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Friday Briefing - Casablanca, Houston

CASABLANCA FRIDAY PREVIEW - PACKED SCHEDULE AFTER RAINY THURSDAY
• Two residual second round matches and all four quarter-finals are on the schedule Friday at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, the only ATP World Tour stop on the African continent.

• First on Court Central is a second round match that was originally scheduled for Thursday that was pushed to Friday due to rain, No. 3 seed Pablo Andujar against Italy’s Potito Starace. Andujar has had a somewhat difficult start to the season, going 6-8, and he has also struggled against today’s opponent, with Starace leading their ATP World Tour-level head-to-head, 2-1 (and 5-1 if their Challenger meetings are included). But one big thing going for the Spaniard is his record in Casablanca - he won his first ATP World Tour title here a year ago, his only attempt here (and in the final he scored a 61 62 rout against Starace, his only win over the Italian).

• Next up is Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez against Russia’s Igor Andreev, an all-unseeded quarter-final. They’ve both taken out seeded players to reach the last eight, Garcia-Lopez beating No. 8 seed Fabio Fognini in the first round and Andreev taking out No. 4 seed Denis Istomin in the second round. Andreev may be ranked 20 spots lower (No. 100 to No. 80) but the Russian has won both of the pair’s previous meetings, both on clay (though they both went to three sets).

• Next is another quarter-final match, No. 7 seed Albert Ramos against France’s Jeremy Chardy. Both men won their first two matches of the week in straight sets, with Chardy’s path particularly impressive - he ousted the tournament’s top seed, Florian Mayer, by a routine 63 61 scoreline in the second round (his second Top 20 win of the year - he beat Kei Nishikori in Acapulco). Both are in the quarter-finals here for the first time and will be playing each other for the first time.

• Last up on Court Central is another quarter-final, as yet undetermined, however. It will pit the winners of the two 10am matches against each other (the aforementioned Andujar and Starace match from Court Central against the Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol and Lamine Ouahab match from Court 2). The winner from the Gutierrez-Ferrol and Ouahab match will be playing in their first ATP World Tour quarter-final (Gutierrez-Ferrol didn’t even have an ATP-level win before this week).

FRIDAY FED EX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play by Court

Court Central

Second Round –
Potito Starace (ITA) vs (3) Pablo Andujar (ESP) Starace Leads 2-1
07 Valencia (Spain) Clay R16 Potito Starace 6-4 1-6 6-3
11 Santiago (Chile) Clay R16 Potito Starace 6-4 6-1
11 Casablanca (Morocco) Clay F Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2
Other meetings:
08 Napoli CH (Italy) Clay SF Potito Starace 6-4 6-1
09 San Marino CH (San Marino) Clay R32 Potito Starace 6-3 6-2
10 Genova CH (Italy) Clay QF Potito Starace 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2

Starace FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-9
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 14, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 83

Andujar FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Acapulco (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 6-8
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: January 23, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 58

Quarter-final –
Igor Andreev (RUS) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) Andreev Leads 2-0
05 Sopot (Poland) Clay R32 Igor Andreev 6-2 6-7(4) 6-2
08 Gstaad (Switzerland) Clay SF Igor Andreev 7-6(2) 5-7 7-6(5)

Andreev FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Buenos Aires (l Almagro)
YTD W-L: 7-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: July 14, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 100

Garcia-Lopez FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Verdasco)
YTD W-L: 9-7
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: June 4, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 80

Quarter-final –
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs (7) Albert Ramos (ESP) First Meeting

Chardy FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Vina del Mar (l Monaco); QF: Acapulco (l Wawrinka)
YTD W-L: 8-6
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 12, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 64

Ramos FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Sao Paulo (l Almagro); QF: Doha (l Tsonga)
YTD W-L: 12-9
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 17, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 52

POTENTIAL QUARTER-FINAL –
 
Ahmed Ouadane (ALG) vs Potito Starace (ITA)    First Meeting

Ahmed Ouadane (ALG) vs Pablo Andujar (ESP)   First Meeting

Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol (ESP) vs Potito Starace (ITA)   First Meeting

Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol (ESP) vs Pablo Andujar (ESP)  First ATP Meeting
Other Meeting:
09 Napoli-2 CH (Italy) Clay R32 Pablo Andujar 6-0 6-3

Court 2

Second Round –
(Q) Lamine Ouahab (ALG) vs (Q) Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol (ESP)  First Meeting

Ouahab FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-0
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: December 22, 1984
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 752

Gutierrez-Ferrol FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-0
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: March 5, 1989
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 544

Quarter-final –
Benoit Paire (FRA) vs Flavio Cipolla (ITA)  Paire Leads 1-0
11 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R128 Benoit Paire 6-1 7-5 6-1

Paire FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Rochus)
YTD W-L: 7-7
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 8, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 102

Cipolla FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 7-8
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 20, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 85

HOUSTON FRIDAY PREVIEW – FIVE SEEDS, DEFENDING CHAMP, TEENAGER, LOCAL RESIDENT IN QUARTERS
• The quarter-finals at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships on Friday feature five of the top eight seeds, the defending champion, a teenager and Houston resident. There are two all-American quarter-final matches and it ensures there will be two American semi-finalists, marking the third time that has happened since the tournament moved to the River Oaks Country Club in 2008.

• In the first match of the day on Center Court, No. 4 seed and wild card entry Juan Monaco of Argentina takes on No. 5 seed and wild card Kevin Anderson of South Africa for the first time. Monaco is making his third ATP World Tour appearance in Houston, the first in five years when he reached the quarter-finals. The 28-year-old Argentine comes in with a 13-5 match record on the season, highlighted by his fourth career ATP World Tour title title in Vina del Mar and semi-finals at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami where he defeated Andy Roddick and No. 8 Mardy Fish before losing to eventual champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Anderson is making his second career quarter-final showing on clay (’11 Estoril) and overall his third this season. Last month he earned his second career ATP World Tour title in Delray Beach (d. Matosevic).

• In the second match, qualifier and Houston resident Michael Russell squares off with American teenager Ryan Harrison for the second time on the ATP World Tour. Harrison won the previous meeting in straight sets in Los Angeles last July. Both players are appearing in their first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on clay. The 33-year-old Russell posted his first career Top 10 win over No. 9 Mardy Fish on Thursday (1-12). The 19-year-old Harrison is appearing in his fifth career ATP World Tour quarter-final (3-1 mark) and he’s the youngest player to reach the quarters in Houston since Andy Roddick (19) won the title in 2002. Harrison has been a member of the U.S. Davis Cup squad in the first two rounds in wins over Switzerland and France.

• In the evening session, No. 2 seed and World No. 10 John Isner takes a 5-0 season mark on clay against reigning champion Ryan Sweeting, who is making his ATP World Tour quarter-final since winning the title one year ago. Isner won the previous meeting in straight sets in the second round of Delray Beach on Feb. 29. The 26-year-old Tampa resident is coming off an impressive Davis Cup effort last weekend in Monte-Carlo where he lifted the U.S. to a 3-2 victory over France with a pair of wins over No. 13 Gilles Simon and World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Isner only lost serve once in both matches and for the season he’s only been broken twice in five matches on clay. He also defeated World No. 3 Roger Federer in the first round Davis Cup tie in Switzerland and No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells last month. Isner comes in with an 18-6 match record on the year and last year he didn’t win his 18th match until mid-July in Atlanta. Sweeting is looking for his first career Top 10 win (0-7) and in January he stretched No. 5 David Ferrer to five sets in the second round at the Australian Open. This is his first Top 10 match on clay. He comes in ranked No. 143 after his winner’s points dropped off on Monday.

• In the final match on, No. 6 Carlos Berlocq of Argentina plays No. 3 seed and wild card Feliciano Lopez for the second time. Lopez squeezed out a 67 76 64 win in Stuttgart in July 2007. Berlocq enters his fifth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season with a 15-8 match record, including 12-4 on clay. He has already surpassed both marks from last season. The 28-year-old Argentine came in with an 0-3 career mark in Houston before posting wins over James Blake and Bjorn Phau. Lopez is appearing in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. The Madrid native, who is making his Houston debut this week, is 6-7 on the year and this is his first tournament on clay.

• Quarter-finalists Breakdown – In Draw Order
2012      2012
ATP Rank W-L (on clay) ATP Rank  W-L (on clay)
136 Russell 4-4 (2-0) 37 Berlocq 15-8 (12-4)
65  Harrison 12-9 (3-2) 15 Lopez 6-7 (1-0)

16  Monaco 13-5 (8-2) 143 Sweeting 7-8 (2-0)
33  Anderson 13-6 (2-0) 10  Isner 18-6 (5-0)

FRIDAY QUARTER-FINALS FEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Center Court

(3-WC) Juan Monaco (ARG) vs (5-WC) Kevin Anderson (RSA) First Meeting

Monaco FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Vina del Mar (d Berlocq); SF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 13-5 (8-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: March 29, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 16

• Monaco, 28, the No. 2 Argentine (behind No. 11 del Potro), is trying to reach his third semi-final of the season…He captured his fourth career ATP World Tour title in Vina del Mar (d. countryman Berlocq) on Feb. 5…It was his first ATP title since Kitzbuehel in summer of 2007…In his last tournament at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami, he reached the semi-finals with wins over Roddick and Fish (l. to eventual champion Djokovic)
• Played in first round Davis Cup tie vs. Germany and defeated Philipp Petzschner in straight sets in opening rubber and last Sunday defeated Croatia’s Antonio Veic 61 61 in dead rubber as Argentina advanced to the semi-finals in September (vs. Czech Republic)
• The Tandil native is playing in Houston for the first time in five years when he reached the quarters here (l. to Blake in third set TB)…Has a 13-5 match record on the season (8-2 on clay)

Anderson FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Delray Beach (d Matosevic); QF: San Jose (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 13-6 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: May 18, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 33

• Anderson, 25, is appearing in his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season and second career on clay (’11 Estoril) and enters with a 13-6 match record (2-0 on clay)
• The 25-year-old South African is 3-2 in Houston, reaching the second round two years ago as a qualifier (l. to Gonzalez) and first round in 2009 (l. to Odesnik)
• Last month he captured his second career ATP World Tour title in Delray Beach, defeating Aussie qualifier Marinko Matosevic…En route, defeated Andy Roddick (saving three match points) in the quarter-finals and top seed John Isner in the semi-finals
• In February, he advanced to the quarter-finals in San Jose, falling to eventual champion Milos Raonic

(Q) Michael Russell (USA) vs Ryan Harrison (USA) Harrison Leads 1-0
11 Los Angeles (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Ryan Harrison 6-3 6-4
Other meetings:
09 Yuba City CH (U.S.A.). Hard R32 Michael Russell 3-6 6-4 7-5
11 Brisbane Q (Australia) Hard -- Ryan Harrison 4-0 ret
11 Honolulu CH (USA) Hard SF Ryan Harrison 2-6 6-3 6-3

Russell FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-4 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 1, 1978
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 136

• Russell , 33 (turns 34 on May 1), is the oldest player in the draw and he’s appearing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on clay and first on home soil here after posting wins over Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 26 75 61, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set (but rallied to win 10 of last 11 games) and World No. 9/top seed Mardy Fish 63 61 for first career Top 10 win (1-12)
• The Houston resident comes in with a 4-4 match record on the season and this is his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since February last year in Memphis…He is looking to reach his first career semi-final
• Prior to this week his best result came in the opening week of the season in New Caledonia Challenger where he reached the quarter-finals

Harrison FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: San Jose (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 12-9 (3-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 7, 1992
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 65

• Harrison , 19 (turns 20 on May 7), is the youngest player in the draw and he’s appearing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on clay and fifth overall (3-1in QF matches)
• After a slow start (1-3) in first month of season, made Davis Cup debut in Switzerland and won dead rubber (d. Lammer) in U.S. 5-0 first round victory…Then advanced to semi-finals in San Jose (l. to eventual champ Raonic) and second round in Memphis (d. Sock, l. to Rochus)
• The Austin resident comes in with a 12-9 match record on the season (3-2 on clay)… In March, reached fourth round at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Simon) for second straight year and followed with second round in Miami (l. to Federer)…His last four losses have come to Top 20 opponents…Last weekend played his first live Davis Cup match in Monte-Carlo vs. France’s No. 6 Tsonga and lost in four sets and then fell to No. 13 Simon in dead rubber

Ryan Sweeting (USA) vs (2) John Isner (USA) Isner Leads 1-0
12 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard R16 John Isner 6-3 6-4

Sweeting FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 7-8 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: July 14, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 143

• Sweeting , 24, is back in the quarter-finals here for the second straight year after posting straight-set wins over Brazilian qualifier Ricardo Mello 63 76 and countryman Bobby Reynolds 63 62…Last year came in ranked No. 93 as a wild card and beat No. 20 Querrey (2R), Karlovic (SF) and Nishikori (F) and afterwards climbed to No. 67…Went 4-13 rest of year…Reached a career-high No. 64 on Sept. 12
• The Ft. Lauderdale resident enters with a 7-8 match record on the season in his first clay court tournament and he’s looking for his first career Top 10 win (0-7)…This is the first time he’s won back-to-back matches on the ATP World Tour since winning the title here last year
• He reached the second round in Sydney, Australian Open (l. to No. 5 Ferrer in five sets), Memphis, Delray Beach and Indian Wells…Last week reached the quarter-finals in Tallahassee Ch. (l. to Ram)
• Working with good friend Robert Kendrick and they played doubles here (lost in first round)

Isner FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); SF: Delray Beach (l Anderson); QF: Memphis (l Melzer)
YTD W-L: 18-6 (5-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 10

• Isner , 26, is appearing in his third quarter-final at River Oaks in his fifth straight appearance (4-4 mark)…Reached quarters in 2009 (l. to Odesnik) and last year (l. to Karlovic), both in third set tie-breaks…Also lost in third set TB to Malisse two years ago…Has a 4-7 career TB record here and on Thursday opened with 67 64 62 win over qualifier Horacio Zeballos, firing 16 aces
• Last weekend he lifted the U.S. into the Davis Cup semi-finals (vs. Spain) with wins over Frenchmen No. 13 Gilles Simon and No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Monte-Carlo Country Club…In February, beat No. 3 Roger Federer in first round tie in Switzerland
• The No. 2 American (15 pts. behind No. 9 Fish) is 18-6 on the season (5-0 on clay) and last year he didn’t win his 18th match until Atlanta in July…Also went 4-7 on clay last season…Will become the top American next week if he reaches the final on Sunday
• Last month advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells, defeating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals before losing to Federer…Afterwards, broke into the Top 10 for the first time on Mar. 19...Has a 3-1 mark vs. Top 10 opponents and last two years was 2-12 combined
• This season is No. 2 in aces (305, behind Raonic 324), No. 6 in service games won (88%) and No. 8 in second serve points won (55%)

(6) Carlos Berlocq (ARG) vs (3-WC) Feliciano Lopez (ESP) Lopez Leads 1-0
07 Stuttgart (Germany) Clay R32 Feliciano Lopez 6-7(5) 7-6(7) 6-4

Berlocq FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Vina del Mar (l Monaco); QF: Sao Paulo (l Almagro); Buenos Aires (l Nalbandian); Acapulco (l Giraldo)
YTD W-L: 15-8 (12-4 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 3, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 37

• Berlocq, 28, is one of the most improved players on the ATP World Tour in the first quarter of the season, climbing from No. 60 at the end of last season to No. 37 this week, highlighted by a 15-8 match record (12-4 on clay)…Last year was 14-23, including 9-14 on clay and his best result was QF in Umag
• In first seven tournaments, put together a career-best mark of winning at least one round before falling in first round in Miami to Bjorn Phau last month…Prior to this week, was 0-3 in Houston
• This season he reached his first ATP World Tour final in Vina del Mar (l. to countryman Monaco) and advanced to the quarter-finals in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Acapulco, all on clay…His best win came over No. 12 Gilles Simon in 2R of Buenos Aires in February (also beat Frenchman, No. 13, in 1R of Acapulco following week)
• One of five Argentines in the Top 50 – No. 11 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 16 Juan Monaco, No. 32 Juan Ignacio Chela, No. 37 Berlocq, No. 49 David Nalbandian

Lopez FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 6-7 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: September 20, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 15

• Lopez, 30, is appearing in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season in his clay court tournament debut…In Houston debut on Wednesday, defeated Italian Paolo Lorenzi 64 76
• The Madrid native has a 6-7 match record on the season and his best result was the fourth round at the Australian Open where he defeated Leonardo Mayer, Flavio Cipolla and No. 17 John Isner (in five sets) before losing to countryman No. 2 Rafael Nadal in straight sets…Then went 2-5 in next five events
• Has not played on Spain’s Davis Cup team in first two ties but last year was member of winning squad (d. Fish 8-6 in fifth set in QF tie in Austin) and also played doubles in 1R, SF and F ties
• One of five Spaniards in the Top 20, an ATP World Tour-best:
No. 2 Rafael Nadal
No. 6 David Ferrer
No. 12 Nicolas Almagro
No. 15 Feliciano Lopez
No. 19 Fernando Verdasco

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