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Nice, Dusseldorf Thursday Briefing

Isner© Yohan Brandt/Open de Nice Côte d’AzurTop seed John Isner plays Nikolay Davydenko in the Nice quarter-finals.

NICE THURSDAY PREVIEW - TOP THREE SEEDS, QUALIFIER BAKER LEAD QUARTER-FINAL LINE-UP
• The quarter-finals on Thursday at the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur feature the top three seeds and two qualifiers, including one who reached the Roland Garros junior final nine years ago and is playing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final.

• The first single match on Centre Court is Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci against No. 2 seed Gilles Simon, who has won both previous meetings.Bellucci is appearing in his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season, the first since February when he advanced to the semi-finals in Sao Paulo (l. to Volandri). Simon is appearing in his sixth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season and he’s 4-1 in QF matches. The Nice native captured his 10th career ATP World Tour title in Bucharest last month.

• In the next match, top seed John Isner squares off with former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia for the fifth time (tied 2-2). Isner is appearing in his fifth quarter-final of the season and he’s reached two finals, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells and Houston. He is 9-3 on clay this season. Davydenko is trying to reach his second semi-final of the season. He was a semi-finalist in Rotterdam in February.

• In the next match on, Belgian Steve Darcis looks for his first win (0-2) against No. 3 seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Almagro won in the 2009 US Open and 2010 Roland Garros in their previous meetings. This is the second quarter-final of the season for Darcis, who reached the quarters in San Jose. Almagro is appearing in his seventh ATP World Tour quarter-final or better this season. He is 3-3 in quarter-final matches, highlighted by his 11th career title in Sao Paulo and runner-up in Buenos Aires.

• In the evening match, American qualifier Brian Baker makes his ATP World Tour quarter-final debut against Mikhail Kukushkin. The 27-year-old Baker, who was sidelined for six years after undergoing five surgeries, came in ranked No. 216 this week. He defeated No. 13-ranked Gael Monfils on Wednesday for his second career Top 20 win (d. No. 9 Gaudio in ’05 US Open). He will move to around No. 177 (career-high No. 172) and around No. 157 if he reaches the semi-fiinals. Kukushkin is appearing in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season.

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

Centre Court

(Q) Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) vs (2) Gilles Simon (FRA) Simon Leads 2-0
09 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Gilles Simon 6-3 6-2 6-4
11 ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo Clay R64 Gilles Simon 6-3 6-2

Bellucci FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Sao Paulo (l Volandri)
YTD W-L: 12-10 (8-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: December 30, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 70

Simon FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Bucharest (d Fognini); SF(3): Brisbane (l Dolgopolov); Montpellier (l Monfils); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Nadal); QF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 26-12 (15-7 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 12

(1)John Isner (USA) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Tied 2-2
08 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard R64 Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 7-6(3)
08 Poertschach (Austria) Clay R16 Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-7(6) 6-3
10 Beijing (China) Hard QF John Isner 7-6(2) 6-4
12 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R64 John Isner 2-6 6-3 6-4

Isner FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F(2): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); Houston (l Monaco); SF: Delray Beach (l Anderson); QF: Memphis (l Melzer)
YTD W-L: 22-9 (9-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 11

Davydenko FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Rotterdam (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 11-10 (3-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 21
Date of Birth: June 2, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 53 OR 48

Steve Darcis (BEL) vs (3) Nicolas Almagro (ESP) Almagro Leads 2-0
09 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R128 Nicolas Almagro 6-2 6-4 2-6 7-6(8)
10 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-0 7-5

Darcis FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: San Jose (l Benneteau)
YTD W-L: 9-7 (3-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: March 13, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 61

Almagro FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Sao Paulo (d Volandri); F: Buenos Aires (l Ferrer); SF: Chennai (l Raonic); QF(3): Auckland (l Kohlschreiber); Acapulco (l Verdasco); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 31-11 (21-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 14

(Q) Brian Baker (USA) vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) First Meeting

Baker FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 2-0 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 30, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 216

Kukushkin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 8-7 (5-4 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 26, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 55


DUSSELDORF THURSDAY PREVIEW –UNBEATEN GERMANY-SERBIA, ARGENTINA-CZECH REPUBLIC MEET
• Host Germany and Serbia square off and Argentina and the Czech Republic meet in important ties on Thursday at the Power Horse World Team Cup.

• Leading off the Blue Group on Centre Court I is Serbia’s Viktor Troicki against German Florian Mayer, who has won three of the previous four meetings in their head-to-head. Troicki comes in with a 13-13 match record on the season (5-6 on clay) while Mayer is 7-12 (4-8 on clay). Both players have performed well here. Troicki has a 7-4 career mark and Mayer is 7-3.

• In the next match on in Red Group play, World No. 7 Tomas Berdych looks for his second win in as many meetings against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina. Berdych is putting together one of his most consistent seasons on the ATP World Tour with a 30-8 match record, including 13-3 on clay. Last week he reached the quarter-finals in Rome. He is 14-4 lifetime in Duesseldorf. Berlocq is putting together a career-best season with an 18-12 match record (15-8 on clay). He is 2-0 this week in his Dusseldorf debut. Berlcoq advanced to his first career ATP World Tour final in Vina del Mar (l. to Monaco).

• In the third match on, former No. 1 American Andy Roddick takes on Japan’s Go Soeda for the first time. Roddick is playing in his first tournament since Miami in March and he’s also playing in his first clay court event of the year. Soeda is ranked No. 61, just two spots off his career-best on April 30. Soeda has compiled a 22-4 mark in Challenger play with three titles. He is 4-6 in ATP World Tour level play. Soeda is one of three Japanese players ranked in the Top 70 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

• On Centre Court 2, American Ryan Harrison plays Tatsuma Ito for the first time and Russian Igor Kunitsyn looks for his second win in as many meetings against Croat Ivan Dodig.

CENTRE COURT 1 –

Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Florian Mayer (GER) Mayer Leads 3-1
10 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R64 Florian Mayer 4-6 6-4 7-6(2) 6-1
11 Sydney (Australia) Hard SF Viktor Troicki 6-4 7-6(4)
11 ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (Spain) Clay R64 Florian Mayer 4-6 7-5 6-4
11 World Team Chp. (Duesseldorf) Clay RR Florian Mayer 6-2 6-2

Troicki FastFacts:
2012 Highlights: 

QF: Doha (l Monfils); Rotterdam (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 13-13 (5-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 10, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 31

- Fourth Tournament Appearance (2009-10-11) in Duesseldorf (7-4 record)

Mayer FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 7-12 (4-8 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: October 5, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 28

- Fourth Tournament Appearance (2005, ’07, ’11-12) in Duesseldorf (7-3 record)
 
Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Carlos Berlocq (ARG) Berdych Leads 1-0
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R32 Tomas Berdych 7-6(8) 7-5

Berdych FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Montpellier (d Monfils); F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); SF (2): Rotterdam (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic); QF(3): Australian Open (l Nadal); Dubai (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 30-8 (13-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7

- Sixth Tournament Appearance (2005-08, ’10, ‘12) in Duesseldorf (14-4 record)

Berlocq FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Vina del Mar (l Monaco); QF: Sao Paulo (l Almagro); Buenos Aires (l Nalbandian); Acapulco (l Giraldo); Houston (l Lopez)
YTD W-L: 18-12 (15-8 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 3, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 37

- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (2-0 record)

Andy Roddick (USA) vs Go Soeda (JPN)  First Meeting

Roddick FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: San Jose (l Istomin); Delray Beach (l Anderson)
YTD W-L: 7-8 (0-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 30
Date of Birth: August 30, 1982
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 29
- Third Tournament Appearance (2002, ’06), ‘12 in Duesseldorf (1-4 record)

Soeda FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Chennai (l Tipsarevic)
YTD W-L: 4-6 (0-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 5, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 61
- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (0-2 record)

CENTRE COURT 2 –

Ryan Harrison (USA) vs Tatsuma Ito (JPN)  First Meeting

Harrison FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: San Jose (l Raonic); QF: Houston (l Russell)
YTD W-L: 13-13 (4-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 7, 1992
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 56
- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (0-1 record)

Ito FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-4 (2-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 18, 1988
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 69
- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (1-1 record)

Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO)              Dodig Leads1-0
11 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Ivan Dodig 6-4 2-6 6-3
Other meetings:
10 Istanbul CH (Turkey) Hard R16 Igor Kunitsyn 7-5 6-2
10 Astana-2 CH (Kazakhstan) Hard F Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-3

Kunitsyn FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-13 (1-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: September 30, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 101
- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf

Dodig FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Zagreb (l Baghdatis)
YTD W-L: 8-15 (2-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: January 2, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 75
- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (0-2 record)

WEDNESDAY REVIEW – GERMANY, ARGENTINA COMPLETE ROUND ROBIN VICTORIES
• Philipp Kohlschreiber sealed a 2-0 win for Germany over Croatia on Wednesday at the Power Horse World Team Cup as he defeated Lovro Zovko 6-2, 7-6(2). The 27th-ranked Kohlschreiber created 14 break point chances and converted twice to prevail in 91 minutes. A day earlier, Florian Mayer had dismissed Ivan Dodig 6-1, 6-1.
• "All in all, I never thought that I’d lose," said Kohlschreiber. "I took a few balls a bit too easy and let him get back into the match and didn’t make the break. The result could have been less close, but I let him back into the match and I think he really played well then."
• The 28-year-old Kohlschreiber has a 13-9 event record and is bidding to help his nation win the ATP team competition for a record sixth time. Germany completed a 3-0 sweep when Christopher Kas and Philipp Petzschner topped Dodig and Zovko 6-4, 1-6, 10-3.
• Argentina also wrapped up a win on Wednesday as Carlos Berlocq beat Japan’s Go Soeda 6-3, 6-4 to follow up Leonardo Mayer’s victory over Tatsuma Ito on Tuesday. Berlocq's teammates, Juan Pablo Brzezicki and Juan Ignacio Chela, finished off the round-robin meeting by rallying past Ito and Bumpei Sato 6-7(3), 6-1, 10-7.
• The Czech Republic closed out a 3-0 victory over the United States as Frantisek Cermak and Radek Stepanek defeated Andy Roddick and Ryan Harrison 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-8 in one hour and 42 minutes. Russia salvaged a consolation point against Serbia as Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn defeated Miki Jankovic and Nenad Zimonjic 7-5, 7-6(6).

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