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  • Wild cards Williams, Harrison take the court in Miami

    3/20/13 11:43 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Wild cards Williams, Harrison take the court in Miami Two American wild cards will try to capitalize on their Miami opportunities during Thursday action. Rhyne Williams meets Santiago Giraldo and Christian Harrison battles Thomaz Bellucci.

    (WC) Rhyne williams vs. Santiago Giraldo

    williams and Giraldo will be meeting for the first time in their careers when they do battle in round one of the Sony Open on Thursday. Giraldo is the far more experienced player, having compiled 84 ATP match wins to go along with a career-high ranking of 39th in the world. This season, though, the 90th-ranked Colombian is a mere 4-7 and he has suffered five first-round losses (including at a Challenger event).

    Meanwhile, williams will be looking for just his second career ATP-level match victory. That is not to say, however, that the 21-year-old is struggling. Quite the contrary. williams won a Challenger title earlier this year in Dallas before qualifying in Memphis, where he beat Steve Johnson before succumbing to Alexandr Dolgopolov in three sets. Even though williams is an American, Giraldo will have rabid fan support from the Colombians. Still, williams in three sets is the pick based on current form.

    Thomaz Bellucci vs. (WC) Christian Harrison

    Harrison will also look to benefit from a main-draw wild card as he goes up against Bellucci for the first time. Ryan Harrison's younger brother has never played an ATP-level singles match, but he registers at 377th thanks to some success at Futures (already has one title and one runner-up in 2013) and Challengers. The 18-year-old, who took a set off Ernests Gulbis during Indian Wells qualifying, reached the U.S. Open doubles quarterfinals last summer with his brother.

    Bellucci has been dismal this season aside from a five-set Davis Cup win over John Isner--a result that does not even look so good on paper at the moment. Despite playing several matches on his preferred clay-court surface, the 40th-ranked Brazlian has lost five in a row dating back to the Sao Paulo second round. Bellucci should get back on track against an inexperienced opponent, but this will likely go three sets and an upset would not come as a shock.

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