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Metz, St. Petersburg Final Preview

Tsonga© AFP/Getty ImagesJo-Wilfried Tsonga bids to retain the title in Metz.

METZ FINAL PREVIEW - TSONGA & SEPPI SQUARE OFF FOR TITLE
• It won’t be an all-French final, but the French No. 1 will face the Italian No. 1 on Sunday for the title at the Moselle Open, an ATP World Tour 250-level indoor tournament in Metz. Both players are attempting to earn their second ATP World Tour title of the season.

• Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a smooth path to the semi-finals this week but then won a nail-biter in the semi-finals on Saturday, outlasting No. 8 seed Nikolay Davydenko in three sets, 60 36 64; he had lost both previous meetings against Davydenko and said afterwards, “It’s a satisfaction to finally have defeated Nikolay, my list of players I never beat is getting smaller.”

• Tsonga is making his third appearance at this event (9-1 record); he made the QFs in 2007 (l. to Murray) and won the title last year (d. Ljubicic in final). Tsonga is in his 14th ATP World Tour final (8-5 mark); all but one of his previous finals have come on hard courts (5-3 on indoor hard courts, 3-1 on outdoor hardcourts, 0-1 on grass).

• No. 5 seed Andreas Seppi has been pushed to three sets in two of his four rounds leading up to the final, beating Ivan Dodig in the first round, 67(7) 63 64, and No. 7 seed Gael Monfils in the semi-finals, 3-6 6-1 6-4; like Tsonga, Seppi had to overcome a winless head-to-head in the semis, having lost all three previous meetings with Monfils, saying afterwards, “It was a tough match like always. Especially when you play against Gael in France, it’s always tough.”

• Seppi is making his fourth appearance at this event (7-3 record); he made the QFs in 2005 (l. to Davydenko) then lost early in his other two tries (second round in 2007, first round in 2008). Seppi is in his fifth ATP World Tour final (2-2 mark); this is his first ATP World Tour final on hard courts - of the first four, two were on clay and two were on grass (going 1-1 in both).

• Seppi is 6-48 against Top 10 players; of the six Top 10 wins, four of them came against No. 9s and No. 10s, but the two wins over Top 8 opponents both came on hard courts (No. 4 Hewitt on outdoor hard courts in Sydney in 2006, No. 2 Nadal on indoor hard courts in Rotterdam in 2008).

• Tsonga leads the head-to-head series, 2-1; Seppi won their first meeting at Sydney in 2008 (right before Tsonga’s famous run to his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open); Tsonga has won their last two meetings, both in 2011 (at the Australian Open and Masters 1000 in Paris).

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 –
   Tsonga: Appearing in his 14th ATP World Tour final………He is 8-5 in finals (1-0 in 2012)
   Seppi: Appearing in his 5th ATP World Tour final…...…..He is 2-2 in finals (1-1 in 2012)
 
ROAD TO THE FINAL
(1) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA #6)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. (Q) Clement Reix (FRA #502) 63 63 (1:19)
QF: d. Jesse Levine (USA #78) 63 64 (1:34)
SF: d. (8/WC) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS #48) 60 36 64 (1:47)

(5) Andreas Seppi (ITA #28)
1st Rd: d. Ivan Dodig (CRO #112) 67(7) 63 64 (2:24)
2nd Rd: d. (Q) Vincent Millot (FRA #222) 62 61 (1:02)
QF: d. (4) Florian Mayer (GER #25) 75 62 (1:01)
SF: d. (7) Gael Monfils (FRA #44) 36 61 64 (1:41)

FRENCH WINNERS IN METZ – Tsonga is attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the Metz title twice (since 2003). Here are the French winners:
2011 – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2010 – Gilles Simon
2009 – Gael Monfils
2004 – Jerome Haehnel
2003 – Arnaud Clement
 
RACE TO LONDON -- There are four positions remaining for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London and Tsonga is No. 8. Tsonga has added 60 points so far and with win will add 100 more pts.:
     2012 Points
1 Novak Djokovic-X 9,910 
2 Roger Federer-X 8,920
3 Rafael Nadal-X  6,840 
4 Andy Murray-X 6,730
5 David Ferrer  4,780
6 Juan Martin del Potro 3,820 
7 Tomas Berdych  3,720 
8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2,805 (add 100 pts. w/title) X-Qualified

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS –

Centre Court

(1)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (5) Andreas Seppi (ITA) 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

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: 44-17 (25-8 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 second ATP World Tour final of the year…In the opening week of the season he captured his eighth career title in Doha (d. Monfils)
• The top Frenchman is making his third appearance at this event (9-1 record); he made the QFs in 2007 (l. to Murray) and won the title last year (d. Ljubicic in final)
• Has held serve 29 of 32 games this week (91%), saving four of seven break points…Has won 10 of 30 return games (33%)
• He and countryman Gilles Simon (Bucharest) are the French winners on the ATP World Tour this year
• He is appearing in 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

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: 31-22 (11-13 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 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 (7-3 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 appearing in his fifth career ATP World Tour final (2-2 mark), his first on hard courts (1-1 on clay, 1-1 on grass)
• He is attempting to become the first Italian to win an ATP World Tour indoor title since Davide Sanguinetti in Milan in 2002
• Leads the tournament in return games won (20 of 46, 43%) and has held serve 38 of 46 games this week (83%), saving 16 of 24 break points (67%)

DOUBLES FINAL – (2) Mahut/Roger-Vasselin (FRA/FRA) vs. (4) Brunstrom/Nielsen (SWE/DEN)
• No. 2 seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin have lost one set in their first three matches this week but took out No. 3 seeds Brown/Kas in straight sets in the SFs
• Mahut and Roger-Vasselin are playing their third ATP World Tour doubles final together and are 2-0 in their first two (both this year, winning on French soil in Marseille and Montpellier)
• No. 4 seeds Johan Brunstrom and Frederik Nielsen have lost one set in their first three rounds but got a walkover in one of those rounds, and didn’t have to play a seeded team
• Brunstrom and Nielsen are playing their first ATP World Tour doubles final together
• Doubles final W-L: Mahut (5-4), Roger-Vasselin (2-0), Brunstrom (1-9), Nielsen (1-0)


ST. PETERSBURG FINAL PREVIEW - KLIZAN OR FOGNINI: FIRST FIRST-TIME CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
• Two players will square off for their first ATP World Tour title at the St. Petersburg Open on Sunday; with no other first-timers crowned yet this year, it will be a memorable one no matter who wins. This will be a first-time meeting between the two.

• No. 3 seed Martin Klizan cruised into the semi-finals this week without losing a set and then won a marathon to reach the final, battling for three hours and 49 minutes to dispatch top seed Mikhail Youzhny, 67(11) 64 76(3) (Youzhny actually won more points in the match: 136 to 135). Klizan had never won back-to-back matches or reached a quarter-final at any ATP World Tour event until two months ago, but he has done it three times since then, reaching the semi-finals of Kitzbuehel (l. to Haase), then his first Grand Slam 4th Rd. at the US Open (d. Tsonga en route for his first Top 10 win and now he is through to the final here in St. Petersburg.

• Klizan is trying to become the first Slovakian to win an ATP World Tour title since Dominik Hrbaty in Marseille in February 2004. Countryman Lukas Lacko was runner-up in Zagreb in February (l. to Youzhny). Klizan is making his first appearance in St. Petersburg (4-0 record).

• No. 4 seed Fabio Fognini dropped the first set of his first round match this week but has since won eight sets in a row, coming back to beat Tobias Kamke in that first round match, 46 62 63, then subsequently beating three straight unseeded opponents in straight sets. Before this week, Fognini had never been to even the semi-finals of any ATP World Tour event outside of clay courts - all of his previous seven ATP World Tour semi-finals came on clay. This is Fognini’s second career ATP World Tour final. He was runner-up to Gilles Simon in Bucharest in April.

WHAT’S AT STAKE –
   Winner: $70,365 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
   Runner-up: $37,060 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
 
FINALS HISTORY –
   Klizan: Appearing in his 1st ATP World Tour final
   Fognini: Appearing in his 2nd ATP World Tour final…………….He is 0-1 in finals (0-1 in 2012)

ROAD TO THE FINAL –
(3) Martin Klizan (SVK #45)
1st Rd: d. (WC) Mikhail Elgin (RUS #639) 64 63 (1:36)
2nd Rd: d. Simone Bolelli (ITA #79)  63 63 (1:09)
QF: d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU #89) 63 62 (1:06)
SF: d. (1) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS #29) 67(11) 64 76(3) (3:49)

(4) Fabio Fognini (ITA #53)
1st Rd: d. Tobias Kamke (GER #71)  46 62 63 (2:05)
2nd Rd: d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR #95) 76(4) 64 (2:00)
QF: d. Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP #87) 64 76(1) (1:41)
SF: d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP #93) 63 64 (1:19)   

Players Trying to Win First Title (0-11) – A first-time winner is guaranteed on the ATP World Tour this season with Sunday’s champion. Here is a look at the players who were runner-up:
Player (opponent) Tournament
* Julien Benneteau (l. to Jarkko Nieminen) Sydney
* Carlos Berlocq (l. to Juan Monaco) Vina del Mar
* Lukas Lacko (l. to Mikhail Youzhny) Zagreb
* Denis Istomin (l. to Milos Raonic) San Jose
* Marinko Matosevic (l. to Kevin Anderson) Delray Beach
* Albert Ramos (l. to Pablo Andujar) Casablanca
* Fabio Fognini (l. to Gilles Simon) Bucharest
* Benoit Paire (l. to Andreas Seppi) Belgrade
* Brian Baker (l. to Nicolas Almagro) Nice
* Gilles Muller (l. to Andy Roddick) Atlanta
* Ricardas Berankis (l. to Sam Querrey) Los Angeles
   
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS –

(3) Martin Klizan (SVK) vs (4) Fabio Fognini (ITA) First Meeting

Klizan FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Kitzbuehel (l Haase)
YTD W-L: 15-11 (9-3 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 11, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 45

• Klizan, 23, is trying to become the first Slovak ATP World Tour champ since Dominik Hrbaty in Marseille in February 2004…Countryman Lukas Lacko was finalist in Zagreb in February(l. to Youzhny)
• Prior to this year, he 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 a 4th Rd. showing (d. Tsonga in 2nd Rd. en route for his first Top 10 win) and now he is through to his first final here
• Will jump from No. 45 to around No. 35 by reaching the final and to around No. 33 if he wins the title
• The left-hander is making his first appearance at this event (4-0 record) and has held serve 33 of 43 games this week (77%), saving 16 of 26 break pts. (62%)…No. 2 in aces (17) and return games won (47%, 21 of 45)
• 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)

Fognini FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Bucharest (l Simon); QF: Eastbourne (l Roddick)
YTD W-L: 22-19 (8-6 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 second career ATP World Tour final, both coming this year
• The No. 2 Italian (behind No. 28 Seppi) was runner-up at Bucharest on April 29, l. to Gilles Simon
• Has held serve 39 of 46 games this week (85%), saving 20 of 27 break points (74%)
• Will jump from No. 53 to around No. 46 by reaching the final and to around No. 40 if he wins the title
• He is making his third appearance at this event (4-2 record); he fell first round in both of his first two appearances in 2009 (l. to Marchenko) and 2010 (l. to Dolgopolov)
• He is trying to join countryman Seppi as Italian winners on Sunday (Seppi is in the Metz final vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga)

DOUBLES FINAL - (1) Ram/Zimonjic (USA/SRB) vs. Lacko/Zelenay (SVK/SVK)
• Top seeds Rajeev Ram and Nenad Zimonjic won their first round in straight sets but have lost sets in their last two rounds (including against No. 4 seed Moser/Skupski in the SFs)
• Ram and Zimonjic are playing their first ATP World Tour doubles final together
• Unseeded Lukas Lacko and Igor Zelenay also won their first round in straight sets and have lost sets in their last two rounds (including against No. 3 seeds Cermak/Mertinak in the QFs)
• Lacko and Zelenay are playing their first ATP World Tour doubles final together
• Doubles final W-L: Ram (6-2), Zimonjic (44-29), Lacko (0-0), Zelenay (0-2)

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