• Ferrero, Robredo ready for Umag openers

    7/25/11 11:06 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrero, Robredo ready for Umag openers A pair of veteran Spaniards will take the court in Umag on Tuesday. Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo are set for respective meetings with Maximo Gonzalez and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

    Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Maximo Gonzalez

    Ferrero and Gonzalez will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they do battle in the first round of the Studena Croatia Open on Tuesday. Their only previous encounter came at this same event two years ago, with Ferrero taking a quarterfinal clash 7-5, 6-2. The 31-year-old Spaniard has to be favored once again even though he has endured an injury-plagued season. Ferrero has participated in just four tournaments, but he captured the Stuttgart title earlier this month.

    Gonzalez missed much of 2010 due to an ACL injury, but he enjoyed some success at the Challenger level early this season and he registers at No. 97 in the world, 24 spots behind Ferrero. The veteran Argentine is in the midst of nine-match losing streak at both the Challenger and ATP levels dating back to the Monte-Carlo second round. As a result, Ferrero in straight sets is the obvious pick.

    (5) Tommy Robredo vs. (Q) Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo

    Robredo and Ramirez Hidalgo will be meeting for the fourth time in their careers when the two Spaniards collide in Umag on Tuesday. All three of their previous matchups have gone in Robredo's favor, including their lone clay-court encounter (Robredo prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 two years ago in Acapulco). Ramirez Hidalgo, though, cannot be taken lightly. Although the 33-year-old is just 5-14 at the ATP level this season, he will be playing with confidence having come through Umag qualifying.

    On the brink of U.S. Open seeding at No. 36 in the world, Robredo is a solid 18-7 for his 2011 campaign. However, the 29-year-old Spaniard has been dealing with physical problems and he has not won a match since the Monte-Carlo second round. Three of his last four events have ended either in retirement or walkover. This could go either way, but look for Robredo to survive in three sets.

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