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Munich, Belgrade, Estoril Friday Briefing

MUNICH FRIDAY PREVIEW - LOPEZ & FOUR FORMER TOP 10 PLAYERS IN QUARTER-FINALS

• A Top 20 player and four players who have been in the Top 10 before - including a former World No. 2 on the comeback trail - are among a packed quarter-final line-up at the BMW Open on Friday. This is the first time two Aussies are in the quarters of an  ATP World Tour clay event since ’96 Coral Springs.

• The first quarter-final pits No. 3 seed Marin Cilic against No. 6 seed Mikhail Youzhny; there are a lot of similarities between the two players in this match-up, as both are former Top 10 players (Cilic has been as high as No. 9, Youzhny No. 8) and both have done well in Munich (Cilic was runner-up in 2010, Youzhny was the champion that year and a runner-up in 2007 and ‘09); but Youzhny has had the upper hand in the head-to-head, leading the overall series 5-2 and winning both clay court meetings, including the final here two years ago.

• Next up is German wild card Tommy Haas against No. 8 seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. Like in the first match of the day, both are former Top 10 players (Baghdatis has been as high as No. 8, Haas No.  2). They both have played well here before too (Baghdatis’ best results here are semi-finals in 2007 and ’10 while Haas’ best result was a runner-up finish in 2000). Haas is trying to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final since August 2009 in Los Angeles. Baghdatis is trying to reach his third semi-final of the year. He was a semi-finalist  in Sydney in January and Zagreb in February. Baghdatis won the pair’s only previous meeting, though that was way back in 2005 in Basel.

• Next is Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic and No. 4 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in a first-time meeting. Matosevic is making his debut  this week in a main draw ATP World Tour clay court tournament. In March he qualified and  burst into prominence by reaching his first ATP World Tour final in Delray Beach (l. to Anderson).  Kohlschreiber is playing in the quarter-finals here for the fifth time, having captured the title in 2007 and reached the quarters in 2006 and the last two years. The No. 2 German (behind Florian Mayer) is attempting to reach his third semi-final of the season (Auckland in January, Montpellier in February).

• Last up is No. 2 seed Feliciano Lopez against No. 5 seed Bernard Tomic, who won the previous meeting in the second round at the Australian Open last year. They were both in very different places back then - Lopez was ranked No. 31 and Tomic at No. 199; now Lopez is ranked No. 16 and Tomic is No. 33). This is the third time in 2012 Lopez has been to the quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour event, and all three have come on clay (he was a semi-finalist in Houston and a quarter-finalist last week in Barcelona). The 19-year-old Tomic is playing his first clay court quarter-final on the ATP World Tour.

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

Centre Court

(3) Marin Cilic (CRO) vs (6) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) Youzhny Leads 5-2
08 Chennai (India) Hard SF Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-3
08 Marseille (France) Hard 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 SF Marin Cilic 6-2 1-6 7-5
11 Hamburg (Germany) Clay QF Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 6-3 7-6(6)
11 St. Petersburg (Russia) Hard SF Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4

Cilic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-5 (3-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: September 28, 1988
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 24

Youzhny FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Zagreb (d Lacko); QF: Doha (l Nadal); Dubai (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 12-4 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: June 25, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 36

(WC) Tommy Haas (GER) vs (8) Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) Baghdatis Leads 1-0
05 Basel (Switzerland) Carpet R16 Marcos Baghdatis 6-2 6-3

Haas FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 6-4 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 12
Date of Birth: April 3, 1978
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 134

Baghdatis FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Sydney (l Benneteau); Zagreb (l Lacko); QF: Brisbane (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 17-9 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: June 17, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 39

(Q) Marinko Matosevic (AUS) vs (4) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)   First Meeting

Matosevic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Delray Beach (l Anderson)
YTD W-L: 8-5 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: August 8, 1985
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 122

Kohlschreiber FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Auckland (l Rochus); Montpellier (l Berdych); QF: Delray Beach (l Sela)
YTD W-L: 16-8 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: October 16, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 34

(5) Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (2) Feliciano Lopez (ESP) Tomic Leads 1-0
11 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R64 Bernard Tomic 7-6(4) 7-6(3) 6-3

Tomic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Brisbane (l Murray); QF: Delray Beach (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 16-8 (4-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 21, 1992
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 33
 
Lopez FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Houston (l Isner); QF: Barcelona (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 10-10 (5-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: September 20, 1981
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 16

BELGRADE FRIDAY PREVIEW - ANDUJAR HEADLINES QUARTER-FINAL ACTION IN BELGRADE

• There’s one second round match to finish but once that’s done it’s a blockbuster quarter-final line-up at the Serbia Open on Friday, with four (and potentially five) of the eight seeds playing in the final eight.

• In the first match on Centre Court, No. 3 Jarkko Nieminen leads Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic 5-3 in the first set (play was halted on Thursday). The 30-year-old Nieminen has had somewhat of a resurgence this year, starting at No. 77 but currently up at No. 44 - his best result was winning Sydney but he has also been to indoor quarter-finals at Montpellier and Rotterdam; now he will try to reach another quarter-final in his first appearance in Belgrade, and to get there he will face the 24-year-old Veic, who is trying to reach the second ATP World Tour quarter-final of his career (ranked No. 255 at the time, he made a surprise run to the Zagreb quarter-finals in 2009).

• In the first quarter-final, top seed Pablo Andujar of Spain takes on Czech Republic native Lukas Rosol for the second time. Andujar won their only previous meeting in Kitzbuehel last summer and it was on clay, although Rosol pushed him to three sets. Clay has been Andujar’s best surface (9-5 this year) and both of his ATP World Tour titles have come on this surface, in Casablanca, in 2011-12. The World No. 38 now faces the No. 79-ranked Rosol, who is in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final.

• Next up is France’s Benoit Paire against No. 3 seed Jarkko Nieminen or Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic; Nieminen and Veic’s second round match was stopped on Thursday and will be completed first thing today; all three players have been to ATP World Tour quarter-finals before (particularly Nieminen, who has done it three times at Grand Slams even); Nieminen and Veic are playing their first career meeting, and no matter who comes out the winner, Paire will be playing either player for the first time in the quarters.

• In the next match is No. 2 seed Andreas Seppi against No. 8 seed Gilles Muller; Seppi is in his fourth quarter-final of the year, having already gone this far at Doha, Rotterdam and just last week in Bucharest; he hasn’t been past the quarter-finals since winning Eastbourne last June though (he has gone 0-7 in his last seven quarter-finals); Muller is playing his first quarter-final since last September, when he reached the semi-finals of Metz; Seppi has won all of their previous meetings (two on the ATP World Tour, one at a Challenger).

• Last up is No. 4 seed David Nalbandian against Brazil’s Joao Souza. Former World No. 3 Nalbandian is playing in Belgrade for the first time and is now trying to reach his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year, having gone that far in front of his home crowd in Buenos Aires in February;. Fellow South American Souza is also playing in Belgrade for the first time and had to go through No. 7 seed Ryan Harrison to get to this round; these two will be playing each other for the first time

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

2nd RD – To Finish (Nieminen leads 5-3) –

(3) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs (Q) Antonio Veic (CRO)  First Meeting

Nieminen FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Sydney (d Benneteau); QF: Montpellier (l Monfils); Rotterdam (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 14-10 (3-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: July 23, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 44

Veic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-3 (1-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 18, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 127

(1) Pablo Andujar (ESP) vs Lukas Rosol (CZE)  Andujar Leads 1-0
11 Kitzbühel (Austria) Clay R32 Pablo Andujar 3-6 6-3 6-3

Andujar FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Casablanca (d Ramos); QF: Acapulco (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 13-10 (9-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: January 23, 1986
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 38
 
Rosol FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 8-10 (3-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 24, 1985
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 79

(3) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Benoit Paire (FRA)  First Meeting
OR
(Q) Antonio Veic (CRO) vs Benoit Paire (FRA)  First Meeting

Paire FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Rochus); Casablanca (l Cipolla)
YTD W-L: 10-9 (7-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 8, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 96

(8) Gilles Muller (LUX) vs (2) Andreas Seppi (ITA) Seppi Leads 2-0
07 ITA v. LUX EAGI 1st Rd PO (Italy) Hard RR Andreas Seppi 6-1  6-1    6-4
11 Basel (Switzerland) Hard R32 Andreas Seppi 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-2
Other meeting:
11 Bergamo CH (Italy) Hard F Andreas Seppi 3-6 6-3 6-4

Muller FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 7-8 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 9, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 62

Seppi FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Doha (l Federer); Rotterdam (l Berdych); Bucharest (l Fognini)
YTD W-L: 10-12 (4-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 21, 1984
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 46

Joao Souza (BRA) vs (4) David Nalbandian (ARG)  First Meeting

Souza FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Vina del Mar (l Chela)
YTD W-L: 5-6 (5-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 27, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 116

Nalbandian FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Buenos Aires (l Ferrer); QF: Sao Paulo (l Volandri); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 13-7 (7-4 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: January 1, 1982
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 49

ESTORIL FRIDAY PREVIEW – SIX OF TOP EIGHT SEEDS, LED BY DEL POTRO, GASQUET, IN QUARTER-FINALS

• The quarter-finals on Friday at the Estoril Open feature six of the top eight seeds, including the top four, a former two-time champion and Portuguese wild card.

• In the first men’s match on Central, qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava makes his debut in an ATP World Tour quarter-final against No. 2 seed Richard Gasquet of France. This is a first-time meeting. Coming into this week, the 30-year-old Spaniard had a career mark of 1-5 on the ATP World Tour. He is the lowest-ranked player remaining at No. 148. He has not dropped a set in five matches (three qualifying, two main draw). Gasquet is making his fifth ATP World Tour quarter-final showing of the year in his first clay court tournament and he reached the final here in his last visit in 2007 (l. to Djokovic).

• In the next match, top seed and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro takes on No. 7 seed and  2009-10 winner Albert Montanes of Spain. Montanes won the previous meeting six years ago in the first round of Acapulco. The 23-year-old del Potro came in here one year ago ranked No. 46 and he went through the draw dropping his only set, in the first round (vs. P. Sousa). He defeated No. 5 ranked Robin Soderling in the quarter-finals and No. 15 Fernando Verdasco in the final to earn his first ATP World Tour in Portugal. This year del Potro is off to a 24-6 start and this the Tandil native’s first clay court tournament of the season. His best result was a 10th career title in Marseille in February. He also was runner-up in Dubai. Montanes has a 15-4 career mark in Estoril and this is his fourth quarter-final. He’s trying to advance to his first semi-final of the season (QF in Vina del Mar in February).

• On Centralito, Portuguese wild card Joao Sousa makes his first quarter-final showing here against No. 4 seed Albert Ramos of Spain. Sousa has a 4-2  career mark in Estoril and he comes ranked a career-high No. 140 this week. He’s trying to become the second Portuguese player to reach the final in tournament history (Gil in 2010 was runner-up). Ramos is one of the most improved players on the ATP World Tour in the first four months of the season, jumping from No. 66 at the end of 2011 to No. 42 this week. He reached his first final in Casablanca last month (l. to Andujar) and has a 17-12 match record.

• In the next match on, No. 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland brings  a 3-0 career mark against No. 6 Robin Haase, the top player from the Netherlands. This is their first meeting on clay. Wawrinka is
14-7 on the season (10-4 on clay) and he’s trying to reach his third semi-final of the year. Haase is  appearing in his third ATP World Tour quarter-final in 2012, his second on clay.

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

Central

(Q) Daniel Munoz-De La Nava (ESP) vs (2) Richard Gasquet (FRA)   First Meeting

Munoz-De La Nava FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-0 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 29, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 148

Gasquet FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Sydney (l Istomin); Montpellier (l Kohlschreiber); Rotterdam (l Davydenko); Marseille (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 12-8 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: June 18, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 18

(1)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs (7) Albert Montanes (ESP) Montanes Leads 1-0
06 Acapulco (Mexico) Clay R32 Albert Montanes 6-2 5-3 ret

Del Potro FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Marseille (d Llodra); F: Rotterdam (l Federer); SF: Dubai (l Federer); QF: Sydney (l Baghdatis); Australian Open (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 24-6 (3-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: September 23, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 12

Montanes FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Vina del Mar (l Monaco)
YTD W-L: 7-9 (7-7 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 26, 1980
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 69

Centralito

(WC) Joao Sousa (POR) vs (4) Albert Ramos (ESP) First ATP Meeting
Other meetings:
09 Seville Q (Spain) Clay -- Albert Ramos 6-7(5)6-2 6-2
10 Seville CH (Spain) Clay QF Albert Ramos 5-7 6-3 6-0

Sousa FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-1 (3-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: March 30, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 140 (Career-high)

Ramos FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Casablanca (l Andujar); SF: Sao Paulo (l Almagro); QF: Doha (l Tsonga)
YTD W-L: 17-12 (12-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 17, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 42

(3) Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs (6) Robin Haase (NED) Wawrinka Leads 3-0
10 Stockholm (Sweden) Hard R16 Stanislas Wawrinka 7-5 6-7(6)6-4
11 Chennai (India) Hard QF Stanislas Wawrinka 3-6 6-3 6-3
11 Basel (Switzerland) Hard R16 Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6 6-1 6-2

Wawrinka FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Buenos Aires (l Almagro); Acapulco (l Verdasco); QF: Chennai (l Soeda); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 14-7 (10-4 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: March 28, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 22

Haase FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Zagreb (l Lacko); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 12-9 (6-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: April 6, 1987 
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 43
 

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