• Harrison, Tomic in way of Sydney final rematch

    1/9/13 5:28 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Harrison, Tomic in way of Sydney final rematch Ryan Harrison and Bernard Tomic will be back in action on Thursday in Sydney. They are set for respective meetings with 2012 finalists Julien Benneteau and Jarkko Nieminen.

    Ryan Harrison vs. Julien Benneteau

    Harrison and Benneteau will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Apia International on Thursday afternoon. Benneteau is seeking a return trip to the Sydney title match (finished runner-up to Jarkko Nieminen in 2012), and it is setting up nicely for him. After getting past Pablo Andujar in three sets, the Frenchman benefited from a first-game retirement by Radek Stepanek on Wednesday.

    Now, Benneteau is facing fellow unseeded floater Harrison as opposed to No. 1 seed John Isner. The 20-year-old American took down his compatriot 6-4, 6-4 in round two after opening with a retirement from Roberto Bautista Agut. Harrison has begun the season in form--although he lost to Tommy Robredo in the Brisbane opening round last week, he did well to qualify for the main draw. This should be an entertaining match, with a slight edge going to Benneteau in three sets.

    Bernard Tomic vs. Jarkko Nieminen

    Tomic and Nieminen will also be squaring off for the first time in their careers during quarterfinal action. While the season is not yet two weeks old, Tomic is already in scorching form. The 20-year-old Australian toppled Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup, but more telling of his current level are straight-set disposals this week of Marinko Matosevic and Florian Mayer.

    At the same time, though, Nieminen's title defense is off to a routine start. The veteran Finn destroyed Bjorn Phau 6-0, 6-1 then faced lucky loser Ivo Klec instead of second-seeded Gilles Simon. That resulted in another blowout--this time 6-3, 6-1. This could be the best match of the tournament to date, but Tomic's ever-brimming confidence is sky-high right now and the crowd will be in his corner. Tomic in two tight sets is the pick.

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