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  • Wawrinka, Paire kick off Casablanca campaigns

    4/9/13 8:15 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Wawrinka, Paire kick off Casablanca campaigns Doubles partners Stanislas Wawrinka and Benoit Paire will take the singles court on Wednesday in Casablanca. They are set for respective meetings with Blaz Kavcic and Aljaz Bedene.


    (1) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Blaz Kavcic

    Wawrinka will begin his quest as the No. 1 seed at the Grand Prix Hassan II on Wednesday afternoon. The 17th-ranked Swiss is a decent 11-6 for the season, but the heartbreak he has endured has been well-documented. Wawrinka lost to Novak Djokovic 12-10 in the fifth at the Australian Open and he dropped a crucial Davis Cup doubles rubber to the Czech Republic 24-22 in the fifth. The former world No. 9 reached the fourth round in Indian Wells before skipping Miami.

    Up first for Wawrinka in Casablanca is Kavcic, whom he has never faced. The 85th-ranked Slovenian is 5-7 at the ATP level this year, which is highlighted by a marathon second-round win over James Duckworth at the Australian Open. Kavcic, however, had lost five matches in a row before dismissing wild card Mehdi Ziadi 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday. Based on current form and Wawrinka's prowess on clay, the favorite should cruise in straight sets.

    (4) Benoit Paire vs. Aljaz Bedene

    Paire and Bedene will also be squaring off for the first time in their careers at the ATP level when they clash on Wednesday. They faced each other once, back in 2009 in the final of a clay-court Futures event, with Paire prevailing 6-4, 6-0. The Frenchman, who is 9-9 this season, is up to a career-high ranking of No. 33 in the world and in contention for French Open seeding. He is coming off a title at the Le Gosier Challenger late last month.

    Bedene, also 23 years old, owns seven of his 12 career ATP-level match victories this season. The 90th-ranked Slovenian reached the semifinals in Chennai, advanced one round in Miami, and he took care of qualifier Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4 in his Casablanca opener. Paire is quite capable on the slow stuff, but he would rather be playing this opponent on a faster hard court. Look for Bedene to score a minor upset in three sets.

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