Paris R2 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Simon vs. Verdasco

Djokovic warming up for his matchSecond-round action in Paris will get underway on Tuesday, with both Novak Djokovic and Gilles Simon kicking off their campaigns. They are set for respective meetings with Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Kohlschreiber is in line for a second consecutive match against an opponent who is playing for the first time as a dad as the German heads into second-round action at the BNP Paribas Masters on Tuesday. Edouard Roger-Vasselin’s wife gave birth to a son on the same day Djokovic’s son was born last week. The Frenchman put up little resistance against Kohlschreiber on Monday, going down 6-3, 6-1. It was a much-needed win for the world No. 24, who lost a semifinal heartbreaker in Vienna to David Ferrer then dropped his opening match in Valencia to Kevin Anderson.

This will be the seventh career meeting between Djokovic and Kohlschreiber, with the Serb leading the head-to-head series 5-1–including 3-0 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other in the fourth round of this summer’s U.S. Open, where Djokovic prevailed 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. The world No. 1 has not taken the court since falling to Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in the Shanghai semifinals. Djokovic is a two-time champion in Paris, having triumphed in 2009 and 2013. Kohlschreiber was in outstanding form against Roger-Vasselin and Djokovic could be just a little bit rusty, so this should be a competitive affair.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

Fernando Verdasco vs. (15) Gilles Simon

Verdasco and Simon will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers and for the first time in almost exactly four years when they collide on Tuesday. The head-to-head series is tied up at two wins apiece, including 1-1 on hard courts. They last met on the indoor hard courts of Valencia in 2010, where Simon advanced to the quarterfinals by dominating 6-1, 6-3.  The 19th-ranked Frenchman has been playing well for the most part this fall, with a runner-up showing in Shanghai to his credit. However, he went down in 6-3, 6-0 flames to a slumping Alexandr Dolgopolov in last week’s Valencia first round.

Like Kohlschreiber, Verdasco did not get the benefit of an opening-round bye and had to contest a match on Monday. The 33rd-ranked Spaniard got off to a slow start, but he recovered to down Donald Young 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Verdasco is a modest 4-3 this fall and 7-10 lifetime in Paris, having never advanced past the third round of this event. However, he may be able to capitalize on opponent who is likely less than 100 percent physically and will have the pressure of impressing Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement in order to snag a spot on the final roster.

Pick: Verdasco in 3

3 Comments on Paris R2 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Simon vs. Verdasco

  1. Nando won! 🙂

    During the match VERDASCO vs. SIMON, I heard from Nick Lester that Verdasco hadn’t had good results since beating RAFA .
    This happened ages ago (on blue clay), but TV announcers haven’t forgotten it! 😆

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