• Melzer, Monfils aim for Stuttgart semifinals

    7/15/10 11:46 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Melzer, Monfils aim for Stuttgart semifinals Jurgen Melzer and Gael Monfils will be in Stuttgart quarterfinal action on Friday. Juan Carlos Ferrero is also taking the court with a spot in the semis on the line against Simon Greul.

    (5) Albert Montanes vs. (2) Jurgen Melzer

    Montanes and Melzer will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers at the ATP level when they meet in the Mercedes Cup quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. Melzer leads the head-to-head series 3-2, including 2-1 on clay. Their most recent encounter came last year in Madrid, where Melzer prevailed in three sets. The 15th-ranked Austrian is playing some of the best tennis of his life at the moment (semifinals at the French Open, fourth round at Wimbledon), but Montanes has been lethal on dirt this season (won a title in Estoril). Melzer has a big edge on serve, but look for the 30th-ranked Spaniard to force enough baseline rallies to pull off a three-set victory.

    (3) Gael Monfils vs. Florian Mayer

    Five years after going head-to-head for the first time in their careers, Monfils and Mayer will once again be facing each other on Friday in Stuttgart. Their first clash came in the 2005 Sopot final, with Monfils capturing the title after three hard-fought sets. With Mayer in stellar form (he has not come close to dropping a set this week in wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez), this one could be equally competitive. Following a first-round bye, Monfils survived Pablo Andujar 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 on Thursday. The 17th-ranked Frenchman has superior talent, but don't be surprised if Mayer scores a three-set upset.

    Simon Greul vs. (4) Juan Carlos Ferrero

    It will be the first career meeting between Greul and Ferrero when the two veterans do battle on Friday. Greul has already treated his German fans to an outstanding week having defeated both Michael Berrer and Gilles Simon in straight sets. The world No. 73 is is now 12-19 at the ATP level this season and continues to play well on clay. Ferrero, always a force on the slow stuff, battled past Horacio Zeballos 6-7(1), 7-6(3), 6-2 in his first Stuttgart match. The 21st-ranked Spaniard is not at his very best level right now, but he should have enough to end Greul's run in three sets.

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1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
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