• Simon, Malisse clash in Wimbledon second round

    6/27/12 3:11 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Malisse clash in Wimbledon second round A tough second-round encounter on Wednesday at the All-England Club pits Gilles Simon against Xavier Malisse. Although Malisse is the underdog, he faces pressure of having fourth-round ranking points to defend.

    Gilles Simon and Xavier Malisse will be squaring off for the second time in their careers when they do battle in round two of Wimbledon on Wednesday.

    Simon leads the head-to-head series 2-0, but they have never faced each other on grass. The Frenchman prevailed 6-4, 7-5 on the clay courts of Hamburg in 2008 before scoring a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory indoors in Metz one season later.

    Malisse, who turned pro way back in 1998, is still going relatively strong at 31 years old. The veteran Belgian endured some awful stretches in 2011 and early in 2012, but he is a decent 14-15 for the year. Malisse reached the 's-Hertogenbosch semis last week and took care of Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 on Monday.

    Simon has been up and down in 2012, but the overall result is a solid 30-15 record. The world No. 13, a quarterfinalist in Indian Wells, lost a five-setter in the Roland Garros third round to Stanislas Wawrinka and he dropped his grass-court opener to Simone Bolelli in a third-set tiebreaker at Queen's Club. However, Simon appeared to be rebounding on Monday as he led Paul-Henri Mathieu by a set when Mathieu retired.

    This one should be a thriller and the surface will allow Malisse to make it a particularly high-quality affair. Look for it to go the distance, and Simon's match toughness may be the difference in a five-set win for the No. 13 seed.

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