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Nice, Dusseldorf Wednesday Briefing

Simon, Isner© Yohan Brandt/Open de Nice Côte d’AzurThe top two seeds, Gilles Simon and John Isner open their campaigns on Wednesday.

NICE WEDNESDAY PREVIEW - TOP SEEDS MAKE FIRST APPEARANCES OF WEEK
• The Top 4 seeds of the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur will make their first appearances of the week on Wednesday after first round byes, as the entire second round takes to the clay courts of the picturesque French city.

• First on Centre Court is Belgium’s Steve Darcis against Italy’s Filippo Volandri; both are looking for their second ATP World Tour quarter-finals of the year. Darcis was a quarter-finalist at San Jose, Volandri a finalist at Sao Paulo; though they are both veterans, Darcis aged 28 and Volandri 30, this is a first-time meeting, though Darcis may be buoyed by his first round win over No. 8 seed Fabio Fognini.

• Next is top seed John Isner against another Belgian, Xavier Malisse. Isner isn’t just making his first appearance of the week, he’s also playing his debut at this tournament - and with an 8-3 record on clay so far this year, he looks to be ready for it. Malisse has won both of their previous meetings, and although the Belgian hasn’t beaten a Top 20 player this year, he did beat three of them last year

• Next is No. 2 seed Gilles Simon against Bulgarian qualifier Grigor Dimitrov; Simon is playing his first match in Nice, his birthplace, and will also be trying to reach his sixth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year (including winning his 10th career title at Bucharest); the young Dimitrov is trying to reach his first quarter-final of the year but it could be tough given Simon has won both of their previous meetings.

• Next on is No. 3 seed and defending champion Nicolas Almagro against France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin; not only has Almagro been one of the toughest players on clay this year - of his 30 match wins on the season so far, 20 are on clay - but he also loves these courts, having gone all the way to the title in his only previous appearance here a year ago; he also won his only previous meeting with Roger-Vasselin, last month in Barcelona.

• Last up is No. 4 seed Gael Monfils against American qualifier Brian Baker. After a strong start to the year on hard courts, going 11-4 on the surface, Monfils has struggled somewhat on clay, going 3-2 and falling in the early rounds of both Madrid and Rome; but the former Roland Garros semi-finalist hopes to get some wins this week ahead of his home Grand Slam. World No. 216 Baker has only ever played twice against Top 30 players and is 1-1. The 27-year-old Baker is trying to reach his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final.

WEDNESDAY SECOND ROUND FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play by Court

Centre Court

Steve Darcis (BEL) vs Filippo Volandri (ITA)     First Meeting

Darcis FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: San Jose (l Benneteau)
YTD W-L: 8-7 (2-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: March 13, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 61

Volandri FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Sao Paulo (l Almagro)
YTD W-L: 7-12 (7-9 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: September 5, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 81

(1) John Isner (USA) vs Xavier Malisse (BEL)  Malisse Leads 2-0
10 Houston (U.S.A.) Clay R16 Xavier Malisse 7-6(3)  6-7(7) 7-6(3)
10 Washington (USA) Hard R16 Xavier Malisse 6-4 3-6  7-6(5)

Isner FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); Houston (l Monaco); SF: Delray Beach (l Anderson); QF: Memphis (l Melzer)
YTD W-L: 21-9 (8-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 11

Malisse FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Bucharest (l Balazs)
YTD W-L: 7-11(3-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: July 19, 1980
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 80

(Q) Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs (2) Gilles Simon (FRA) Simon Leads 2-0
09 Marseille (France) Hard R32 Gilles Simon 4-6 6-3 7-5
09 London / Queen's Club (Great Britain)Grass R32 Gilles Simon 7-6(7)7-6(5)

Dimitrov FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 6-6 (1-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 16, 1991
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 95

Simon FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Bucharest (d Fognini); SF: 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: 25-12 (14-7 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 12

Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs (3) Nicolas Almagro (ESP) Almagro Leads 1-0
12 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R32 Nicolas Almagro 7-5 7-6(3)

Roger-Vasselin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Marseille (l Tsonga)
YTD W-L: 7-7 (2-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: November 28, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 83

Almagro FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Sao Paulo (d Volandri); F: Buenos Aires (l Ferrer); SF: Chennai (l Raonic); QF: Auckland (l Kohlschreiber); Acapulco (l Verdasco); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 30-11 (20-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 14

(4) Gael Monfils (FRA) vs (Q) Brian Baker (USA)  First Meeting

Monfils FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Doha (l Tsonga); Montpellier (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 14-6 (3-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 13

Baker FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-0 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 30, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 216

Court 1

Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) vs (7) Denis Istomin (UZB)  First Meeting

(WC) Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) vs (Q) Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) Tied 1-1
09 Costa do Sauipe (Brazil) Clay QF Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(5) 1-6 6-3
11 Beijing (China) Hard R32 Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1  7-6(4)

(Q) Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) vs (5) Bernard Tomic (AUS)   First Meeting

DUSSELDORF WEDNESDAY PREVIEW – GERMANY, ARGENTINA LOOK TO WIN TIES & GO UP 2-0
• After posting straight-set wins on Tuesday, host Germany and Argentina are one win away from going to 2-0 in round robin play at the Power Horse World Team Cup. There are two singles and four doubles matches on Wednesday’s schedule.

• Leading off the Blue Group on Centre Court I is Germany’s top player Philipp Kohlschreiber against Croat Ivo Karlovic, who has won two of the previous three meetings on hard courts. Six of their eight sets have been decided in a tie-break. Kohlschreiber opened on Sunday with a straight-sets win over Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. He  is making his seventh appearance here and owns a career mark of 12-9 in singles. Earlier this month Kohlschreiber captured his fourth career ATP World Tour title in Munich. Karlovic  has compiled an 8-9 match record on the year and he’s looking to register his first clay court match win of the campaign (0-3). The Croat’s best result was the quarter-finals in Zagreb in February.

• In the next match on in Red Group play, Carlos Berlocq of Argentina and Go Soeda of Japan meet for the first time. Berlocq is putting together a career-best season with a 17-11 match record (14-8 on clay). He made his Dusseldorf debut on Sunday, defeating Andy Roddick 62 62. In February, Berlcoq advanced to his first career ATP World Tour final in Vina del Mar (l. to Monaco). Soeda made his debut on Monday, falling in three sets to World No. 7 Tomas Berdych. 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 4-5 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.

• Following the singles matches, Germany and Croatia will meet in a doubles match and Argentina and Japan will square off. There are also two doubles matches on Centre Court II with Serbia vs. Russia along with the USA and Czech Republic.

CENTRE COURT 1

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs Ivo Karlovic (CRO)                Karlovic Leads 2-1
08 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (U.S.A.)Hard QF Ivo Karlovic 7-6(6) 7-6(3)
09 Beijing (China) Hard R32 Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(6)  4-6 6-1
11 Doha (Qatar) Hard R16 Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5) 6-7(4)7-6(2)

Kohlschreiber FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Munich (d Cilic); SF: Auckland (l Rochus); Montpellier (l Berdych); QF: Delray Beach (l Sela)
YTD W-L: 20-10 (6-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: October 16, 1983
South African Airways Ranking: 24

- Seventh Tournament Appearance (2002, ’06-11) in Duesseldorf (12-9 record)

Karlovic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Zagreb (l Youzhny)
YTD W-L: 8-9 (0-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: February 28, 1979
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 60

- Second Tournament Appearance (2006) in Duesseldorf (1-1 record)

Carlos Berlocq (ARG) vs Go Soeda (JPN)   First Meeting

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: 17-11 (14-8 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 3, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 38

- First Tournament Appearance in Duesseldorf (1-0 record)

Soeda FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Chennai (l Tipsarevic)
YTD W-L: 4-5 (0-2 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 (0-1 record)

TUESDAY REVIEW – SERBIA BEATS RUSSIA; CZECH REPUBLIC DEFEATS UNITED STATES
• Straight-sets wins for Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic gave Serbia victory over Russia in the Power Horse World Team Cup on Tuesday in Dusseldorf. Serbia also defeated Croatia in its opening match and now has a 2-0 record in the Blue Group.

• The No. 31-ranked Troicki surrendered just seven points on serve as he raced to a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 63 minutes over Dmitry Tursunov. World No. 8 Tipsarevic then wrapped up victory for 2009 champion Serbia by defeating Alex Bogomolov Jr. , 6-1, 6-3 in 61 minutes.

• Host nation and defending champion Germany made a winning start to its second Blue Group clash as Florian Mayer dismissed Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-1, 6-1 in 64 minutes. The No. 35-ranked Mayer had won only two clay-court matches this season coming into Dusseldorf, where Germany has won the title five times.

• "Today, I was the old Flo again," said Mayer. "This is how I played last year at this time of the year. Perfect attitude, didn’t get upset, kept fighting and played great. So, there's nothing I'm not happy about."

• World No. 7 Tomas Berdych maintained his good form, defeating American Andy Roddick 6-1, 6-2 in just 61 minutes. The Czech player earned his country a 1-0 lead in this Red Group clash as he hit 12 aces and broke serve four times from five opportunities. Radek Stepanek then clinched the tie for the Czech Republic, beating James Blake 6-2, 6-1 with 54 minutes.

• The 26-year-old Berdych has a 14-4 record in Dusseldorf and helped the Czech Republic to the final in 2007 (l. to Argentina). He came into the team competition on the back of a runner-up showing in Madrid (l. to Federer) and a quarter-final effort in Rome (l. to Nadal).

• "I’m here to help our team do as best as we can, to try to win it," said Berdych. "We need at least two points and so far we have one. So, that’s the goal. I think the best way to be ready[for Roland Garros] is to play matches and win matches."

• Argentina got off to a winning start in its second Red Group match as Leonardo Mayer defeated Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 6-4, 6-4. The four-time former champion beat the United States in its first tie.

 

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