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Monaco To Defend Houston Title

Houston, U.S.A.

Monaco© AFP/Getty ImagesJuan Monaco will defend his Houston title.

Argentina's Juan Monaco will defend his US Men's Clay Court Championship title when the tournament returns to River Oaks Country Club April 8-14, and he will be accompanied in the field by American Sam Querrey and Frenchman Gael Monfils.

These three players join the previously announced commitments from top-ranked American John Isner and Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco in the singles field and American twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the doubles field.

These singles entries put five players from the Top 25 of the current Emirates ATP Rankings into the field for the tournament at River Oaks. As of Monday, Almagro was No. 11, Monaco No. 15, Isner No. 16, Querrey No. 20 and Verdasco No. 24.

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"We always take pride in exposing our fans to new players, so it is with great pleasure we can have guys like Monfils, Almagro and Verdasco making their River Oaks debut this year," said Tournament Director Van Barry. "We are also happy to welcome back familiar faces. Juan Monaco was a popular champion last year, and the group of Americans we have returning have long been fan favourites here in Houston."

Monaco will try to be the first repeat champion of the event since the recently retired Andy Roddick, won back-to-back titles in 2001-02. The win at River Oaks last year was one of his career-high four titles in 2012. He has reached at least one clay-court final in seven of the past eight seasons, and six of Monaco's seven career titles have come on clay.

Querrey teamed with James Blake to win the 2012 doubles title at River Oaks. He's also enjoyed singles success, reaching the final in 2010. He has won seven titles while appearing in 12 finals in his career, and earlier this month helped the US reach the Davis Cup quarter-finals with a pair of singles wins against Brazil.

Monfils has finished in the Top 20 in four of the past five seasons. He has reached 17 ATP World Tour finals, winning four titles. He was a finalist twice early in 2012 before a knee injury forced him to miss nearly four months. He already has reached one semi-final and another quarter-final early in 2013.

In last year's final, Monaco defeated Isner, who in 2012 reached the Top 10 for the first time. Almagro has led the ATP World Tour in clay-court match wins three times in the past five seasons and is one of only four players with over 200 career clay court wins. Verdasco has reached 10 career clay-court finals and finished in the Top 25 in five straight seasons.

The Bryan Brothers are the World No. 1 doubles team and four-time champions at the US Men's Clay Court Championship. They own the record for Grand Slam titles with 13 together as well as total career titles together with 84. 

Individual session tickets and the very popular “Champ Pass” are on sale on now. The Champ Pass for the 2013 US Men’s Clay Court Championship includes a ticket to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions. "The Champ Pass" usually sells out before the tournament begins. A limited number of season ticket packages are still remaining. Information on tickets can be found at www.mensclaycourt.com or by calling 713-874-6294.
 
Additional player commitments as well as a full schedule of special events will be announced in the weeks leading up to the 2013 US Men's Clay Court Championship.


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