• Malisse meets Gulbis, Youzhny battles Petzschner

    4/30/12 4:41 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Malisse meets Gulbis, Youzhny battles Petzschner Xavier Malisse and Ernests Gulbis will face each other in the Munich first round on Tuesday. Mikhail Youzhny and Philipp Petzschner are also in action.

    Ernests Gulbis vs. Xavier Malisse

    Gulbis and Malisse will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in round one of the BMW Open on Monday. Their only previous encounter came in the Los Angeles first round last summer, with Gulbis surviving 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) en route to taking the title.

    It's been an awful nine months since then for Gulbis, who is 5-8 at the ATP level this season and down at No. 84 in the world. The Latvian has lost five consecutive matches in ATP tournaments. Malisse is also struggling, but he at least managed to reach the Bucharest quarterfinals last week. Count on the 31-year-old Belgian advancing in straight sets.

    Philipp Petzschner vs. (6) Mikhail Youzhny

    Petzschner and Youzhny will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers on Monday in Munich. All four of their previous encounters have come on clay and Youzhny leads the head-to-head series 3-1. They have faced each other the last two years in Munich; Youzhny won a 2010 semifinal meeting 7-5, 7-6(5) before Petzschner got revenge with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2 second-round victory.

    Both players are in questionable form heading into this one. Youzhny is a stellar 10-4 for the season, but he has been injured and has played only five tournaments (he won the Zagreb title). Petzschner has continued to deal with physical problems and he is a mere 3-7 for his 2012 campaign. This is the German's first appearance since Delray Beach, but Youzhny got blown out in Monte Carlo by Frederico Gil in his first match since Dubai. This could go either way; Youzhny in three sets is the pick.

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