• Raonic faces Dimitrov, Monfils takes on Anderson

    10/20/11 9:54 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Raonic faces Dimitrov, Monfils takes on Anderson Up-and-comers Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov will battle for a semifinal spot on Friday in Stockholm. Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson are also in action.

    Grigor Dimitrov vs. (6) Milos Raonic

    Two of the brightest rising stars in the sport will be squaring off for the first time at the ATP level when Dimitrov and Raonic take the court for quarterfinal action at the If Stockholm Open on Friday. The two 20-year-olds have faced each other once on the Futures circuit, with Dimitrov scoring a 6-4, 6-2 win in 2009. Two years later, though, the Bulgarian is an underdog at No. 70 in the world. So far this week Dimitrov has taken out Ryan Sweeting and Juan Ignacio Chela to improve his 2011 record to 18-24.

    Raonic has surged into prominence this season, and he would be ranked even higher than 29th had he not injured his hip at Wimbledon. The 6'5'' Canadian caught fire to begin the year and he appears to be rounding back into form post-injury. Raonic struggled in Asia, but be booked his spot in the Stockholm quarterfinals with victories over Marcos Baghdatis and Philipp Petzschner. Unless he serves poorly, the No. 6 seed should prevail in a pair of competitive sets.

    (1) Gael Monfils vs. (5) Kevin Anderson

    Both Monfils and Anderson battled through difficult second-round matches to set up a tough quarterfinal matchup between the No. 1 and No. 5 seeds, respectively. Following a first-round bye, Monfils ousted Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4. Anderson, after beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a pair of tiebreakers, fought past Tommy Haas 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4.

    The two competitors are in stellar form this season heading into their first career meeting. Despite some minor injury issues, Monfils owns a 33-14 record for his 2011 campaign and registers at No. 10 in the world. Anderson is up to No. 31 in the rankings having won 37 ATP matches against 23 losses. The 6'8'' South African served incredibly well against Haas and a similar performance on Friday should be enough to score an upset.

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