• Ferrero, Montanes square off in all-Spanish semi

    7/17/10 5:54 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrero, Montanes square off in all-Spanish semi Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Montanes will do battle on the clay courts of Stuttgart on Saturday. A place in the title match is at stake.

    Not surprisingly, a return to the clay has meant good news for the Spaniards. Six of this week's semifinalists in the two ATP tournaments are from Spain, including three of four at the Mercedes Cup.

    Two Spanish players will be going head-to-head on Saturday in Stuttgart, as Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Montanes meet in semifinal action. Ferrer is a perfect 5-0 against Montanes, including 3-0 on the slow stuff. They most recently faced each other last year in Costa Do Sauipe, with Ferrero prevailing 6-7(4) 6-2 6-2.

    Montanes, though, has been a force to be reckoned with on dirt this season. He reached the Monte-Carlo quarterfinals and won the Estoril title, taking out Roger Federer in the process. The 30th-ranked Spaniard is 23-15 for his 2010 campaign after wins this week over Philipp Petzschner, Juan Ignacio Chela, and Jurgen Melzer.

    Ferrero did not play as well as Montanes during the more recent clay-court tournaments, but he dominated the February swing (two titles and one runner-up finish). The 2003 French Open champion appears to be regaining his form, as he has dismissed Horacio Zeballos and Simon Greul so far in Stuttgart.

    This one could go either way and should feature impressive tennis from start to finish, worthy of a final. Montanes, however, has a slight edge in current form and should be able to advance in three tight sets.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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