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Metz, St. Petersburg Saturday Preview

Youzhny© Sergey NavetnyMikhail Youzhny plays Martin Klizan in the St. Petersburg semi-finals.

METZ SATURDAY PREVIEW - TSONGA LOOKS TO CONTINUE HOME SUCCESS, MONFILS BACK IN SEMIS
• Two of the most popular players on the ATP World Tour have made their way into the semi-finals of the Moselle Open, and they hope to set up an all-French final on home soil.

• The first semi-final pits No. 5 seed Andreas Seppi against No. 7 seed Gael Monfils. Before this week Monfils was out nearly four months due to a knee injury, but while his ranking has changed in a big way - he was No. 13 at the last tournament he played week of May 21, and now is No. 44. He seems to have picked up right where he left off, winning his first two matches back in straight sets and grinding out a three set quarter-final win over in-form No. 2 seed Kohlschreiber. Meanwhile, Seppi went to three sets in his first round but has cruised through his last two rounds in straight sets.

• Monfils has beaten Seppi in all three of their previous ATP World Tour meetings and this is their first encounter in nearly two years when the Frenchman won 64 64 in the second round of Tokyo en route to the final. Monfils and Seppi are both 2-0 in ATP World Tour semi-finals this season. Monfils is trying to reach his third final in Metz, having won the title in 2009 and finishing runner-up in 2005.

• In the second semi-final, top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looks for his first win (0-2) against No. 8 seed Nikolay Davydenko. Tsonga has rebounded back from a second round loss at the US Open by winning his first two matches handily in straight sets this week. Meanwhile, Davydenko has gone to three sets twice in his first three matches, including a quarter-final thriller against Ivo Karlovic (he saved a match point in the second set tie-break and eventually won, 67(5) 76(6) 60).

• Davydenko has beaten Tsonga in both of their previous ATP World Tour meetings indoors (2007 Moscow, Davydenko was No. 4 and Tsonga No. 53, and at the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, Davydenko was No. 5 and Tsonga No. 7. This week Tsonga is No. 6 and Davydenko No. 48.

SATURDAY SEMI-FINALS FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Centre Court

(5) Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (7) Gael Monfils (FRA) Monfils Leads 3-0
07 Doha (Qatar) Hard R32 Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4
10 Marseille (France) Hard (I) R16 Gael Monfils 7-6(4) 3-6 7-6(3)
10 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R16 Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4
Other meeting:
07 Sunrise CH (USA) Hard F Gael Monfils 6-3 1-6 6-1

Seppi FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Belgrade (d Paire); F: Eastbourne (l Roddick); QF(4): Doha (l Federer); Rotterdam (l Berdych); Bucharest (l Fognini); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 30-22 (10-13 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: February 21, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 28

• Seppi, 28, is playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (2-0)…He captured title in Belgrade in May (d. Paire) and was runner-up in Eastbourne in June (l. to Roddick)
• The top Italian is making his fourth appearance at this event (6-3 record)…He reached the QFs in 2005 (l. to Davydenko) then lost early in his other two tries (second round in 2007, first round in 2008)
• He is trying to reach his fifth ATP World Tour final (2-2 mark); he has never been to an ATP World Tour final on hard courts (1-1 on clay, 1-1 on grass)
• Leads the tournament in return games won (17 of 33, 52%) and has held serve 26 of 33 games this week (79%), saving 11 of 18 break points (61%)

Monfils FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F(2): Doha (l Tsonga); Montpellier (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 17-7 (14-4 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 44

• Monfils, 26, is playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (2-0 mark)…He was a runner-up in Doha in January and Montpellier in February (l. to Tsonga and Berdych, respectively)
• This is the Frenchman’s first outing since Nice (May 21) after being sidelined with a right knee injury
• Leads the tournament this week in aces (39) and first serve points won (89%) and has held serve 31 of 37 games (84%), saving seven of 13 break points…Has won 12 of 36 return games (33%)
• He is making his fourth appearance at this event (13-2 record); he made the QFs in 2004 (l. to Gasquet) and the final in 2005 (l. to Ljubicic) and won the title in 2009 (d. Kohlschreiber)
• He is trying to reach his 18th ATP World Tour final (4-13 mark) and over half of those finals have come indoors (nine with 3-6 record)…His last title came in Stockholm last October (d. Nieminen)

(1)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (8-WC) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Davydenko Leads 2-0
07 Moscow (Russia) Hard R32 Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 6-2
08 Tennis Masters Cup (China) Hard RR Nikolay Davydenko 6-7(6)6-4 7-6

Tsonga FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Doha (d Monfils); SF(3): Marseille (l del Potro); Wimbledon (l Murray); Winston-Salem (l Isner); QF(6): Dubai (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Nadal); ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Simon); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Djokovic); Roland Garros (l Djokovic); London Olympics (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 43-17 (24-8 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: April 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7

• Tsonga, 27, is playing in his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (1-3 mark)…He received a walkover in the Doha semi-finals (vs. Federer) and went on to win the title (d. Monfils) but has gone 0-3 in semi-finals since
• The top Frenchman is making his third appearance at this event (8-1 record); he made the QFs in 2007 (l. to Murray) and won the title last year (d. Ljubicic in final)
• Has held serve 18 of 19 games this week (95%), saving four of five break points…Has won six of 18 return games (33%)
• He is trying to reach his 14th career ATP World Tour final (8-5 mark) and three of his titles have come on home soil: 2011 Metz, 2009 Marseille and 2008 Paris-indoor

Davydenko FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF(2): Rotterdam (l Federer); Nice (l Baker)
YTD W-L: 20-19 (14-10 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 21
Date of Birth: June 2, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 48

• Davydenko, 31, is playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (0-2) and lost in Rotterdam in February and Nice in May (losing to Federer and Baker, respectively)
• The veteran Russian is making his second appearance at this event (6-1 record); in his only previous appearance in 2005 he also reached the semi-finals (l. to Ljubicic)
• Has held serve 33 of 39 games this week (85%), saving 20 of 26 break points (77%)…Has won 12 of 39 return games (31%)
• Has an 0-8 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this year and has lost 14 in a row since defeating No. 1 Nadal in the semi-finals of Doha in January 2011
• He is trying to reach his 28th career ATP World Tour final (21-6 mark) and extend his title streak to 10 consecutive years (last title came in Munich in May 2011)…Has won a title every year from 2003-2011

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS

Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) Tsonga Leads 2-1
08 Sydney (Australia) Hard R32 Andreas Seppi 3-6 6-3 6-2
11 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R64 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-6(1) 7-6(5)
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris) Hard (I) R16 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-4

Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Tied 3-3
04 Halle (Germany) Grass R32 Andreas Seppi 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3
05 Metz (France) Hard (I) QF Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 6-1
06 Hamburg (Germany) Clay R32 Nikolay Davydenko 6-1 6-2
08 Poertschach (Austria) Clay QF Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 1-6 6-3
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard (I) R64 Andreas Seppi 7-6(2) 7-5
12 Roland Garros (France) Clay R128 Andreas Seppi 6-3 7-6(5) 7-5

Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) Tsonga Leads 3-1
08 Bangkok (Thailand) Hard (I) SF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0 6-3
09 Tokyo (Japan) Hard SF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-3
10 Montpellier (France) Hard (I) SF Gael Monfils 7-6(2) 2-6 6-4
12 Doha (Qatar) Hard F Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 6-3
Other meeting:
03 France F14 (Valescure) Hard R16 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3
 
Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Tied 2-2
05 ATP Masters 1000 Miami (USA) Hard R64 Gael Monfils 4-6 6-1 6-4
07 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R32 Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 7-5 6-3
07 Gstaad (Switzerland) Clay R32 Gael Monfils 3-6 6-4 7-5
09 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Hard (I) QF Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 6-3


ST. PETERSBURG SATURDAY PREVIEW - YOUZHNY & THREE FIRST-TIME HOPEFULS IN SEMI-FINALS
• It’s a former World No. 8 with eight ATP World Tour titles to his name and three players seeking their first ATP World Tour titles in the semi-finals of the St. Petersburg Open on Saturday. Overall, three of the top four seeds are in action.

• The day’s first semi-final pits No. 4 seed Fabio Fognini against Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver; Gimeno-Traver is the only non-Top 4 seed to make the final four - he came out of No. 2 seed Denis Istomin’s section (Lukasz Kubot beat Istomin first round, then Gimeno-Traver beat Kubot); Fognini leads the ATP World Tour head-to-head, 2-1, and also won both Challenger meetings

• The second semi-final pits No. 1 seed Mikhail Youzhny against No. 3 seed Martin Klizan; while Klizan has reached the semi-finals without losing a set, Youzhny won his first two matches in straight sets but was given a scare in the quarter-finals, dropping the second set at love before beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 64 06 63 (it was still a big win for him though - he went into the match 0-4 lifetime against the Spaniard); Youzhny and Klizan will be playing for the first time.

• Youzhny has cruised through to the semi-finals, dropping one set and he enters with a 30-9 career record at this tournament (he won the title in 2004 and was runner-up in 2002 and 2010). Klizan had never won back-to-back matches or reached a quarter-final at any ATP World Tour event until two months ago, when he reached the semi-finals of Kitzbuehel (l. to Haase); shortly after that he reached his first Grand Slam second week at the US Open (d. Tsonga en route for his first Top 10 win) and now he is through to his second semi-final here in St. Petersburg.
   
SATURDAY SEMI-FINALS FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Centre Court

(4) Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) Fognini Leads 2-1
09 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R64 Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-1 6-3
09 Bucharest (Romania) Clay R32 Fabio Fognini 1-6 6-4 6-3
11 Valencia (Spain) Hard R32 Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3
Other meetings:
06 Napoli CH (Italy) Clay R32 Fabio Fognini 6-4 5-7 6-4
09 Napoli CH (Italy) Clay R16 Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-2

Fognini FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Bucharest (l Simon); QF: Eastbourne (l Roddick)
YTD W-L: 21-19 (7-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 24, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 53
 
• Fognini, 25, is playing in his first ATP World Tour semi-final outside of clay; this is his eighth career ATP World Tour semi-final and his previous seven all came on European red clay (1-6 record)
• The No. 2 Italian (behind No. 28 Seppi) is trying to reach his second ATP World Tour final (he was runner-up at Bucharest on April 29, l. to Simon)
• Has held serve 30 of 36 games this week (83%), saving 18 of 24 break points (75%)
• He is making his third appearance at this event (3-2 record); he fell first round in both of his first two appearances in 2009 (l. to Marchenko) and 2010 (l. to Dolgopolov)

Gimeno-Traver FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Bastad (l Almagro)
YTD W-L: 6-9 (4-2 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: August 7, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 93

• Gimeno-Traver, 27, is also playing in his first ATP World Tour semi-final outside of clay and overall this is the Spaniard’s third career ATP World Tour semi-final (0-2 mark)
• His previous semi-final results were in back-to-back weeks in Stuttgart (l. to Monfils) and Gstaad (l. to Almagro) two years ago
• Leads the tournament in aces (17), return games won (48%, 15 of 31) and points won returning first serve (43%) this week
• He along with Fognini and Klizan are trying to become the first player this year to break through and win his first career ATP World Tour title…Players trying to win their first ATP title are 0-11 in finals (last year there were 10 first-time winners)

(1)Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs (3) Martin Klizan (SVK) First Meeting

Youzhny FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Zagreb (d Lacko); SF: Halle (l Federer); QF(4): Doha (l Nadal); Dubai (l Federer); Munich (l Cilic); Wimbledon (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 27-15 (15-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: June 25, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 29

• Youzhny, 30, is the only player in the final four with an ATP World Tour title (he has eight in career - five on indoor hard courts, one on outdoor hard courts and two on clay courts)
• He is trying to reach his 19th ATP World Tour final (8-10 record)…In February, he won the title in Zagreb (d. Lacko)
• He is making his 12th appearance at this event, having played here every year since his 2001 debut (30-9 record)…His best results are a title (2004), two more finals (2002 and 2010, losing to Grosjean and Kukushkin, respectively) and two more semi-finals (2007 and 2011, losing to Murray and Cilic); this year is the sixth time he has reached the semi-finals or better here
• He leads the tournament in second serve points won (63%), No. 3 in first serve points won (75%) and No. 5 in service games won (27 of 32, 84%)…Has won 31% of return games (9 of 29)

Klizan FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Kitzbuehel (l Haase)
YTD W-L: 14-11 (8-3 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 11, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 45

• Klizan, 23, had never won back-to-back matches or reached a quarter-final at any ATP World Tour event until two months ago, when he reached the semi-finals of Kitzbuehel (l. to Haase); shortly after that he reached his first Grand Slam second week at the US Open with 4th Rd. showing (d. Tsonga in 2nd Rd. en route for his first Top 10 win) and now he is through to his second semi-final here
• He is trying to become the second Slovakian to reach an ATP World Tour final this season (Lukas Lacko was runner-up in Zagreb in February)
• The left-hander is making his first appearance at this event (3-0 record) and has held serve 23 of 26 games this week (88%), saving six of nine break points (67%)…Leads tournament in second serve return points won (64%) and No. 3 in return games won (46%, 13 of 28)
• His coach, now-retired former World No. 6 Karol Kucera, actually played here in same draw with Youzhny once, in 2002 (l. to Grosjean in semi-finals - Grosjean beat Youzhny in final)

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS
Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)  First Meeting

Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Martin Klizan (SVK)  First Meeting

Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) Youzhny Leads 2-0
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome Clay R64 Mikhail Youzhny 7-5 6-4
09 Kitzbuehel (Austria) Clay R32 Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 7-6(7)

Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) First ATP Meeting
10 San Benedetto CH (Italy) Clay QF Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-4 6-0

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