• Simon, Montanes kick off Mercedes Cup campaigns

    7/12/10 11:52 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Montanes kick off Mercedes Cup campaigns Gilles Simon and Albert Montanes will contest their Stuttgart openers on Tuesday. An all-German showdown between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer in also in the cards.

    (7) Gilles Simon vs. (WC) Dustin Brown

    Simon has played only 10 ATP-level matches this season due to knee tendinitis and he is down at No. 33 in the world rankings. The Frenchman, though, won a dead Davis Cup rubber over Nicolas Almagro last weekend. While that normally would mean nothing, for Simon it has to provide some much-needed confidence. Brown has earned all five of his career ATP victories this year and he has cracked the Top 100 for the first time, but the 25-year-old Jamaican does his best work on faster surfaces. On clay, Simon should advance comfortably in straight sets.

    (5) Albert Montanes vs. Philipp Petzschner

    Like Simon and Brown, Montanes and Petzschner will be squaring off for the first time in their careers when they meet in the Suttgart first round on Tuesday. Both players are in fine form at the moment; Montanes (21-15 in 2011, 30th in the world) enjoyed a strong run on the clay and Petzschner (20-13, 38th) used his power game to achieve stellar grass-court results. Petzschner would have the edge on any other surface, but look for Montanes to hold him off in three sets.

    Florian Mayer vs. (6) Philipp Kohlschreiber

    The German fans will be treated to a clash between two of their countrymen on Tuesday in Stuttgart when Mayer and Kohlschreiber go head-to-head at the ATP level for the third time in their careers. Kohlschreiber won both of their previous encounters, but none came on clay and one resulted in first-set Mayer retirement. Mayer has endured some physical problems in recent years, but he is back up to 56th in the rankings and is coming off a third-round showing at Wimbledon. Kohlschreiber has been his ever-solid self in 2010 and he should have enough to get past his underdog compatriot in three sets.

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