• Simon opens in Montpellier, Gasquet meets Davydenko

    2/1/12 3:54 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon opens in Montpellier, Gasquet meets Davydenko Gilles Simon will kick off his Montpellier campaign on Wednesday against Flavio Cipolla. Richard Gasquet and Nikolay Davydenko are also in second-round action.

    Flavio Cipolla vs. (2) Gilles Simon

    Simon will making his sixth career appearance at the Open Sud de France when he takes the court for second-round action on Wednesday. The Frenchman, who earned a bye as the No. 2 seed, is a two-time semifinalist at this tournament. Simon is hoping for similar success in 2012 as he tries to bounce back from a second-round Australian Open loss to compatriot Julien Benneteau.

    Up first for Simon is a second career meeting with Cipolla, who was leading their only previous encounter 6-2, 5-3 on the clay courts of Estoril in 2008 when Simon retired. Cipolla booked his spot in round two of this Montpellier event with a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Marc Gicquel. The 5'8'' Italian has now won a match in three ATP events already this season. However, he is coming off a two-hour battle and he will have the crowd against him in this one. Simon in straight sets is the pick.

    (4) Richard Gasquet vs. (WC) Nikolay Davydenko

    Gasquet and Davydenko will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers on Wednesday in Montpellier. The head-to-head series is 2-1 in Gasquet's favor and he dominated their only hard-court encounter 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 at the 2010 U.S. Open. The Frenchman also has the edge in current form, as he is coming off a fourth-round showing at the Australian Open.

    Davydenko lost in the first round in Doha (to Roger Federer) and Melbourne (to Cipolla). The 30-year-old Russian rebounded for his first victory of the season on Monday when he destroyed Stephane Robert 6-2, 6-1. Davydenko has always been a force on indoor hard courts, so he should at least be able to make this one competitive. Look for Gasquet to begin his tournament with a three-set victory.

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