• Raonic begins defense, Querrey battles Hewitt

    2/14/13 4:16 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Raonic begins defense, Querrey battles Hewitt Milos Raonic and Sam Querrey will begin their San Jose campaigns on Thursday. They are set for respective meetings with Michael Russell and Lleyton Hewitt.

    (1) Milos Raonic vs. Michael Russell

    Raonic and Russell will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in round two of the SAP Open on Thursday. The two-time defending champion of this event, Raonic will look to kick his season into high gear at one of his favorite locations--San Jose. The world No. 13 is a decent 5-2 for the year, but two of those victories came as a heavy favorite during Davis Cup action against Spain.

    Whereas Raonic snagged a first-round bye as the top seed, Russell took the court on Wednesday and handled fellow American Donald Young 6-3, 7-5. The 34-year-old, who still registers at a respectable 86th in the world, is coming off semifinal and quarterfinal performances at American hard-court Challengers. Russell will make Raonic work, but the Canadian should advance in straight sets.

    (3) Sam Querrey vs. Lleyton Hewitt

    Querrey and Hewitt will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they do battle on Thursday in San Jose. Hewitt has won both of their previous encounters, both of which have come on hard courts. He prevailed 6-4, 6-3 five years ago in Indian Wells before pulling out a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory one season later in Cincinnati.

    Querrey played the role of Davis Cup savior earlier this month when he won a decisive fifth rubber for the United States over Brazil's Thiago Alves. The No. 3 seed remains in solid--albeit unspectacular--form and he comes in three spots off his career-high ranking at 20th in the world. Hewitt improved to 3-2 for his 2013 campaign by outlasting Blaz Kavcic in a third-set tiebreaker on Tuesday. The veteran cannot be discounted, but Querrey in three sets is the pick.

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1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
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