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Estoril, Munich, Belgrade Final Briefing

del Potro© AFP/Getty ImagesJuan Martin del Potro plays Richard Gasquet in the Estoril Open final.

ESTORIL FINAL PREVIEW – TOP TWO SEEDS DEL POTRO, GASQUET MEET FOR FIFTH TIME

• The first No. 1 vs. 2 seed final in four years at the Estoril Open takes place Sunday with the top seed and defending champion meeting the No. 2 seed and 2007 finalist.

• Top seed and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro looks to become the third player in tournament history (since 1990) to win back-to-back titles in Estoril. The others are Albert Montanes (2009-10) and Thomas Muster (1995-96). The 23-year-old Argentine is trying to capture his second ATP World Tour title of the season. In February, he won his 10th career title in Marseille. He is 10-5 lifetime in tour level finals (3-0 on clay).

• No. 2 seed Richard Gasquet is attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the Estoril title in tournament history (since ’90). In fact Gasquet is the only Frenchman to reach the final here, five years ago when he lost to Novak Djokovic. This is Gasquet’s 15th career ATP World Tour final (6-8 mark) and his seventh final on clay (2-4). Gasquet’s last final was in July 2010 in Gstaad (l. to Almagro) and his  last title came in Nice in May 2010 (d. Verdasco).

• This is their fifth career meeting and del Potro holds a 3-1 lead (1-0 on clay). In their only clay and final meeting in Stuttgart in July 2008, del Potro won 64 75. In their last meeting in the quarter-finals of Marseille in February this year, del Potro prevailed 75 76(5) en route to his first career indoor title.

WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner   €71,900 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Runner-up  €37,860 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY
del Potro Appearing in his 16th career ATP World Tour level final…..10-5 in finals (3-0 on clay)
Gasquet Appearing in his 15th career ATP World Tour final………....6-8 in finals (2-4 on clay)

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play 

Central

(1) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs (2) Richard Gasquet (FRA) Del Potro Leads 3-1
07 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (USA)Hard R64 Richard Gasquet 7-6(2) 6-2
08 Stuttgart (Germany) Clay Final Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 7-5
08 Tokyo (Japan) Hard SF Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3 4-6 7-5
12 Marseille (France) Hard QF Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5 7-6(5)

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: 26-6 (5-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: September 23, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 12

• del Potro, 23, the reigning champion, has only dropped 15 games en route to the finals, defeating local player Rui Machado 61 60, No. 7 seed/two-time champion Albert Montanes 62 62 and No. 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka 76(4) 64… Has held serve 24 of 26 games (92%) and is No. 2 in return games won (12 of 25, 48%)
• The Tandil native is playing in his first clay court tournament of the season although he won two Davis Cup matches on clay in Buenos Aires in the quarter-finals vs. Croatia, defeating Karlovic and Cilic in straight sets…Enters 26-6 on the year and a quarter-finalist  or better in six of seven tournaments
• His best result was his 10th career title in Marseille (d. Llodra in final); four of six losses have come to Federer (Australian Open QFs, Rotterdam final, Dubai SFs, Indian Wells QFs)…10-5 in career finals
• Returned to Top 10 after Australian Open, his first time in the elite since returning from wrist injury lay-off in 2010; moved up to No. 9 coming in here after SF finish in Dubai (career-high is No. 4)…Has ranked in Top 10 for 11 of 14 weeks this year

Gasquet FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Sydney (l Istomin); Montpellier (l Kohlschreiber); Rotterdam (l Davydenko); Marseille (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 14-8 (3-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: June 18, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 18

• Gasquet, 25, is appearing in his second Estoril final and the last time he played here was in 2007 when he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic…The No. 4 Frenchman is playing in his ninth tournament of the year, the first on clay, and in his first ATP World Tour final…Has posted wins over Paolo Lorenzi 61 61 Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz De La Nava 76(1) 62 and No. 4 seed Albert Ramos 26 76(1) 75…Has held serve 28 of 33 games (85%)…Also has won 11 of 33 return games (33%)
• His previous best results were four quarter-finals -- at Sydney (l. to Istomin), Montpellier (l. to Kohlschreiber), Rotterdam (l. to Davydenko) and Marseille (l. to del Potro)…
• Also reached 4th Rd. at Australian Open (l. to Ferrer); lost opening matches in Dubai and Indian Wells before advancing to 4th Rd. in Miami (l. to Djokovic) in his last outing on March 27
• Has a 14-8 match record on the season and his best win came over No. 9 Tipsarevic in the third round at the Australian Open
• He’s appearing in his 15th career ATP World Tour final (6-8), first since Gstaad in July 2010 (l. to Almagro)…His last title came in Nice in May 2010 (d. Verdasco)…Has a 2-4 mark in finals on clay
• Other French winners on the ATP World Tour this season: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Doha) and Gilles Simon (Bucharest)…In Sunday’s Belgrade final, Benoit Paire is in the final

DOUBLES FINAL – TOP SEEDS QURESHI-ROJER TO FACE NO. 4  KNOWLE-MARRERO

• Top seeds Aisam-Ul Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of Curacao take on No. 4 seeds Julian Knowle of Austria and David Marrero in Sunday’s doubles championship. Both teams have lost two sets in three matches en route to the final.
• Qureshi and Rojer began playing together at the beginning of this year and they have an 8-9 match record. This is their first final together. Qureshi is 5-7 in his career in finals and Rojer is 5-8.
• Rojer won the title here last year (w/Butorac), defeating M. Lopez and Marrero.
• Knowle and Marrero are playing together for only the second time. They made their debut in Bucharest in September last year and reached the final. Knowle is13-16 in his career in finals and his last title came in Tokyo in October 2009 while Marrero is 4-4 and he won back-to-back titles earlier this year in Buenos Aires and Acapulco (w/Verdasco).

MUNICH FINAL PREVIEW - CILIC & KOHLSCHREIBER SQUARE OFF FOR MUNICH CROWN

• The final of the BMW Open will host a battle between two of the game’s most talented players, both playing in their first ATP World Tour final of the season and their second career final in Munich. Each finalist has been broken only once in three matches en route to the title match.

• No. 3 seed and top Croat Marin Cilic hadn’t been to a quarter-final all year, in fact he hadn’t even been the round of 16 all year, but this week in Munich the former Top 10 player has revived his game, making it all the way to his first ATP World Tour final since winning St. Petersburg last October. He has dropped just one set along the way as well, during a 63 67(6) 63 win over No. 6 seed Mikhail Youzhny (and he almost won that one in straight sets as well, holding a match point against the Russian in the second set tie-break). Cilic is playing his 13th ATP World Tour final (6-6 mark), third on clay (0-2) and second in Munich (he was runner-up to Youzhny two years ago). He’s looking to win an ATP World Tour title for the fifth consecutive year (since ’08).

• No. 4 seed and No. 2 German Philipp Kohlschreiber has also reached his first ATP World Tour final of the year, though he has had some strong finishes already this year - two semi-finals and one quarter-final. He also has dropped just one set all week, during his 62 67(4) 64 semi-final win over No. 2 seed Feliciano Lopez.  Kohlschreiber is playing in his sixth ATP World Tour final (3-2 mark) and second on clay (1-0). Kohlschreiber is playing in his second final in Munich (he beat Youzhny in ‘07).

• Kohlschreiber leads Cilic in their head-to-head series, 4-3, although they are tied 1-1 on clay. Cilic won here in Munich in 2009, but Kohlschreiber got revenge one week later in Madrid that year).

WHAT’S AT STAKE –
Winner:  € 71,900 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Runner-up:  € 37,860 and 150 South African Airways  ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY –
Cilic:   Appearing in his 13th ATP World Tour final……..He is 6-6 in finals (0-2 on clay)
Kohlschreiber: Appearing in his 6th ATP World Tour final……….He is 3-2 in finals (1-0 on clay)
 
ROAD TO THE FINAL
(3) Marin Cilic (CRO #24)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. Matthias Bachinger (GER #103)  63 62 (1:10)
QF: d. (6) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS #36)  63 67(6) 63 (2:45)
SF: d. (WC) Tommy Haas (GER #134)  63 64 (1:15)

(4) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER #34)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT #84)   75 63 (1:37)
QF: d. (Q) Marinko Matosevic (AUS #122)  60 76(5) (1:36)
SF: d. (2) Feliciano Lopez (ESP #16)  62 67(4) 64 (2:19)

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Centre Court

(3) Marin Cilic (CRO) vs (4) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)           Kohlschreiber Leads 4-3
07 Moscow (Russia) Hard R16 Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(8) 1-6 6-4
08 Auckland (New Zealand) Hard R16 Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4
09 Munich (Germany) Clay R16 Marin Cilic 6-0 6-4
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R32 Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-7(5)  7-6(2)
09 Vienna (Austria) Hard SF Marin Cilic 6-4 7-6(4)
10 Metz (France) Hard QF Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-1
11 CRO vs. GER WG 1st RD (Croatia) Hard RR Marin Cilic 6-2 6-3 7-6(6)

Cilic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 6-5 (5-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: September 28, 1988
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 24
 
• Cilic, 23, is making his second  final showing in five Munich visits after defeating Matthias Bachinger 63 62, No. 6 seed Mikhail Youzhny 63 67(6) 63 and Tommy Haas 63 64…Two years ago advanced to the final (l. to Youzhny) …Has held serve 33 of 34 games (97%) this week, saving seven of eight break points…Has broken opponents nine of 32 games (28%)…Owns a 13-4 career mark here
• The top Croat on the ATP World Tour is appearing in his first final since last October when he collected his sixth career title in St. Petersburg
• Made his first appearance of the season in Delray Beach (week of Feb. 27) after recovering from a left knee injury, which sidelined him for nearly two months…After 0-2 start, reached third round in Miami (bye, d. Kunitsyn, l. to No. 11 del Potro)
• Last month in Davis Cup quarter-finals in Buenos Aires, defeated Nalbandian in five sets in opening rubber, then lost to del Potro in straight sets in reverse rubber…In last tournament in Monte Carlo, defeated Simone Bolelli in first round (l. to Berdych)
• Has a 6-6 career record in ATP World Tour finals (0-2 on clay) and has won at least one title past four years (2008-11)

Kohlschreiber FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Auckland (l Rochus); Montpellier (l Berdych); QF: Delray Beach (l Sela)
YTD W-L: 18-8 (4-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: October 16, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 34

• Kohlschreiber, 28, the No. 2 German (behind No. 21 F. Mayer), is appearing in his second final in eight Munich showings…He captured the title in 2007 (d. Youzhny) and has a 16-6 career mark here
…This week has defeated Ernests Gulbis 75 63, qualifier Marinko Matosevic 60 76 and No. 2 Feliciano Lopez 62 67(4) 64, holding 34 of 35 service games (97%)…Leads in second serve pts. won (66%)
• The Augsburg native enters with an 18-8 match record on the season (4-1 on clay) and he’s playing in his first clay court tournament
• Since opening the year with a first round loss to No. 2 Nadal in Doha, has won at least one round in his next eight tournaments, including a pair of semi-finals in Auckland in January (l. to Rochus) and Montpellier in February (l. to Berdych)…Also a quarter-finalist in Delray Beach (l. to Sela) in March
• In first Grand Slam tournament at Australian Open, reached fourth round with wins over Monaco (in five sets), Riba and Falla before falling to del Potro in straight sets
• Has a 3-2 career mark in ATP World Tour finals (2-1 in Germany) and his last title came on home soil in Halle last June (d. countryman Petzschner)

GERMANS WINNERS IN MUNICH – Kohlschreiber is trying to become the first two-time German winner since the tournament has been held at the Iphitos Tennis Club in 1974. Here is a look at the past German winners:

Philipp Kohlschreiber (d. Youzhny) 2007
Michael Stich (d. Korda)  1994
Rolf Gehring (d. Freyss)  1980
Jurgen Fassbender (d. Jauffret)  1974

DOUBLES FINAL PREVIEW – TOP SEEDS CERMAK-POLASEK MEET BELGIAN DUO IN FINAL
• The top seeded duo of Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of the Slovak Republic meet the unseeded Belgian duo of Xavier Malisse and Dick Norman in Sunday’s final. All four players are trying to win their first title in Munich.
• Cermak and Polasek have a 42-22 career match record together (3-4 in finals) while Malisse-Norman are 11-4 as a duo (1-0 in finals). Both teams won their debut together – Cermak-Polasek in Belgrade last year, Malisse-Norman in Chennai in 2007.
• Cermak is 26-20 lifetime in finals, Polasek 8-10 while Malisse is 7-2 and Norman 4-2. Norman, 41, is trying to become the second 40-over winner this year. Mark Knowles, 40, won in San Jose in February.

BELGRADE FINAL PREVIEW - SEPPI & PAIRE MEET FOR FIRST TIME WITH BELGRADE TITLE ON THE LINE

• Italy’s No. 1 player will face a Frenchman looking for his first career title in the Serbia Open final on Sunday as No. 2 seed Andreas Seppi takes on first-time ATP World Tour finalist Benoit Paire.

• Seppi didn’t drop a set en route to the semi-finals this week, breaking a jinx along the way - he had lost his last seven quarter-final matches; and in the semi-finals the top Italian kept the achievements coming, rallying from a break down in the third set to beat No. 4 seed David Nalbandian, 26 62 75, and reach his first final since winning his first ATP World Tour title at Eastbourne last June. Seppi is playing his third ATP World Tour final (1-1 mark) and second on clay (0-1). Seppi is playing in Belgrade for the third time and he owns a 6-2 career mark.

•  Paire has had a breakthrough week already, reaching his maiden ATP World Tour final, but it hasn’t been easy by any means. The unseeded Frenchman has defeated three seeded players (No. 6 seed Fabio Fognini, No. 3 seed Jarkko Nieminen and No. 1 seed Pablo Andujar) and he has had to go to three sets in three of his four wins this week (winning two of those 7-5 in the third set).Before this week, Paire’s best career results were two quarter-finals earlier this year at Auckland and Casablanca.  Paire is playing in Belgrade for the first time (4-0) and he’s trying to become the first player this year to win his first career ATP World Tour title. Players trying to win their first title are 0-7 this season.

WHAT’S AT STAKE –
Winner:  € 66,250 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Runner-up:  € 34,890 and 150 South African Airways  ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY –
Paire:   Appearing in his 1st ATP World Tour final
Seppi:  Appearing in his 3rd ATP World Tour final……….He is 1-1 in finals (0-1 on clay)
 
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Benoit Paire (FRA #96)
1st Rd: d. (6) Fabio Fognini (ITA #48)   61 64 (1:01)
2nd Rd: d. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP #75)  46 75 75 (2:24)
QF: d. (3) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN #44)  06 62 75 (1:38)
SF: d. (1) Pablo Andujar (ESP #38)   63 16 63 (1:54)

(2) Andreas Seppi (ITA #46)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. Ivan Dodig (CRO #74)   64 62 (1:38)
QF: d. (8) Gilles Muller (LUX #62)   64 63 (1:08)
SF: d. (4) David Nalbandian (ARG #49)  26 62 75 (1:52)

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS –

Benoit Paire (FRA) vs (2) Andreas Seppi (ITA)  First Meeting

Paire FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Rochus); Casablanca (l Cipolla)
YTD W-L: 12-9 (9-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 8, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 96

• Paire, 22 (turns 23 on Tuesday), who is making his Belgrade debut this week and playing in his first career ATP World Tour final, has posted wins over No. 6 seed Fabio Fognini 61 64, Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 46 75 75 No. 3 Jarkko Nieminen 06 62 75 and top seed Pablo Andujar 63 16 63…Leads in aces (31) this week

• The young Frenchman is putting together his best season on the ATP World Tour with a 12-9 match record (9-5 on clay) and his previous best results were quarter-finals in Auckland in January (l. to Rochus) and Casablanca last month (l. to Cipolla)
• He is trying to become the first player to win his maiden ATP World Tour title this year and join Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Doha) and Gilles Simon (Bucharest) as French winners in 2012…Richard Gasquet is in the Estoril final on Sunday (vs. del Potro)
• At No. 96, he’s also looking to become the lowest-ranked winner on the ATP World Tour this season

Seppi FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Doha (l Federer); Rotterdam (l Berdych); Bucharest (l Fognini)
YTD W-L: 12-12 (6-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 21, 1984
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 46

• Seppi, 28, is making his first final appearance here after (a bye) and straight-set wins over Ivan Dodig 64 62 and No. 8 seed Gilles Muller 64 63 and a 26 62 75 victory over No. 4 David Nalbandian…Has held serve 27 of 32 games this week and saved seven of 12 break points
• The top Italian on the ATP World Tour enters his first final of the season with an 12-12 match record (6-2 on clay)…Last week he reached the quarter-finals in Bucharest (l. to Fognini),  in Doha in the opening week of the campaign and in Rotterdam in February
• He is making his third career ATP World Tour final showing (1-1)…Last June earned his first title in Eastbourne (d. Tipsarevic)…Also runner-up in Gstaad in July 2007 (l. to Mathieu) on clay

DOUBLES FINAL – NO. 3 SEEDS ERLICH-RAM MEET UNSEEDED EMMRICH-SILJESTROM IN FINAL

• The veteran Israeli duo of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram take on the unseeded duo of Martin Emmrich of Germany and Andreas Siljestrom of Sweden in Sunday’s final.
• Erlich and Ram are 14-13 in ATP World Tour level finals and last year they won titles in Eastbourne and Winston-Salem. They opened this season with a runner-up in Chennai. The Israeli squad has a 233-154 career match record together.
• Emmrich and Siljestrom came into Belgrade with a 2-9 career match record together on the ATP World Tour but they upset the No. 2 seeds Lipsaky and R. Ram in the semi-finals. Emmrich is playing in his first career ATP World Tour final and Siljestrom in his second final (’11 Bastad).
• Erlich is 16-14 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals while Ram is 18-18.

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