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Monte-Carlo Monday Briefing

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Verdasco© AFP/Getty ImagesFernando Verdasco, the 2010 runner-up, is in action on Monday.

NINE MATCHES ON DAY TWO LED BY THREE SPANIARDS ON COURT CENTRAL

• First round play continues Monday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, with nine matches on the schedule, including three seeded players.

• Leading off the action on Court Central is the lone American in the singles draw, Donald Young, who makes his Monte-Carlo debut against French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu. Young has struggled in the first part of the season with a 2-8 match record. He’s looking to break a four-match opening round losing streak. Mathieu is coming back from a knee injury which sidelined him last year and he’s trying to improve on an 1-7 career mark in Monte-Carlo. His lone win came six years ago.

• In the second match on, No. 13 seed and 2010 finalist Fernando Verdasco takes a 2-0 career lead against top Belgian Olivier Rochus. Both players have reached an ATP World Tour final this season, Verdasco in Acapulco last month and Rochus in Auckland in January. Both lost to then-World No. 5 David Ferrer. Verdasco’s last match win in Monte-Carlo came two years ago when he defeated No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals before losing to Nadal. Rochus is 5-8 here and his best result is the third round in 2005 (l. to Nadal).

• In the third match, Frenchman Julien Benneteau and Spaniard Marcel Granollers meet for the first time. Benneteau is appearing in the tournament for the ninth time in 10 years and his best result is the second round three times (2003, ’07, ’10). In January he reached his sixth ATP World Tour final in Sydney (l.to Nieminen). Granollers has an 1-3 mark in Monte-Carlo and he’s off to a slow ’12 start (4-6).

• In the final match on, 21-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic, who reached the third round in his debut last year, opens his 2012 clay court campaign against Spaniard Albert Montanes for the first time. Raonic comes in with a 17-3 match record and two ATP World Tour titles this season. Montanes has been slowed by a back injury and the Barcelona resident enters with a 2-7 match record. Two years ago he reached the quarter-finals here (l. to Verdasco).

• There are four matches on Court Des Princes, including No. 15 seed Jurgen Melzer (vs. Lukasz Kubot) and No. 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov (vs. Juan Ignacio Chela). On Court 2, veterans Radek Stepanek and Jarkko Nieminen square off for the third time this year (tied 1-1) and eighth overall (Stepanek leads 4-3). The winner gets to take on No. 2 and seven-time champ Rafael Nadal.

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MONDAY FIRST ROUND FED EX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play by Court

Court Central

Donald Young (USA) vs (WC) Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)   First Meeting

YOUNG FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 22-year-old Atlanta resident is making his Monte-Carlo debut and he is the lone American in the singles draw

2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-8 (0-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 23, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 50

2012 in Review:
• The left-hander is looking to break a four-match opening round losing streak and he comes in with a 2-8 match record on the season…His last win came in February when he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in three sets in Memphis (l. to Isner 76 64)
• Last week opened clay campaign in Casablanca, losing in the first round to Benoit Paire in three sets… 
• In opening month of season, lost in first round to Alejandro Falla in three sets in Auckland and in second round to Lukas Lacko in four sets at Australian Open

MATHIEU FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 30-year-old wild card has an 1-7 match record and won his lone match in 2006 (d. Safin, l. to No. 9 Coria in three sets)
• His last appearance came two years ago, losing in the first round to Jurgen Melzer 63 62

2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 3-4 (1-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: January 12, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 352

2012 in Review:
• The Frenchman has a 3-4 match record on the season and last week he played his first ATP World Tour clay court tournament in Casablanca, losing in the second round (d. Ziadi,  l. to Garcia-Lopez)
• He is playing in his fifth tournament of the season and he’s gone from being unranked at the end of last year to No. 352…He was sidelined all of last season with a knee injury
• Returned at the end of January and reached second round in Montpellier (d. Stebe, l. to Nieminen) and in mid-February, posted his best win over No. 15 Feliciano Lopez (l. to Davydenko in three sets)

(13) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Olivier Rochus (BEL)    Verdasco Leads 2-0
05 Kitzbuhel (Austria) Clay R32 Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-3
08 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R64 Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-1  6-1

VERDASCO FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 28-year-old Madrid native is making his eighth straight appearance and owns a 6-7 career mark with his best result a runner-up two years ago when he lost to countryman Rafael Nadal 60 61…He defeated No. 2 Djokovic in the semi-finals…Also a quarter-finalist in ’09 (l. to No. 3 Djokovic)
• Last year lost in the opening round (after bye) to countryman Tommy Robredo

2012 Highlights:
F: Acapulco (l Ferrer); SF: Auckland (l Ferrer); QF: Sao Paulo (l Ramos)
YTD W-L: 10-7 (6-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 15, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 19

2012 in Review:
• The Spaniard enters with a 10-7 match record on the season, including a 6-3 mark on clay
• His best result came last month in Acapulco where he reached the final, losing to countryman and No. 5 David Ferrer 61 62…It was his 17th career ATP World Tour final (5-12)
• Also a semi-finalist in Auckland (l to Ferrer) in first outing of year and quarter-finalist in Sao Paulo in February, falling to Albert Ramos...Of his seven losses, four have come to fellow Spaniards
• Ranks as the No. 5 Spaniard behind No. 2 Nadal, No. 6 Ferrer, No. 12 Almagro and No. 16 Lopez

ROCHUS FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 31-year-old Belgian has a 5-8 record and his best result was the third round in 2005 (l. to Nadal)… Also lost in the second round  in 2006, ’08 and last year
• The lone Belgian in the draw since Steve Darcis lost in the last round of qualifying on Sunday (l. to Gil)

2012 Highlights:
F: Auckland (l Ferrer); QF: Memphis (l Raonic)
YTD W-L: 8-9 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: January 18, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 66

2012 in Review:
• The top Belgian at No. 66 comes into his first clay court tournament of the season with an 8-9 match record
• In January, he advanced to his 10th career ATP World Tour final (2-8) in Auckland (l. to Ferrer) and the following month advanced to the quarter-finals in Memphis (d. Bogomolov Jr., Harrison, l. to Raonic)
• In first Grand Slam tournament at Australian Open, lost in the second round to No. 7 Berdych
Julien Benneteau (FRA) vs Marcel Granollers (ESP)  First Meeting

BENNETEAU FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 30-year-old Frenchman has a 3-8 record and his best result is the second round  in his 2003 debut (d. Sluiter, l. to Robredo), 2007 (d. Balleret, l. to Ferrer) and in 2010 (d. Dolgopolov, l. to Verdasco)
• He is playing in the main draw for the ninth time in the past 10 years (except ’08)

2012 Highlights:
F: Sydney (l Nieminen); SF: San Jose (l Istomin)
YTD W-L: 10-8 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: December 20, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 31

2012 in Review:
• The French native enters his first ATP World Tour clay court tournament of the year with a 10-8 match record and in second tournament in Sydney advanced to his sixth career ATP World Tour final (0-6), falling to Jarkko Nieminen…Followed with third round at the Australian Open (l. to Nishikori in four sets)
• In February, made his debut in San Jose and defeated Ryan Sweeting 76 76, Gilles Muller 62 64 and Steve Darcis 36 61 62 before losing to Denis Istomin…Afterwards, reached a career-high No. 29
• Since then has struggled with 1-3 mark, falling in the third round (after bye, d. Becker, l. to No. 5 Ferrer) in Miami in last outing
• Prior to San Jose, played in Davis Cup first round tie vs. Canada in Vancouver and lost to Milos Raonic straight sets in second rubber but won doubles rubber (w/Llodra)

GRANOLLERS FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 26-year-old Spaniard has an 1-3 record and his lone win came in 2009 when he qualified and defeated Jose Acasuso before falling in the second round to David Nalbandian
• Last year lost in the first round to countryman Nicolas Almagro 63 63

2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-6 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: April 12, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 25

2012 in Review:
• The Barcelona native is looking to get on track as he enters with a 4-6 match record on the year (2-1 on clay)…Despite early struggles, is ranked No. 25 this week and reached career-high No. 23 on Feb. 20
• He is playing in his seventh tournament of the year, not winning back-to-back matches in first six events …Reached 3rd Rd. in Indian Wells (after bye, d. Haas, l. to Nadal) and 2nd Rd. at Australian Open (d. Levine, l. to Gil)
• In March, played in first round Davis Cup tie vs. Kazakhstan and won dead rubber (d. Golubev)…In last tournament in Miami, lost in opening round (after bye) to Lukas Rosol
Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Albert Montanes (ESP)   First Meeting

RAONIC FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 21-year-old Canadian is making his second straight appearance and last year defeated No. 25 Michael Llodra and No. 30 Ernests Gulbis before losing to No. 6 David Ferrer 61 63 in the third round 

2012 Highlights:
W: Chennai (d Tipsarevic); San Jose (d Istomin); F: Memphis (l Melzer)
YTD W-L: 17-3 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 2/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: December 27, 1990
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 24

2012 in Review:
• The top Canadian comes into his first clay court tourney with an outstanding 17-3 match record on the season and career-high No. 24 ranking (first on Feb. 27)…His best results were a pair of ATP World Tour titles in Chennai (d. Tipsarevic) in first week of campaign and San Jose (d. Istomin) on Feb. 19… Also runner-up for second straight year in Memphis (l. to Melzer)…His only pre-final losses came at Australian Open (l. to Hewitt in 3rd Rd.) and in Indian Wells (l. to No. 3 Federer in three sets in 3rd Rd)
• In last outing in Miami, sprained his ankle in a warm-up before doubles match, then retired in second round doubles match at 1-2 (w/Anderson) before withdrawing from  3rd Rd. (vs. No. 4 Murray)
• In San Jose, defended his title and held serve 41 of 42 games in four matches…In Memphis, was only broken once en route to the final before losing serve twice to Melzer in title match
• This year leads ATP World Tour in service games won (94%), 1st serve pts. won (83%) and break points saved (77%) while No. 2 in aces (324, behind Isner’s 353) and No. 5 in 2nd serve pts. won (58%)
• In opening week of season, held serve all 48 games, defeating No. 10 Almagro in the semi-finals and No. 9 Tipsarevic in the final (in three TBs)
• In first round Davis Cup tie in Vancouver vs. France, defeated Julien Benneteau and lost in doubles rubber…Withdrew from reverse singles on Sunday due to left knee pain
• Has a 2-1 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this season (5-9 in his career)

MONTANES FASTFACTS

Tournament Highlights:
• The 31-year-old Spaniard  comes in with a 7-5 career mark and his best result was the quarter-finals in 2010 when he lost to countryman Fernando Verdasco
• Also reached the third round in ’09, losing to No. 3 Novak Djokovic …Last year came in ranked No. 23 and lost in the second round to Gilles Simon

2012 Highlights:
QF: Vina del Mar (l Monaco)
YTD W-L: 2-7 (2-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 26, 1980
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 71

2012 in Review:
• The Barcelona resident looks to turn his season around as he comes in with a 2-7 match record on the season (2-5 on clay)
• His lone match wins came in Vina del Mar where he reached the quarter-finals with wins over  countryman Ramirez Hidalgo and Dutra Silva before falling to eventual champ Juan Monaco in three sets…Since then, has lost four opening round matches in a row without winning a set (retired in Buenos Aires and Acapulco with a back injury)
• In March, withdrew from Indian Wells and Miami and returned last week in Casablanca, losing in first round to Igor Andreev

Court des Princes
 
Lukasz Kubot (POL) vs (15) Jurgen Melzer (AUT) Melzer Leads 2-0
06 Vienna (Austria) Hard R16 Jurgen Melzer 6-4 3-6 6-1
10 Vienna (Austria) Hard R16 Jurgen Melzer 7-6(3)  7-6(2)
Other meeting:
01 Linz CH (Austria) Clay R32 Jurgen Melzer 6-1 6-2

Kubot FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Memphis (l Becker)
YTD W-L: 8-9 (1-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 16, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 51

Melzer FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Memphis (d Raonic); QF: Zagreb (l Berrer)
YTD W-L: 10-8 (0-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: May 22, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 29

Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs Denis Istomin (UZB)  Tomic Leads 1-0
12 Brisbane (Australia) Hard QF Bernard Tomic 6-3 7-6(4)

Tomic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Brisbane (l Murray); QF: Delray Beach (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 12-6 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 21, 1992
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 36

Istomin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: San Jose (l Raonic); SF: Sydney (l Nieminen); QF: Brisbane (l Tomic)
YTD W-L: 14-10 (1-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 7, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 43

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs (Q) Guillaume Rufin (FRA)  First Meeting

Kohlschreiber FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Auckland (l Rochus); Montpellier (l Berdych); QF: Delray Beach (l Sela)
YTD W-L: 14-7 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: October 16, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 34

Rufin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Montpellier (l Simon)
YTD W-L: 2-2 (0-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 26, 1990
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 162

Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) vs (16) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)  First Meeting

Chela FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Vina del Mar (l Berlocq)
YTD W-L: 6-7 (4-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: August 30, 1979
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 32

Dolgopolov FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Brisbane (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 10-8 (0-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: November 7, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 21

Court 2

Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)  Stepanek Leads 4-3
03 Marseille (France) Hard R32 Jarkko Nieminen 6-2 4-6 7-6(1)
03 Munich (Germany) Clay QF Jarkko Nieminen 6-1 6-1
06 ATP Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay R32 Radek Stepanek 6-4 7-6(5)
08 ATP Masters1000 Rome (Italy) Clay R64 Radek Stepanek 6-3 3-6 6-3
11 Washington (USA) Hard R16 Radek Stepanek 6-4 3-6 6-2
12 Brisbane (Australia) Hard R16 Radek Stepanek 7-6(3) 6-2
12 Sydney (Australia) Hard R16 Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(5) 5-7 6-1
Other meeting:
10 Prostejov CH (Czech Republic) Clay QF Radek Stepanek 7-5 6-4

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