• Gasquet, Dimitrov collide in Rome second round

    5/13/13 8:38 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Gasquet, Dimitrov collide in Rome second round An enticing second-round matchup between Richard Gasquet and Grigor Dimitrov is on the Tuesday schedule in Rome. Dimitrov is looking for his first win over Gasquet in four tries.

    Richard Gasquet and Grigor Dimitrov will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they clash in round two of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday. Gasquet has won all three of their previous encounters; in straight sets at the 2011 Dubai event, in four sets at the 2012 French Open, and in three sets late last season in Bangkok.

    Just seven months later, Dimitrov is already a much different player. The 22-year-old Bulgarian owns a 17-10 record for his 2013 campaign and it has him up to a career-high ranking of No. 26 in the world. Dimitrov reached the quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo, upset Novak Djokovic in Madrid, and he opened on Sunday in Rome with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marcos Baghdatis.

    Gasquet is in similarly impressive form this season. The ninth-ranked Frenchman--a champion in both Doha and Montpellier--reached the semifinals in Miami and the quarters in Monte-Carlo, but he is looking to bounce back from an opening loss in Madrid to Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Gasquet improved his record for the year to 24-7 by dismissing Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6(8) on Sunday.

    With both men playing well, this should be a high-quality encounter featuring a pair of stellar one-handed backhands. Dimitrov's one-hander is not quite as solid as Gasquet's, so it will be important for the underdog to serve well and give himself a chance of dictating forehand-to-forehand rallies. Dimitrov has played a ton of tennis this spring, so Gasquet should be able to break him down in three competitive sets.

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