• Simon, Melzer meet at Western & Southern Open

    8/16/11 2:29 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Melzer meet at Western & Southern Open Jurgen Melzer was at the mercy of the Cincinnati draw going in as an unseeded entrant. He did not get the worst of luck, but he does have to face tough Frenchman Gilles Simon in a marquee matchup on Tuesday.

    Gilles Simon and Jurgen Melzer will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers when they do battle in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday afternoon.

    Melzer leads the head-to-head series 2-1, but Simon took their only hard-court encounter 6-4, 7-6(3) two years ago in Bangkok. They most recently faced each other on clay in Davis Cup action a few months ago, with Melzer taking care of his home court and scoring a 7-6(7), 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 win.

    Right now it is Simon who is showing superior form. He is injury-free and up to No. 12 in the world rankings thanks to a 30-18 record for the season. Simon recently captured the Hamburg title, his second of 2011 following a triumph in Sydney. Montreal's No. 10 seed, though, is looking to bounced back from a first-round loss in Montreal to Philipp Petzschner.

    Melzer surged into the Top 10 last season, but he now finds himself toiling at No. 18 in the world--a spot to which he has been more accustomed throughout his career. The 30-year-old Austrian is just 17-15 for his 2011 campaign. He advanced to the Hamburg quarterfinals last month, but recent results also include opening-match ousters in Stuttgart and Washington.

    From the baseline, Simon should take charge in this one due to current form and what has to be a much higher level of confidence off the ground. Unless Melzer suddenly begins to find the range with his all-court game, he will have to serve extremely well and keep his opponent out of a groundstroke rhythm. Count on Simon prevailing in two entertaining sets.

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