• Tsonga, Simon lead French charge in Shanghai

    10/9/12 8:22 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Tsonga, Simon lead French charge in Shanghai Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will go up against fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire on Wednesday in Shanghai. Gilles Simon and Alexandr Dolgopolov are also in action.

    (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Benoit Paire

    It will be an all-French affair when Tsonga and Paire clash in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday afternoon. Tsonga dominated their only previous encounter 6-1, 6-2 last year in Marseille. The world No. 6, who snagged a first-round bye as the fifth seed this week, is heating up again following an early U.S. Open loss. Tsonga won the Metz title then finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic last Sunday in Beijing.

    Paire is in the midst of a breakout 2012 campaign, in which he has has earned 23 of his 29 career ATP match victories. The 23-year-old registers at 52nd in the world, five spots off his career-high ranking. Paire beat Philipp Petzschner on Monday and he is looking for back-to-back victories at a tournament for the first time since Wimbledon. Tsonga in straight sets is the pick.

    Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. (15) Gilles Simon

    Dolgopolov and Simon will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers on Wednesday afternoon in Shanghai. They have split a pair of hard-court meetings; Simon prevailed 6-4, 6-3 last year in Sydney but Dolgopolov scored a measure of revenge with a 6-3, 6-4 win early this season in Brisbane.

    Although he comes in only two spots ahead of his opponent at No. 18 in the world, Simon is enjoying a better 2012 campaign. The Frenchman owns a 39-22 record after easing past Jurgen Melzer on Tuesday. Dolgopolov improved to 29-21 after taking out Jeremy Chardy in straight sets on Monday. The Ukrainian is a mercurial performer who can deliver anything--good or bad--on any given day. Look for Simon's consistency to pave the way to a straight-set triumph.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
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