• Del Potro, Monfils bid for Valencia semifinals

    11/4/11 12:51 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Del Potro, Monfils bid for Valencia semifinals Juan Martin Del Potro and Gael Monfils will be in quarterfinal action on Friday in Valencia. They are ready for respective encounters with Sam Querrey and Marcel Granollers.

    (6) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Sam Querrey

    This could have been a rematch of last Sunday's Vienna title match between Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, which Tsonga won in three sets. Instead, Querrey crashed the party and upset Tsonga 7-6(5), 6-2 during second-round action at the Valencia Open. The 6'6'' American, who had been out for almost the entire second half of the season, had not won an ATP match since Queen's Club. Querrey, who opened with a routine win over Ernests Gulbis, is now 12-14 at the ATP level in 2011.

    Friday's quarterfinal clash pits Querrey against Del Potro for the second time. Their only previous encounter came in the 2009 Auckland final, which Del Potro won 6-4, 6-4. The 14th-ranked Argentine has to be favored again, having compiled a 47-15 record this year and owning momentum from last week's performance in Vienna. Look for Del Potro, who has erased Dmitry Tursunov and Kevin Anderson in Valencia, to advance in straight sets.

    Marcel Granollers vs. (3) Gael Monfils

    Granollers and Monfils will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they do battle in quarterfinal action on Friday. Their only previous encounter came two years ago at this same event, with Monfils scoring a 6-4, 6-2 first-round victory. For Granollers, that was a rare loss in Valencia. Including qualifying matches (which he had to play in 2007 and 2010), the 34th-ranked Spaniard is 13-3 in three appearances. He improved his 2011 record to an even 24-24 by defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov and Marin Cilic earlier this week.

    Monfils has been consistent the entire season and he is especially heating up now, in time for one of his favorite tournaments (the Paris Masters). The 10th-ranked Frenchman seems to be maintaining focus in between Stockholm, where he captured the title, and Paris. So far in Valencia he has taken out Spaniards Albert Montanes and Pablo Andujar. The No. 3 seed's record for the year is now a stellar 38-14 and he is in distant World Tour Finals contention. An upset is definitely possible in front of Granollers' Spanish fans, but Monfils in three sets is the pick.

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