Bucharest SF previews and picks: Simon vs. Rosol, Mayer vs. Garcia-Lopez

Gilles Simon remains on course for a fourth Bucharest title as he heads into a Saturday semifinal against Lukas Rosol. Florian Mayer and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez are also in action.

Lukas Rosol vs. (2) Gilles Simon

Simon and Rosol will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they meet in the semifinals of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Saturday afternoon. Their only previous encounter came two years ago on the hard courts of Dubai, where Simon cruised 6-2, 6-3.

Rosol is playing the best tennis of his life right now (aside from his 2012 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal) and he is through to his first-ever ATP semifinal. So far in Bucharest, the 48th-ranked Czech has dismissed Gilles Muller, Andreas Seppi, and Viktor Troicki to improve his solid 2013 record to 11-8. Simon is 18-10 for the season, which is highlighted by what is now a trio of 250-point semifinals in addition to a quarterfinal in Miami. The 16th-ranked Frenchman earned a first-round bye this week seed before taking out Jarkko Nieminen and Daniel Brands.

While these are completely uncharted waters for Rosol, this is nothing other than the absolute norm for Simon. The No. 2 seed is the defending champion of this event and he has won it three times in total. With an edge on clay, as well, Simon should be able to break down Rosol’s more powerful game.

Pick: Simon in 2

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs. (5) Florian Mayer

Mayer and Garcia-Lopez will be squaring off for the second time in their careers at the ATP level and for the third time overall when they clash on Saturday. Mayer has won both of their previous encounters; 6-3, 6-2 at the 2006 hard-court Sunrise Challenger and 6-3, 6-1 three years ago on the clay courts Stuttgart.

Garcia-Lopez has been rounding into form out of just about nowhere this month. The 87th-ranked Spaniard lost five matches in a row from the Australian Open through all of February before not playing again until April. Suddenly, however, he reached the Casablanca quarters and finished runner-up at a Challenger event in Rome. So far this week Garcia-Lopez has ousted Horacio Zeballos, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Janko Tipsarevic–all in three sets. Mayer is showing similar signs of heating up in time for the French Open. The 29th-ranked German was 6-9 for the season prior to his arrival in Bucharest, but he has scored wins over Flavio Cipolla, David Goffin, and Victor Hanescu–losing just a single set to Goffin in the process.

Both Garcia-Lopez and Mayer are all-court players who are quite capable on the slow stuff, so surface should not be too much of a factor in this one. Mayer, who captured the 2011 Bucharest title, has to feel comfortable at this event and against an opponent whom he has dominated in the past.

Pick: Mayer in 2

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