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By Akshay Kohli
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Seeded fifth for the tournament, Gilles Simon locks horns with German Daniel Brands in the opening round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament being played in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Simon comes into this tournament ranked 14th in the World as compared to No.102 for Brands.
French No.3 Simon has had an average start to the year with quarterfinal stints at the Brisbane International and Open Sud de France and a fourth round run at the Australian Open. Ranked as high as No.6 in the World, Simon has a great knack to mix his game and execute it well too. With good ability to change the speed of the rally, Simon would be aiming to come back into the Top-10 and try cementing a place there. Bidding to win his 11th ATP Tour Title, Simon ended the 2012 season on a positive note and would want to keep his fine form going in 2013 too.
On the other hand, Brands is yet to crack the Top – 50 and would be hoping to cross a career best 66 by the end of this year. A positive start to the year saw the German reach the semi-finals of the Qatar Open. He followed this run with a 2nd Round run at the Australian Open after qualifying for the main draw. With big serves and heavy forehand, Brands would want to cause an upset by taking out Simon and open up this quarter of the draw.
The two have faced just once before with Brands winning that encounter in three tight sets in Hamburg in 2009. Simon comes in as favorite for this match unless Brands plays some fine tennis to outperform the Frenchman.
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