• Baghdatis battles Garcia-Lopez in Madrid

    5/7/12 5:19 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Baghdatis battles Garcia-Lopez in Madrid Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will look to capitalize on his Madrid wild card on Monday. Standing in Garcia-Lopez's way of the second round is Marcos Baghdatis.

    Marcos Baghdatis and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will be squaring off for the first time in more than five years when they go head-to-head in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday evening. Garcia-Lopez won their only previous meeting 7-5, 7-5 at the Indian Wells Masters in 2007.

    Baghdatis is a solid 17-10 for his 2012 campaign but he needs some strong results in the next few weeks to garner French Open seeding. The 41st-ranked Cypriot lost his opener in Bucharest two weeks ago but he at least managed to advance two rounds in Munich (lost to Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals).

    Garcia-Lopez was once a real candidate for Grand Slam seeding, but he is currently struggling down at No. 94 in the world and needed a wild card to get into this event. The veteran Spaniard is a respectable 11-10 for the season while playing especially well in Indian Wells and Miami. He lost to eventual runner-up Benoit Paire 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the Belgrade second round.

    Baghdatis is at his best on hard courts, but Garcia-Lopez has actually been looking better on that surface in 2012 as well. Perhaps clay won't give the crowd favorite too big an advantage, but the fan support could help. Garcia-Lopez in three sets is the pick.

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