• Fish goes up against Monaco in Paris third round

    11/10/11 4:37 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Fish goes up against Monaco in Paris third round Mardy Fish will look to end Juan Monaco's hot streak when they take the court on Thursday in Paris. Fish and Monaco are battling for a quarterfinal spot.

    Mardy Fish and Juan Monaco will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and second time this season when they clash in round three of the BNP Paribas Masters on Thursday.

    Fish leads the head-to-head series 2-1, including 1-0 on hard courts. Their first-ever meeting was a thriller at the 2005 Australian Open, where Fish prevailed 2-6, 6-0, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7. They most recently faced each other at this year's World Team Cup on the clay courts of Dusseldorf, with Monaco scoring a 7-6(4), 7-5 victory.

    Both players are wrapping up impressive seasons, although they have played well at different times. Fish, as usual, caught fire during the U.S. Open Series and that hot streak has him on the brink of World Tour Finals qualification. Since the hard-court summer, though, the ninth-ranked American owns a relatively disappointing 4-3 record. He is 43-21 for the year after blowing out Florian Mayer 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday.

    Monaco's 2011 campaign has turned from mediocre to stellar in the blink of an eye. The 34th-ranked Argentine made a surprising run the Valencia final just last week before losing to Marcel Granollers in a memorable three-setter. With almost no rest, Monaco is back on track in Paris having scored dominant straight-set wins over Donald Young and Gilles Simon.

    A completely neutral setting should make for a competitive affair. A fast hard court, such as in the U.S., would obviously favor Fish; clay, especially in South America, would clearly give an edge to Monaco. A slow indoor hard court in Paris, France is an equalizer.

    An upset is possible, but this could be the time when Monaco finally runs out of gas. Fish in three sets is the pick.

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