• Ferrer, Almagro begin Auckland campaigns

    1/10/12 3:07 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrer, Almagro begin Auckland campaigns Top two seeds David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro will be in action on Wednesday in Auckland. The Spaniards are set for respective meetings with Lukas Rosol and Nicolas Almagro.

    (1) David Ferrer vs. Lukas Rosol

    Ferrer will take the court for the first time in 2012 when he kicks off his campaign at the Heineken Open as the top seed. The fifth-ranked Spaniard is looking to build on an incredible 2011 season in which he reached the semis of the World Tour Finals and helped Spain win the Davis Cup. Ferrer is the defending champion of this event and he also captured the title in 2007.

    Up first for Ferrer on Wednesday is Rosol, who dispatched Albert Ramos 6-2, 6-4 in his opener. For the 74th-ranked Czech, it was his first ATP victory of the season and the eighth of his career. Rosol played last week in Doha, where he fell to Viktor Troicki 6-4, 7-6(4) during first-round action. It may take a few games for Ferrer to warm up, but this should be routine for the favorite.

    Santiago Giraldo vs. (2) Nicolas Almagro

    Giraldo and Almagro will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash on Wednesday in Auckland. Both of their previous encounters were entertaining three-setters, but Almagro had the upper hand in the end each time. The Spaniard prevailed 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-3 at the 2010 Vienna event before scoring a 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4 victory last season on the clay courts of Acapulco.

    Almost a full year later, Almagro will be running into a new and improved Giraldo. The Colombian broke out on the ATP Tour in 2011 and he is up to No. 51 in the world rankings, seven spots off his career high. He kept up the fine form last week in Brisbane with a quarterfinal performance. Almagro got a bye then a walkover before beating Yuichi Sugita to reach the Chennai semifinals, but he lost to eventual champion Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.

    It's time for Almagro to start thinking about a banner showing at a Grand Slam, so don't be surprised if he overlooks Giraldo and gets eliminated.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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