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  • Simon takes on Nieminen, Monfils meets Brands

    4/23/13 6:41 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon takes on Nieminen, Monfils meets Brands Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils will take the court on Wednesday in Bucharest. They are going up against Jarkko Nieminen and Daniel Brands, respectively.


    Jarkko Nieminen vs. (2) Gilles Simon

    Nieminen and Simon will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers when they meet in round two of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Wednesday. The head-to-head series is tied up at two wins apiece, including 1-1 on clay. They have not faced each other since a 2011 encounter on the slow stuff in Hamburg, where Simon prevailed 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4.

    The Frenchman is contesting his Bucharest opener after earning a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed. He owns a 16-10 record for the season, which includes a pair of 250-point semifinals and a quarterfinal in Miami. Nieminen has been the ATP's marathon man of late. The 39th-ranked Finn won two matches in third-set tiebreakers en route to the Monte-Carlo quarterfinals and he did the same on Tuesday against Evgeny Donskoy. Now 18-9 for the year, Nieminen is playing with a ton of confidence and he should advance in three sets.

    (WC) Gael Monfils vs. Daniel Brands

    Monfils and Brands will be doing battle for the second time in their careers and for the second time this season on Wednesday. They clashed in the opening week of 2013 at the Doha event, where Brands scored a 6-1, 7-5 victory. The 67th-ranked German is a perfect seven for seven in qualifying attempts this year and he also owns seven main-draw wins. This is the first tournament of 2013 for which Brands did not have to qualify, and he kicked off his campaign with a 6-3, 6-4 scalp of Tatsuma Ito on Monday.

    Whereas Brands has been in consistently impressive form, Monfils is struggling. The Frenchman finds himself down at No. 105 in the world, mostly due to injury but in part because of poor play. He is a modest 10-8 for the season and just 3-6 since the Australian Open. Monfils faced lucky loser Filippo Volandri (instead of Fabio Fognini) on Tuesday and cruised 6-4, 6-2. Thanks to a considerable advantage on this surface, Monfils in straight sets is the pick.


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