• Ferrero, Monaco battle for Valencia semifinals

    11/4/11 4:26 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrero, Monaco battle for Valencia semifinals An all-unseeded clash on Friday in Valencia will feature Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Monaco. A place in the semifinals is at stake.

    Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Monaco will be facing each other for the third time in their careers--all in the past two seasons--when they clash in the Valencia Open quarterfinals on Friday.

    Ferrero leads the overall head-to-head series 2-1, but Monaco took their only previous hard-court encounter 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 last year at the Indian Wells Masters. That was preceded by a pair of Ferrero victories on the clay courts of Buenos Aires and Acapulco.

    Monaco generally does his best work on the slow stuff, but he is no stranger to success during the fall season. The 41st-ranked Argentine reached the Shanghai Masters semis last fall then ousted Andy Murray at this same Valencia event to reach the quarters. Monaco is back in the last eight after dismissing Nicolas Almagro and Fabio Fognini, the latter 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday.

    Ferrero had a much more difficult time of things in his second-round clash against Alex Bogomolov. The veteran Spaniard failed to serve out sets on four different occasions; three times in the first and once in the third before he broke for victory. Ferrero, ranked 58th in the world mainly due to injuries, is now 20-9 for the year.

    While Ferrero has a home-court advantage, the fatigue factor certainly sides with Monaco. Ferrero needed two hours and 51 minutes to get past Bogomolov and there is no way he can prevent this one from being another grueling baseline battle. As a result, Monaco in three sets is the pick.

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