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Pacific Life Open Men's Tennis Preview Day 2
   

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DAY TWO NOTES/Friday, March 14, 2008

Pacific Life Open | An ATP Masters Series Tournament

Indian Wells, California | $3,589,000 (3,339,000 on-site) | Hard

FRIDAY PREVIEW – FORMER TOP 10s SAFIN, HAAS, ANCIC, RISING TEENAGERS IN FIRST ROUND ACTION

• Former Top 10 players Marat Safin, Tommy Haas and Mario Ancic along with Americans John Isner, Mardy Fish and first-time ATP winner Sam Querrey headline Friday’s first round action in the top half of the draw. Here is a look at some of Friday’s match-ups:

- Jurgen Melzer vs. Marat Safin Melzer leads 2-1
- Tommy Haas vs. Julien Benneteau Haas leads 1-0
- (WC) Mario Ancic vs. Gael Monfils Ancic leads 1-0
- Simone Bolelli vs. (WC) John Isner First meeting
- Florian Mayer vs. Mardy Fish Fish leads 1-0
- Luis Horna vs. Sam Querrey Querrey leads 1-0

• Impressive Field – Although seeds won’t begin second round play until Saturday, the tournament features every player in the Top 45 South African Airways ATP Rankings and 47 of the Top 50 overall. The only players missing are No. 46 Steve Darcis, No. 47 Fabrice Santoro and No. 50 Agustin Calleri. It is also the third time in the last four years (except ’05) every Top 10 player is participating in the tournament.

• Teenagers on the Rise – Two of the four teenagers in the main draw square off against each other Friday as 18-year-old qualifier Kei Nishikori of Japan (ranked No. 126) takes on 19-year-old Marin Cilic of Croatia (No. 45) . The other teenagers are 18-year-old Donald Young (No. 86) and 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis of Latvia (No. 80). Nishikori captured his first ATP title as a qualifier last month in Delray Beach and Cilic opened the season with a semifinal in Chennai and a 4th Rd. showing at the Australian Open (d. No. 7 Gonzalez, l. to Blake). Young is coming off his first career ATP quarterfinal in Memphis two weeks ago. Gulbis advanced to the quarterfinals in Las Vegas last week.

• Sam the Man – California native Sam Querrey takes on Luis Horna of Peru in a first round match Friday. The No. 3 American (behind Roddick, Blake) is coming off his first ATP title last Sunday at Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas where he defeated South African qualifier Kevin Anderson in the final. Afterwards, the 20-year-old Querrey climbed from No. 66 to No. 48 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. With Roddick winning the Dubai title one day earlier, it marked the first time two Americans won ATP titles on the same weekend since Aug. 12, 1996 when Pete Sampras won in Indianapolis and Alex O’Brien in New Haven.

• Big John Makes Debut – American wild card John Isner, the second-tallest player in the draw (6’9”) behind Ivo Karlovic (6’10”), makes his tournament debut against Italian Simone Bolelli. The 22-year-old North Carolina native comes in a career-high No. 92 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings with a 3-4 record on the season. His best result was the quarterfinals in San Jose last month.

• Big 3 Dominating – Last year Roger Federer (8), Rafael Nadal (6) and Novak Djokovic (5) led the ATP circuit in titles and finished as the Top 3 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. They began this season by reaching the semifinals (or better) at the Australian Open with Djokovic becoming the first player other than Federer, Nadal to win a Grand Slam title since the 2005 Australian Open (Safin). All three have over 5,000 ranking points, which is the first time that has happened in the history of the ATP Rankings (since Aug. 23, 1973). Last season the Big 3 accounted for seven of the nine ATP Masters Series shields with Nadal winning three, including Indian Wells. One of the three appeared in every ATP Masters Series final last year.

• Roger, Rafa Looking for First Title – In the first two months of the season, the No. 1 and 2 players, Federer and Nadal, have gone without winning an ATP title. Federer is 5-2, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and losing in the first round last week to Andy Murray in Dubai. Nadal is 12-4 on the season, reaching the final in Chennai (l. to Youzhny), the semifinals at the Australian Open (l. to Tsonga), the second round in Rotterdam (l. to Seppi) and quarterfinals in Dubai (l. to Roddick).

• Closing on No. 1 – Federer's lead has dwindled from 1,445 points at the end of last season to 350 points going into Indian Wells with Nadal and Djokovic in pursuit. This is the closest margin since May 10, 2004 when Federer led No. 2 Andy Roddick by that same figure. But Federer could build the lead in March since he lost early in Indian Wells and Miami last year while Nadal won Indian Wells and Djokovic reached the final in Indian Wells and won the title in Miami.

The No. 1 ranking can't change hands at the Pacific Life Open since Nadal is defending title points (500) while Federer lost in the opening round (5). But depending on the results of both players in Indian Wells, then the No. 1 position could be up for grabs going into Miami. Nadal has quarterfinal points to defend (125) while Federer has fourth round points coming off (75). Federer has ranked a record 215 consecutive weeks at No. 1 since Feb. 2, 2004 while Nadal has been No. 2 a record 138 straight weeks (since July 25, 2005).

• Roddick on a Roll – No. 6 Andy Roddick comes into Indian Wells with a 15-2 record on the season, his best start in three years. Last week in Dubai, the 25-year-old American defeated No. 2 Nadal and No. 3 Djokovic in the  quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before beating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a three-sets final. Roddick held serve all 55 games throughout the tournament en route to his 25th career ATP title. Last month, he won his third career San Jose title (d. Stepanek). Roddick is 16-5 lifetime in Indian Wells, reaching the semifinals in 2005 and '07 and quarterfinals in 2003-04.

• International Flavor – There are 30 different countries represented in this year’s singles draw, led by France with 12 players and 11 each from Spain and the U.S. The tournament record for the most countries is 32 in 2004-05.

• Two-time ATP Winners – Roddick is one of four two-time winners on the ATP circuit this season. The others are No. 11 Andy Murray, No. 25 Nicolas Almagro and No. 38 Michael Llodra, who lost in his first round match on Thursday.

• Former Champions in Field – The last six champions are in the field, led by defending champ Rafael Nadal, three time winner Roger Federer (2004-06) and two-time titlist Lleyton Hewitt (2002-03).

• Willy Returns Seeded – No. 16 Guillermo Canas, who was a lucky loser last year (ranked No. 60) and defeated No. 1 Roger Federer in the second round, is playing in his third tournament of the season. Canas was sidelined for nearly three months with a left wrist injury before returning in Acapulco two weeks ago. Last week in Las Vegas he lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Sam Querrey. Canas beat Federer in the first two ATP Masters Series tournaments last year, losing in the third round in Indian Wells (l. to Moya) and reaching the final in Miami (l. to Djokovic).

• The Elder Statesman – The oldest player on the ATP circuit Jonas Bjorkman turns 36 on Mar. 23 and the Swede is still going strong (ranked No. 59 in singles and No. 21 in doubles). Bjorkman opened on Thursday with his 13th tournament singles appearance (13-12), defeating Filippo Volandri 6-3, 7-6(5). His best result was the semifinals in 1997. He also is 26-12 in doubles, winning the title in 1998 (w/Rafter) and reaching the final in 2001 (w/Woodbridge). In the last three years, he's advanced to the semifinals.

• Bryans Eye First Title – The top-seeded doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan are making their 10th straight appearance in Indian Wells (15-9 record) with runner-up showings in 2003 and 2006. The Bryans are off to a 16-5 start this season, reaching finals in four of the first five tournaments they've played (Sydney, Delray Beach, San Jose and Las Vegas).

FRIDAY FIRST ROUND HEAD-TO-HEADS – In Order of Play by Court

Stadium 1

Simone Bolelli (ITA) vs John Isner (USA) First Meeting

Bolelli FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
SF
: Zagreb (l Stakhovsky);
YTD W-L: 4-5
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 8, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 54

Isner FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
QF
: San Jose (l Garcia-Lopez);
YTD W-L: 3-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 92

Florian Mayer (GER) vs Mardy Fish (USA) Fish Leads 1-0
07 New Haven (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Mardy Fish 4-6 7-5 6-4

Mayer FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
QF
: Auckland (l Kohlschreiber);
YTD W-L: 2-6
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: October 5, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 81

Fish FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
QF
: Delray Beach (l Ginepri); San Jose (l Roddick);
YTD W-L: 7-5
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: December 9, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 98

Stadium 2

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs Marat Safin (RUS) Melzer Leads 2-1
04 ATP Masters Series Hamburg (Germany)Clay R16 Jurgen Melzer 6-4 6-4
04 ATP Masters Series Paris (France) Carpet R16 Marat Safin 6-2 7-5
06 Metz (France) Hard R16 Jurgen Melzer 4-6 6-2 7-6(5)

Melzer FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 4-7
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: May 22, 1981
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 85

Safin FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 1-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 15
Date of Birth: January 27, 1980
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 88

Luis Horna (PER) vs Sam Querrey (USA) Querrey Leads 1-0
07 Estoril (Portugal) Clay R32 Sam Querrey 7-6(5) 6-4

Horna FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
SF
: Acapulco (l Nalbandian);
YTD W-L: 5-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: September 14, 1980
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 100

Querrey FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
W
: Las Vegas (d Anderson); SF: Delray Beach (l Nishikori);
YTD W-L: 12-6
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: October 7, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 48

Mario Ancic (CRO) vs Gael Monfils (FRA) Ancic Leads 1-0
05 Wimbledon (England) Grass R32 Mario Ancic 6-3 6-3 6-1

Ancic FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
F
: Marseille (l Murray); SF: Zagreb (l Ljubicic);
YTD W-L: 7-2
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: March 30, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 72

Monfils FastFacts:
2008 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 0-1
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 53

Stadium 3

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs Nicolas Massu (CHI) Massu Leads 1-0
04 Roland Garros (France) Clay R128 Nicolas Massu 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-6(3)

Tommy Haas (GER) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) Haas Leads 1-0
06 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard SF Tommy Haas 6-3 6-1

Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs Marin Cilic (CRO) First Meeting

Court 4

Oscar Hernandez (ESP) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) First Meeting

Jose Acasuso (ARG) vs Max Mirnyi (BLR) Acasuso Leads 1-0
05 Roland Garros (France) Clay R128 Jose Acasuso 6-4 7-6(9) 6-2

Sergio Roitman (ARG) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) Roitman Leads 1-0
07 Kitzbuhel (Austria) Clay R64 Sergio Roitman 2-6 6-1 6-1

Court 5

Victor Hanescu (ROU) vs Albert Montanes (ESP) Hanescu Leads 3-1
05 Sopot (Poland) Clay R32 Victor Hanescu 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3
05 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R128 Albert Montanes 6-4 3-6 6-3 2-1 ret
07 Amersfoort (The Netherlands) Clay R32 Victor Hanescu 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6(4)
07 Bucharest (Romania) Clay R16 Victor Hanescu 6-3 6-2
Other Meetings:
01 Freudenstadt CH (Germany) Clay F Albert Montanes 6-0 6-3
07 ATP Masters Series Rome Q (Italy) Clay Q1 Albert Montanes 6-4 6-4
 

Rik De Voest (RSA) vs Michael Berrer (GER) First ATP Meeting
Other Meetings:
02 France Futures 17 (Plaisir) Hard R16 Rik De Voest 6-3 2-1 ret

Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Carlos Berlocq (ARG) Simon Leads 1-0
07 Bucharest (Romania) Clay SF Gilles Simon 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3

Court 6

Thomas Johansson (SWE) vs Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) Johansson Leads 1-0
07 Las Vegas (U.S.A.) Hard RR Thomas Johansson 6-0 6-1

Evgeny Korolev (RUS) vs Nicolas Mahut (FRA) First Meeting


 

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