• Simon, Monaco square off in Paris second round

    11/9/11 3:50 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Monaco square off in Paris second round Juan Monaco has played a ton of tennis recently and the stretch will continue on Wednesday in Paris. For Gilles Simon, it is opening match of what is likely his final tournament of the season.

    Gilles Simon and Juan Monaco will be doing battle for the fifth time in their careers but for the first time in more than three years when they clash in round two of the BNP Paribas Masters on Wednesday night.

    Simon leads the head-to-head series 3-1, including 1-0 indoors--their only meeting off of clay. That encounter came at the 2008 Lyon event, where Simon prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Monaco's lone victory over Simon came in their first meeting at the 2005 Casablanca tournament, a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win.

    Monaco is definitely the more tired of the two competitors, but he is also enjoying superior form. The 34th-ranked Argentine went all the way to the Valencia Open final last week before getting outlasted by Marcel Granollers in a third-set tiebreaker. Monaco bounced right back on Tuesday and improved his 2011 record to 29-25 by cruising past Donald Young 6-4, 6-2.

    Simon had been in realistic World Tour Finals contention at the end of the American hard-court summer, but those ideas have vanquished with a lackluster fall swing. The 14th-ranked Frenchman is a dismal 3-6 since the U.S. Open and he is coming off consecutive first-round exits it St. Petersburg and Valencia.

    Home-court advantage in France should help Simon get back on track, and he will obviously have more in the tank than his opponent. Monaco is playing great tennis, but at some point his run has to give out. Simon to pull away in three sets is the pick.

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This year the Bercy crowd are if anything worse than usual. And the umpires and officials seem unwilling to bring them under control although admittedly one troublemaker was ejected yesterday.

I'm not so sure the home crowd support will work in Simon's favour: he might buckle under the sheer weight of their expectations as he has been known to do in DC matches.

ed251137 , 11/9/11 10:53 AM

really nice to see it.

, 11/28/11 4:35 PM

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