• Monfils, Monaco meet at Sony Ericsson Open

    3/26/12 6:59 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Monfils, Monaco meet at Sony Ericsson Open One of many all-seeded third-round clashes in Miami features Gael Monfils and Juan Monaco on Monday. The winner will be set for a likely matchup with Roger Federer.

    Gael Monfils and Juan Monaco will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers when they clash in round three of the Sony Ericsson Open on Monday.

    Monaco leads the head-to-head series 3-2, but four of their five encounters have come on clay. Their only previous hard-court meeting came four years ago in Paris, where Monfils cruised 6-4, 6-4. They last faced each other 10 months ago on the clay courts of Madrid, with Monaco racing to a big lead before his opponent retired in the second set.

    Monfils has once again struggled with knee problems in 2012, but he is good to go for Miami. The 14th-ranked Frenchman defeated Sergei Bubka 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to improve his yearly record to 11-3.

    Monaco did not lose a single game in his tournament opener, as he led 5-0 in the first set when Yen-Hsun Lu retired. The 21st-ranked Argentine is 8-4 for the season.

    The surface should suit both players just fine. Monaco is at his best on clay while Monfils is the essence of an all-court player, although he generally prefers high-bouncing and generally slower courts. Expect a high-quality encounter with Monfils prevailing in two tight sets.

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