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Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur Saturday Preview

Ferrer© Malaysian Open Kuala Lumpur 2012David Ferrer plays Julien Benneteau in the Kuala Lumpur semi-finals on Saturday.

BANGKOK SATURDAY PREVIEW – THREE OF TOP FOUR SEEDS, FORMER FINALIST  IN SEMI-FINALS

• Three of the Top 4 seeds - as well as the No. 7 seed - make up an all-star semi-final line-up at the Thailand Open, and those four players will battle it out on Saturday. Three of the four have won an ATP World Tour title this year.

• The first semi-final features top seed Janko Tipsarevic against No. 4 seed Gilles Simon; Tipsarevic, currently No. 9 in the race to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and looking to boost his chances to qualify for the eight-man event here, faces an uphill battle, given Simon leads the head-to-head series, 4-1. Tipsarevic won their last meeting, but Simon still leads on hard, 3-0; “I’ve met Gilles many times, I’ve lost more than I’ve won,” Tipsarevic said after his quarter-final win. “Gilles is a previous champion here, knows the surface and keeps coming back every year, while I am here for the first time. I’m really expecting a similar match to today: very, very tough.”

• Tipsarevic is making his debut at this event (2-0 record) and he is playing in his seventh ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (3-3 mark). He is trying to reach his 11th ATP World Tour final (3-7). Simon is making his third appearance at this event (8-1 record), winning the title in 2009 (d. Troicki) and  reaching the semi-finals last year (l. to Murray). Simon is playing his 6th ATP World Tour semi-final of the year.  He is attempting to reach his 13th career ATP World Tour final (10-2 record).

• The second semi-final pits No. 2 seed Richard Gasquet of France against No. 7 seed Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. Gasquet leads the head-to-head 3-1 although Nieminen won the last meeting on indoor hard courts in Montpellier in 2010. Gasquet is making his debut here this week and he’s playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year. He is trying to reach his 17th career ATP World Tour final (6-10 record).  Nieminen is making his seventh appearance at this event (18-6 record). He was runner-up in 2010 (l. to Garcia-Lopez) and a semi-finalist in 2003 and ’05.  Nieminen is trying to reach his 13th career ATP World Tour final (2-10 record). In January he won the title in Sydney.

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

Center Court

(1)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs (4) Gilles Simon (FRA) Simon Leads 4-1
08 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R16 Gilles Simon 7-6(4) 7-6(4)
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R16 Gilles Simon 4-6 7-6(3) 6-2
11 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (USA) Hard R32 Gilles Simon 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3
12 ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo  Clay R16 Gilles Simon 6-0 4-6 6-1
12 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid  Clay R16 Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(3) 5-7 6-1

Tipsarevic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Stuttgart (d Monaco); F(2): Chennai (l Raonic); Gstaad (l Bellucci); SF(3): Marseille (l Llodra); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Djokovic); QF(4): Dubai (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Murray); Barcelona (l Nadal); US Open (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 50-19 (24-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: June 22, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 9
 
• Tipsarevic, 28, who is playing in Bangkok for the first time, has rolled into his seventh ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (3-3 mark) with a pair of straight-set wins
• Has held serve 19 of 21 games (90%), saving seven of nine break points…Has won 80% of first serve points (No. 3) and 58% of second serve points (No. 4)
• The No. 2 Serb (behind No. 2 Djokovic) is trying to reach his fourth ATP World Tour final of the season and 11th in his career (3-7 record)…He won his third title in Stuttgart (d. Monaco) in July and runner-up in first week in Chennai (l. to Raonic) and in Gstaad (l. to Bellucci) in July
• Has a 50-19 match record this season, his second straight 50-match wins campaign (54-26 last year)

Simon FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Bucharest (d Fognini); SF(4): Brisbane (l Dolgopolov); Montpellier (l Monfils); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Nadal); Nice (l Almagro); QF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 37-20 (15-7 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 19

• Simon, 27, is making his third appearance in Bangkok (8-1 record)…He won the title three years ago (d. Troicki) and reached the semi-finals last year (l. to Murray)…Leads the tournament (along w/Petzschner) in return games won (9 of 18, 50%)
• The No. 3 Frenchman (behind No. 7 Tsonga, No. 14 Gasquet) is playing in his sixth ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (1-4 record)…In late April, won his 10th career title in Bucharest (d. Fognini)
• He is trying to reach his 13th ATP World Tour final (10-2 record)
• Has a 17-42 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents (2-5 this year) and has lost four in a row since his last win over No. 5 Tsonga in the quarter-finals of Monte Carlo in April

(7) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs (2) Richard Gasquet (FRA) Gasquet Leads 3-1
06 ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (Spain)  Hard R64 Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-3
07 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (USA)Hard R32 Richard Gasquet 6-3 1-6 6-3
10 Brisbane (Australia) Hard R32 Richard Gasquet 6-3 4-6 6-4
10 Montpellier (France) Hard R16 Jarkko Nieminen 4-6 7-6(6) 6-2
Other meetings:
02 Tampere CH (Finland) Clay F Jarkko Nieminen 7-5 7-6(2)
04 Luxembourg CH (Luxembourg) Hard R32 Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4

Nieminen FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Sydney (d Benneteau); QF(3): Montpellier (l Monfils); Rotterdam (l Federer); Belgrade (l Paire)
YTD W-L: 25-22 (18-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: July 23, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 38

• Nieminen, 31, is making his seventh appearance in Bangkok (18-6 record), reaching the final in 2010 (l. to Garcia-Lopez) and the semi-finals in 2003 (l. to Dent) and 2005 (l. to Federer)
• Leads the tournament with 76% first serve percentage has held serve 22 of 25 games (88%)…Has broken opponents eight of 23 games (35%), No. 3 this week
• The Finnish native is playing in his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year…In January, he captured his second career title in Sydney (d. Benneteau)…Has a 2-10 career mark in finals
• On Friday defeated No. 15 Milos Raonic and trying to beat two Top 20 players at the same event for first time since Basel in October 2007 (No. 12 Guillermo Canas, No. 8 Fernando Gonzalez)

Gasquet FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F(2): Estoril (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Djokovic); QF(5): Sydney (l Istomin); Montpellier (l Kohlschreiber); Rotterdam (l Davydenko); Marseille (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 35-18 (20-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: June 18, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 14
 
• Gasquet, 26, is making his debut here this week and in opening match, defeated Grigor Dimitrov 57 75 64 before knocking off No. 8 seed Bernard Tomic 76(5) 64 in the quarter-finals
• Leads the tournament in second serve points won (79%) and has held serve 26 of 28 games (93%), saving eight of 10 break points
• The No. 2 Frenchman (behind No. 7 Tsonga) is playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (2-0)…He was runner-up in Estoril in May (l. to del Potro) and ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Djokovic) in August
• He is trying to reach his 17th ATP World Tour final (6-10 record)..His last title came in Nice in May 2010

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)  Nieminen Leads 1-0
06 St. Petersburg (Russia) Carpet R32 Jarkko Nieminen 7-5 6-2

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs Richard Gasquet (FRA)  Gasquet Leads 2-0
05 London / Queen's Club (England) Grass R64 Richard Gasquet 6-1 7-6(3)
12 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-1
Other meeting:
03 Sarajevo CH (B&H) Hard SF Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-1
 
Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)   Tied 2-2
06 Marseille (France) Hard R32 Gilles Simon 4-6 6-3 6-2
06 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R16 Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(1) 6-1
10 Hamburg (Germany) Clay R32 Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 3-6 7-5
11 Hamburg (Germany) Clay R16 Gilles Simon 7-6(4) 3-6 6-4

Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Richard Gasquet (FRA)   Gasquet Leads 5-0
06 Nottingham (England) Grass QF Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-1
06 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Richard Gasquet 6-0 6-2 6-3
08 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R32 Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7(3)  6-3
09 Sydney (Australia) Hard R16 Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4
11 Dubai (U.A.E.) Hard QF Richard Gasquet 5-7 6-2 6-4
Other meeting:
10 Sunrise CH (USA) Hard R32 Gilles Simon 6-4 6-4


KUALA LUMPUR SATURDAY PREVIEW - TOP THREE SEEDS, NO. 7 HEADLINE SEMI-FINALS

• The Top 3 seeds - as well as the No. 7 seed - make up the final four at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur and they’ll square off on Saturday for a spot in the ATP World Tour 250-level final.

• The first semi-final pits No. 2 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina against No. 3 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan. Both players have had breakthrough seasons - Monaco broke the Top 10 for the first time, Nishikori the Top 20 - and now they will square off for a spot in the final. Their head-to-head series is tied, 1-1, with Nishikori winning at the 2008 US Open and Monaco in Winston-Salem last year.  Monaco is making his debut here this week and the Argentine is playing in his sixth ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (4-1 record). He is trying to reach his 16th career ATP World Tour final (6-9), second on hard courts (0-1). Nishikori is making his third appearance at this event (5-2 record) and second straight in the semi-finals. He  is playing in his first semi-final of the year (was 0-6 in QFs). Nishikori is trying to reach his fourth career ATP World Tour final (1-2).

• In the second semi-final, top seed David Ferrer of Spain takes a 4-3 career mark against No. 7 seed Julien Benneteau of France. Ferrer is now the ATP World Tour’s match win leader for the year with 62 wins (he passed Roger Federer’s 61 on Friday) and is trying to win his sixth ATP World Tour title of the year here (which would tie Federer for most this year). Although Ferrer leads the head-to-head, 4-3,  Benneteau is up 2-1 on hard courts (and in their only indoor meeting in Marseille in 2007, Benneteau won 46 60 61).  Ferrer is making his third appearance at this event (5-2 record). He reached the semi-finals two years ago (l. to Golubev). Ferrer is in his 10th ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (6-3). He is trying to reach his 32nd ATP World Tour final (16-15 record). Benneteau is making his debut here this week and he’ playing in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year. He was runner-up in Sydney (l. to Nieminen) in January. He is trying to reach his seventh ATP World Tour final (0-6). He is
0-7 against Top 10 players this year. The last time he beat a Top 10 player was 13 months ago in the first round at the US Open (d. No. 10 Almagro).

2012 MATCH WINS LEADERS – Ferrer leads the ATP World Tour with 62 match wins:
   W-L Titles
1) David Ferrer  62-12     5
2) Roger Federer 61-8     6
3) Novak Djokovic 60-11     3
4) Nicolas Almagro 54-17     2
5) Juan Martin del Potro 53-14     2

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

Center Court

(1)David Ferrer (ESP) vs (7) Julien Benneteau (FRA) Ferrer Leads 4-3
04 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 Julien Benneteau 6-3 1-6 6-2 7-5
05 Valencia (Spain) Clay R32 David Ferrer 6-4 6-1
07 Marseille (France) Hard R16 Julien Benneteau 4-6 6-0 6-1
07 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo  Clay R32 David Ferrer 6-1 7-5
08 Auckland (New Zealand) Hard QF Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-0
11 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 6-2
12 ATP Masters 1000 Miami (USA) Hard R32 David Ferrer 7-6(5) 6-4
Other meeting:
02 Napoli CH (Italy) Clay QF David Ferrer 6-2 4-6 6-4

Ferrer FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W(5): Auckland (d Rochus); Buenos Aires (d Almagro); Acapulco (d Verdasco); s-Hertogenbosch (d Petzschner); Bastad (d Almagro); F: Barcelona (l Nadal); SF(3): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal); Roland Garros (l Nadal); US Open (l Djokovic); QF(4): Australian Open (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); Wimbledon (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 62-12 (19-5 on hard)
YTD Titles: 5/Career Titles: 16
Date of Birth: April 2, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 5

• Ferrer, 30, who is appearing in Kuala Lumpur for the third time (5-2 record), is playing in the semi-finals for the second time in three years…In 2010 he lost to Andrey Golubev
• The No. 2 Spaniard is playing in his 10th ATP World Tour semi-final this year (6-3 mark)…He leads the ATP World Tour with 62 match wins and is second with a career-high five titles (Federer leads with six)
• His five titles have come on three different surfaces: Auckland on hard, Buenos Aires, Acapulco and Bastad on clay, and ‘s-Hertogenbosch on grass…Also runner-up on clay in Barcelona
• Compiled a career-best 18-4 record in Grand Slam tournaments, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal) and the US Open (l. to Djokovic) along with the quarter-finals at Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and Wimbledon (l. to Murray)…It was first time he reached QFs-better at each in a year
• Has a 16-15 career record in ATP World Tour finals and won his lone indoor title in Valencia in 2010

Benneteau FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Sydney (l Nieminen); SF: San Jose (l Istomin)
YTD W-L: 24-19 (7-3 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: December 20, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 34

• Benneteau, 30, who is appearing in Kuala Lumpur for the first time, is making his debut this week… He has not dropped a set in his first three wins, holding serve 26 of 28 games
• This is the Frenchman’s third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season and in opening month, advanced to his sixth career final (0-6) in Sydney (l. to Nieminen)…Also a semi-finalist in February in San Jose (l. to Istomin)
• Has played in 198 career ATP World Tour level tournaments without a title, most among active players
• Has a 9-33 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents (0-7 this year) and his last win came over another Spaniard, No. 10 Nicolas Almagro in the first round of last year’s US Open

(3) Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs (2) Juan Monaco (ARG) Tied 1-1
08 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R128 Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-2 5-7 6-2
11 Winston-Salem (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Juan Monaco 6-0 6-3

Nishikori FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF(6): Australian Open (l Murray); Buenos Aires (l Wawrinka); Barcelona (l Verdasco); Newport (l Ram); Atlanta (l Soeda); London Olympics (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 30-16 (16-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 29, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 17

• Nishikori, 22, is making his second straight semi-final showing in Kuala Lumpur (5-2 record) after losing to eventual champion Janko Tipsarevic last season
• This is the top Asian’s first ATP World Tour semi-finals of the season after six quarter-final showings – two on hard courts (Australian Open, Atlanta) two on clay (Buenos Aires, Barcelona) and two on grass (Newport, London Olympics)
• Comes in ranked No. 17 with a 30-16 match record (16-9 on hard) and reached a career-high No. 16 on
March 19…Finished last season as highest-ranked Japanese player ever at No. 25
• Has a 1-2 career mark in ATP World Tour finals, winning his lone title in Delray Beach in February 2008 (d. Blake)…Also runner-up in Houston (l. to Sweeting) and Basel (l. to Federer) last season

Monaco FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W(3): Vina del Mar (d Berlocq); Houston (d Isner); Hamburg (d Haas); F: Stuttgart (l Tipsarevic); SF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 35-15 (8-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 3
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: March 29, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 11
 
• Monaco, 28, who is appearing in Kuala Lumpur for the first time, after a bye has won his first two matches in straight sets over wild card Jimmy Wang 64 75 and Canadian Vasek Pospisil 63 64
• The No. 2 Argentine (behind No. 8 del Potro) is playing in his sixth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season (4-1 record) and a winner of three clay titles – Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) in February, Houston (d. Isner) in April and Hamburg (d. Haas) in July…Also runner-up in Stuttgart (l. to Tipsarevic)
• Broke the Top 10 for the first time on July 23 after Hamburg and spent three weeks at No. 10…Came in this week ranked No. 11
• Has a 35-15 match record on the season (8-6 on hard, 24-7 on clay)
• Has a 6-8 career mark in ATP World Tour finals with all but one coming on clay…Last November reached his first final on hard courts in Valencia (l. to Granollers)
 
POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS

David Ferrer (ESP) vs Kei Nishikori (JPN)   Nishikori Leads 2-1
08 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6 7-5
11 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R32 David Ferrer 6-4 6-3
12 London Olympics (Great Britain) Grass R16 Kei Nishikori 6-0 3-6 6-4

David Ferrer (ESP) vs Juan Monaco (ARG)   Monaco Leads 4-3
04 Kitzbuhel (Austria) Clay R32 Juan Monaco 6-3 6-4
05 Stuttgart (Germany) Clay R32 Juan Monaco 6-4 6-2
07 ATP Masters 1000 Miami (U.S.A.) Hard R64 David Ferrer 6-2 6-2
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R32 Juan Monaco 6-4 6-4
09 Hamburg (Germany) Clay R16 David Ferrer 4-6 7-5 6-2
11 Acapulco (Mexico) Clay QF David Ferrer 2-6 7-5 6-2
11 Valencia (Spain) Hard SF Juan Monaco 7-5 1-6 6-3

Julien Benneteau (FRA) vs Kei Nishikori (JPN)   Tied 1-1
07 Washington (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Julien Benneteau 6-2 6-3
12 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Kei Nishikori 4-6 7-6(3)  7-6(4)  6-3

Julien Benneteau (FRA) vs Juan Monaco (ARG)  First Meeting

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