• Blake, Baker kick off Citi Open

    7/30/12 5:58 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Blake, Baker kick off Citi Open Americans James Blake and Brian Baker will contest their Washington, D.C. openers on Monday. They are set for respective encounters with Pablo Andujar and Florent Serra.

    (5) Pablo Andujar vs. James Blake

    Andujar and Blake will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Citi Open on Monday night. Blake has won only a single match at the ATP level this season (over Ryan Harrison in Atlanta) compared to eight losses. As a result, the 32-year-old American has plunged to No. 116 in the rankings.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, Andujar registers just four spots off his career-high at 39th in the world. That being said, the Spaniard is a modest 15-18 at the ATP level for his 2012 campaign. He is also riding an awful five-match losing streak dating back to the second round of Roland Garros. Something will have to give in this one, and Andujar in three sets is the pick.

    (Q) Florent Serra vs. (WC) Brian Baker

    Serra and Baker will also be squaring off for the first time in their careers on Monday in Washington, D.C. Baker was one of the breakout stars of the tour earlier this summer (runner-up in Nice and fourth round of Wimbledon, both as a qualifier), but his hard-court season is off to a slow start. The 78th-ranked American lost his Atlanta and Los Angeles openers in straight sets to underdog opponents.

    Another seemingly favorable draw as fallen into Baker's lap this week. At 31 years old, Serra has plummeted to No. 132 in the world and he has won only four ATP-level matches this year. Since Wimbledon, the Frenchman has played in just one Challenger event (lost in the quarterfinals). Look for Baker to get back on track with a three-set victory.

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