• Simon, Almagro face off in Nice semifinal

    5/25/12 12:44 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Simon, Almagro face off in Nice semifinal Gilles Simon is set to take on defending champion Nicolas Almagro for a place in the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur championship final. The players are joined in by Nikolay Davydenko, who meets surprise semifinalist Brian Baker.

    (2) Gilles Simon vs. (3) Nicolas Almagro

    Second seed Gilles Simon holds a 2-1 series edge against third seed Nicolas Almagro. The two are split at 1-1 in clay-court matches played.

    Simon made the final four after taking out qualifier Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets, 7-5, 6-0. The 27-year-old Frenchman looks to reach his second final of the season (Bucharest, champion).

    Almagro is through to the semifinal by virtue of his 6-4, 6-4 ousting of Belgium’s Steve Darcis. The defending champion is bidding for his third clay-court final berth in 2012 (Sao Paolo, champion and Buenos Aires).

    Prediction: Simon in three sets.

    Nikolay Davydenko vs. (Q) Brian Baker

    Former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko booked a semifinal spot following his straight-sets victory over top seed John Isner. The 30-year-old looks to make his first final since spring 2011, when he won the title in Munich.

    Qualifier Brian Baker secured his first tour-level semifinal after beating Mikhail Kukushkin late Thursday. The 27-year-old American remains on course to record his fourth consecutive main-draw victory this season.

    Prediction: Davydenko in straight sets.

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