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Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur Thursday Preview

Raonic© BEC-TeroMilos Raonic makes his Bangkok debut on Thursday.

BANGKOK THURSDAY PREVIEW - FOUR FORMER TOP 10 PLAYERS AMONG SIX  MATCHES
• The last six spots in the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open are up for grabs on Thursday, with three former Top 10 players in action on Center Court - and another one playing on Court 1.

• First on Center Court is No. 8 seed Bernard Tomic against Israel’s Dudi Sela. After a breakout year in 2011 campaign, 2012 hasn’t been as kind to Tomic, as he has made the quarter-finals in just three of his first 22 tournaments of the year. In order to reach his fourth he will have to get past Sela in a first-time ATP World Tour meeting, but Sela did beat him in their only meeting in a Challenger last season.

• Next on is No. 6 seed Viktor Troicki against France’s Gael Monfils,  a former World No. 7 working his way back into form after missing nearly four months with a knee injury. Monfils is 2-0 against Troicki, though he barely won one of those meetings - his 36 76(0) 76(5) win in Montreal last summer saw him save three match points down 6-5 in the second set and rally from a break down in the third.

• Next up is No. 5 seed Fernando Verdasco against American Donald Young, who came into Bangkok having lost 19 of his last 20 matches. It may not completely turn the trend but he won his first round match here against Yen-Hsun Lu, and now he takes on former World No. 7 Verdasco in a first-time meeting. Young is 2-6 against Top 10 players (the two wins both coming in 2011, over Andy Murray at Indian Wells and Monfils here in Bangkok).

• The first night match pits No. 3 seed Milos Raonic against Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, a match-up between two of the biggest servers the ATP World Tour. Raonic had a strong summer hard court season, reaching his first two ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals in Toronto and Cincinnati, then matching his best Grand Slam performance with a run to the fourth round at the US Open, after which he set a new career-high of No. 15. After going 2-0 in Davis Cup play he now gets back on the ATP World Tour with a first-time meeting against former No. 14 Karlovic.

• Last up is No. 2 seed Richard Gasquet against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. Gasquet is also coming off a very strong summer hardcourt season, highlighted by making his third Masters 1000 final in Toronto (his first two came at Hamburg in 2005 and Toronto in 2006). Another former World No. 7, Gasquet will open against Dimitrov, and he has won both previous meetings (though one was a three-hour, 26-minute, cramp-filled marathon at the French Open earlier this year).

• Over on Court 1, No. 4 seed Gilles Simon has a first time meeting with Japan’s Go Soeda. Like Monfils, Verdasco and Gasquet, Simon is also a former Top 10 player - but while all the others peaked at No. 7, Simon has made it all the way up to No. 6 before, during the 2009 season

THURSDAY SECOND ROUND FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS - In Order of Play by Court

Center Court

(8) Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs Dudi Sela (ISR)  First ATP Meeting
Other meeting:
11 Nottingham-2 CH (Great Britain) Hard SF Dudi Sela 7-5 6-4

Tomic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Brisbane (l Murray); QF(2): Delray Beach (l Isner); Munich (l Lopez)
YTD W-L: 25-23 (16-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 21, 1992
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 41

Sela FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Delray Beach (l Matosevic); QF(2): Chennai (l Raonic); Newport (l Hewitt)
YTD W-L: 12-18 (9-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 4, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 106

Gael Monfils (FRA) vs (6) Viktor Troicki (SRB)  Monfils Leads 2-0
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Montreal Hard R16 Gael Monfils 3-6 7-6(0) -6(5)
12 Doha (Qatar) Hard QF Gael Monfils 6-2 6-3

Monfils FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F(2): Doha (l Tsonga); Montpellier (l Berdych); SF: Metz (l Seppi)
YTD W-L: 18-8 (15-5 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 45
 
Troicki FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF(2): Doha (l Monfils); Rotterdam (l Del Potro)
YTD W-L: 24-23 (12-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: February 10, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 31

Donald Young (USA) vs (5) Fernando Verdasco (ESP)  First Meeting

Young FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-22 (4-12 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: July 23, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 124

Verdasco FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Acapulco (l Ferrer); SF(3): Auckland (l Ferrer); Barcelona (l Nadal); Umag (l Granollers); QF(2): Sao Paulo (l Ramos); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 28-17 (7-5 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 15, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 23

Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs (3) Milos Raonic (CAN)   First Meeting

Karlovic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF(2): Zagreb (l Youzhny); Metz (l Davydenko)
YTD W-L: 13-14 (11-8 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: February 28, 1979  
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 80

Raonic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W(2): Chennai (d Tipsarevic); San Jose (d Istomin); F: Memphis (l Melzer); SF: Barcelona (l Ferrer); QF(3): Halle (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Isner); ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l Wawrinka)
YTD W-L: 38-15 (26-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: December 27, 1990
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 15

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs (2) Richard Gasquet (FRA) Gasquet Leads 2-0
11 Dubai (U.A.E.) Hard R32 Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-4
12 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 Richard Gasquet 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-3

Dimitrov FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF(3): London / Queen's Club (l Nalbandian); Bastad (l Ferrer); Gstaad (l Bellucci)
YTD W-L: 20-14 (6-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: May 16, 1991
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 56

Gasquet FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F(2): Estoril (l Del Potro); ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l Djokovic); QF(5): Sydney (l Istomin); Montpellier (l Kohlschreiber); Rotterdam (l Davydenko); Marseille (l Del Potro); ATP Masters 1000 Rome (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 33-18 (18-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: June 18, 1986
South African Airways  ATP Ranking: 14

Court 1

(4) Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Go Soeda (JPN)   First Meeting

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: 35-20 (14-7 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 10
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 19

Soeda FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF(2): Chennai (l Tipsarevic); Atlanta (l Muller)
YTD W-L: 12-16 (9-7 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 5, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 52



KUALA LUMPUR THURSDAY PREVIEW - TOP 4 SEEDS OPEN CAMPAIGNS IN KUALA LUMPUR
• The Top 4 seeds - including the World No. 5, one of the hottest players of the year - will play their opening matches Thursday as the second round wraps up at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur.

• First on Center Court is No. 2 seed Juan Monaco against Chinese Taipei wild card Jimmy Wang. Monaco has had his best season to date, winning three ATP World Tour titles and breaking into the Top 10 for the first time (he spent three weeks at No. 10 in the summer - he is now at No. 11). The No. 151-ranked Wang can’t be underestimated though - he has been as high as No. 85 and has two Top 20 wins (James Blake in 2004, Nikolay Davydenko in 2006).

• Next up is Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin. These two are almost as close as possible in the rankings - Davydenko No. 44, Istomin No. 46 - but while Istomin came into this event on somewhat of a slump, losing his opening match at his last three tournaments, Davydenko came in on a high, reaching the semi-finals in Metz last week. The former World No. 3 is also a former champion at this event in 2009 and he beat Istomin in the pair’s only previous meeting in Nice in May.

• Next is No. 4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov against Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. A few days ago these two were baking cookies together for the Dignity For Children foundation, and now they will go toe-to-toe on the court. While Dolgopolov won their only previous meeting, pretty handily too, Falla has been known to pull off an upset or two, having nine Top 20 wins to his name (including four Top 10 wins) - a bit surprising given he has never been ranked higher than No. 48 himself.

• Next is No. 3 seed Kei Nishikori against Spain’s Albert Ramos. Nishikori’s breakthrough season has seen him reach six ATP World Tour quarter-finals already, and on all different surfaces too (two on hard, two on clay, two on grass) - but he has gone 0-6 in those matches, can he turn that around here in Kuala Lumpur? He has beaten Ramos in straight sets in both of their previous meetings, but Ramos does have three Top 20 wins to his name (one on clay, two on hard courts).

• Last up is top seed David Ferrer against Russia’s Alex Bogomolov Jr. Ferrer has been on fire this year, winning a career-high five ATP World Tour titles (second-most behind Roger Federer’s six) and a whopping 60 matches too (tied for second-most with Novak Djokovic - Federer has 61). Two weeks ago he led Spain to Davis Cup final (vs. Czech Republic) by winning both of his singles matches. He could tie Federer’s titles and become the match win leader this week but Bogomolov Jr. could provide resistance - the Russian has beaten three Top 10 players (3-15 overall).

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

Center Court

(WC) Jimmy Wang (TPE) vs (2) Juan Monaco (ARG) First Meeting

Wang FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 3-3 (3-2 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 8, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 151

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: 33-15 (6-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 3
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: March 29, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 11

Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Davydenko Leads 1-0
12 Nice (France) Clay R16 Nikolay Davydenko 6-4 1-6 6-3

Istomin FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: San Jose (l Raonic); SF: Sydney (l Nieminen); QF(2): Brisbane (l Tomic); Eastbourne (l Harrison)
YTD W-L: 28-27 (15-12 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 7, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 46

Davydenko FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF(3): Rotterdam (l Federer); Nice (l Baker); Metz (l Tsonga)
YTD W-L: 21-20 (15-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 21
Date of Birth: June 2, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 44

(4) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) vs Alejandro Falla (COL) Dolgopolov Leads 1-0
12 Brisbane (Australia) Hard R32 Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6(3) 6-2

Dolgopolov FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Washington (d Haas); F: Brisbane (l Murray); SF: Umag (l Cilic); QF(2): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Del Potro); Winston-Salem (l Querrey)
YTD W-L: 27-19 (19-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: November 7, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 20

Falla FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Auckland (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 10-19 (6-10 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: November 14, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 61

Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (3) Kei Nishikori (JPN) Nishikori Leads 2-0
12 ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo  Clay R64 Kei Nishikori 6-2  7-5
12 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R16 Kei Nishikori 7-6(2) 6-3

Ramos FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Casablanca (l Andujar); SF(2): Sao Paulo (l Almagro); Estoril (l Gasquet); QF(3): Doha (l Tsonga); Bastad (l Dimitrov); Hamburg (l Cilic)
YTD W-L: 23-24 (7-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: January 17, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 48

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: 28-16 (14-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 29, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 17

(1)David Ferrer (ESP) vs Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)  First Meeting

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: 60-12 (17-5 on hard)
YTD Titles: 5
Career Titles: 16
Date of Birth: April 2, 1982
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 5

Bogomolov Jr. FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Sydney (l Benneteau)
YTD W-L: 13-26 (10-15 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 23, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 90

Court 1

Igor Sijsling (NED) vs (5) Feliciano Lopez (ESP)  First Meeting

Sijsling FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: s-Hertogenbosch (l Ferrer)
YTD W-L: 5-7 (3-4 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: August 18, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 97

Lopez FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF(2): Houston (l Isner); Munich (l Kohlschreiber); QF(2): Barcelona (l Ferrer); Gstaad (l Bellucci)
YTD W-L: 20-21 (9-10 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: September 20, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 32

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