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  • Istomin, Rosol take the court in Moscow

    10/14/12 9:13 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Istomin, Rosol take the court in Moscow Denis Istomin and Lukas Rosol will kick off the first day of main-draw action on Monday in Moscow. They are set for respective meetings with Bjorn Phau and Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

    (6) Denis Istomin vs. Bjorn Phau

    Istomin and Phau will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they meet in round one of the Kremlin Cup on Monday afternoon. Phau registers only 18 spots off his career-high ranking at No. 77 in the world (as of Sunday) due to success on the Challenger circuit, but he owns just seven ATP match wins this season. The 33-year-old German has earned only one ATP victory since mid-July.

    Despite coming in at 44th in the world, Istomin is still seeded sixth in a relatively week Moscow field. The Uzbek is a respectable 29-30 for his 2012 campaign after losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in a tough three-setter at the Shanghai Masters. Anything other than a straight-set win for Istomin would be a big surprise on an indoor hard court.

    Daniel Gimeno-Traver vs. Lukas Rosol

    If anyone was predicting Rosol's inevitable rise after he stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon, they are still waiting. It's true that Rosol owns 17 of his 24 career ATP match victories this season, but he has actually digressed since his supposed breakthrough at the All-England Club. In fact, the 27-year-old Czech is currently struggling at the Challenger level.

    Gimeno-Traver, on the other hand, has won two consecutive Challenger titles. However, those came on clay. The 66th-ranked Spaniard does almost all of his damage on the slow stuff, but he made a surprising run to the St. Petersburg semifinals last month. Rosol should be able to get through this one based on surface, but at this point a Gimeno-Traver upset would not be a huge shock.

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