• Monaco, Isner aim for Houston semifinals

    4/13/12 4:40 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Monaco, Isner aim for Houston semifinals Juan Monaco and John Isner will be in action on Friday in Houston. They are set for respective quarterfinal meetings with Kevin Anderson and Ryan Sweeting.

    (4) Juan Monaco vs. (5) Kevin Anderson

    Monaco and Anderson will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they do battle in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships on Friday. Anderson has worked hard to get to this point. The 6'7'' South African just barely missed a first-round bye (seeded one spot behind Monaco), but he beat Joao Souza in straight sets then survived Sam Querrey 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(2) on Thursday. Anderson is now 12-6 for the season.

    Ranked 17 spots head of his opponent at 16th in the world, Monaco is also playing stellar tennis. The Argentine is 13-5 for his 2012 campaign, highlighted by a recent run to the Miami semifinals. Monaco opened in Houston with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Tatsuma Ito on Thursday. This promises to be an enticing match and a slight upset is possible if Anderson serves well, but Monaco in three sets is the pick.

    Ryan Sweeting vs. (2) John Isner

    Sweeting and Isner will be meeting for the second time in their careers and for the second time this season when they clash for a semifinal spot on Friday. Their only previous encounter came two months ago in Delray Beach, where Isner won a second-round encounter 6-3, 6-4.

    Both Americans are in fine form this year. Isner, up to No. 10 in the world, is 18-6 in 2012 after getting past Horacio Zeballos 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in his opener on Thursday. Sweeting, the defending champion of this tournament, beat Ricardo Mello 6-3, 7-6(6) in round one before taking out Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-2. The world No. 143 will make this tough, but look for Isner to advance in two competitive sets.

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