5 player, but his first against a Top 50 player.

• Last up is Spain’s Albert Ramos against Chilean wild card Fernando Gonzalez. Ramos is on the rise, coming off his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Sao Paulo and currently ranked a career-high No. 59. On the other side of the net will be the 31-year-old Gonzalez, who is playing his last few events before retiring after the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Gonzalez, a former World No. 5 and 2007 finalist at the Australian Open, is now at No. 263 after struggling with a right hip injury the last two years. Ramos won the pair’s only previous meeting, in 2010 before Gonzalez’s injury trials began.

Wednesday Second Round FedEx ATP Head 2 Heads – In Order of Play

Estadio Central – 

(6) Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs Benoit Paire (FRA) Wawrinka Leads 1-0
12 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R128 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1 6-1 7-5

Wawrinka FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Chennai (l Soeda)
YTD W-L: 4-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: March 28, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 26

Paire FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Rochus)
YTD W-L: 4-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 8, 1989
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 98
Victor Hanescu (ROU) vs (4) Kei Nishikori (JPN)  First Meeting

Hanescu FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 3-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: July 21, 1981
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 93

Nishikori FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Australian Open (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 7-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 29, 1989
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 17

(1)David Ferrer (ESP) vs (WC) Facundo Bagnis (ARG) First Meeting

Ferrer FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Auckland (d Rochus); QF: Australian Open (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 9-1
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 12
Date of Birth: April 2, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 5

Bagnis FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-0
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 27, 1990
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 162

(WC) Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) vs Albert Ramos (ESP) Ramos Leads 1-0
10 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R32 Albert Ramos 6-4 6-7(8) 6-3

Gonzalez FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: July 29, 1980
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 263

Ramos FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Sao Paulo (l Almagro); QF: Doha (l Tsonga)
YTD W-L: 5-5
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 17, 1988
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 59

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