• Simon, Harrison clash in surprise fourth-round match

    3/14/12 2:36 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Harrison clash in surprise fourth-round match With Andy Murray having vacated the draw, Gilles Simon and Ryan Harrison will go head-to-head in Indian Wells on Wednesday. A place in the quarterfinals is at stake.

    Ryan Harrison entered this BNP Paribas Open with pressure on his shoulders, having to defend points from a fourth-round performance last year. It was one of his biggest results of 2011, but Harrison has already duplicated the effort in 2012.

    The 19-year-old is back in round four following straight-set victories over Flavio Cipolla, Viktor Troicki, and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. While Harrison benefited from Andy Murray's departure (lost to Garcia-Lopez), he has been playing solid tennis in his own right. The world No. 72 is 9-5 for the season, which includes a semifinal in San Jose.

    Next up for Harrison is Simon, whom he has never faced. Simon decided to play the clay-court Golden Swing in February and it did not pay off, as he lost three of his four matches. The 13th-ranked Frenchman was just 8-6 for his 2012 campaign prior to this fortnight, but he could be turning the tide. Simon outlasted Dudi Sela 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-4 then dismissed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4.

    This is sure to be an counter-punching battle with plenty of entertaining defense. Harrison can bring out big serves and forehands when necessary, but he is generally content to rely on his wheels. Simon, as always, will hope to grind down his opponent with consistency.

    Based on big-match experience, Simon in three tight sets is the pick.

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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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