French stars Gilles Simon (Player Info) and Benoit Paire (Player Info) are set to meet in the first round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Tuesday afternoon. This will mark their third encounter this year and their second in a Masters tournament. The Simon vs Paire Head to Head stands at 1-2.
After withdrawing from the US Open, Gilles Simon returned to the ATP tour in Metz, where he defeated Sam Querrey, Nichoas Mahut and defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to his lone title of the season to date. He followed up that performance with a semifinal run in Bangkok, a tournament he championed back in 2009. His is currently ranked at No. 14 and has compiled a 22-11 record on hard courts with a 9-7 record in Masters tournaments. He is also vying for a spot in the Barclays World Tour Finals in November and a strong showing in the remaining tournaments this season could possibly secure a spot for the Frenchman.
Benoit Paire is arguably one of the best young competitors yet to secure a career title on the ATP tour. He is 0-2 in ATP finals, having finished runner up to Richard Gasquet this year in Montpellier. The Frenchman is not inexperienced in Masters tournaments as he defeated then no. 7 Juan Martin del Potro and Granollers in the quarterfinals to reach his first ever Masters 100 semifinal. His run would be halted at that stage by Roger Federer yet it was a telling sign of his budding talent and potential. Benoit began the year ranked at No. 43 and gradually rose to a high of 26 over the year. Now ranked at No. 27, he holds a losing hard court record of 12-13 and a 10-7 Masters 1000 record.
This is the fourth time the two Frenchmen meet on the tour and the third time this year. Paire holds the overall lead at 2-1, yet the series is tied at 1-all in 2013, with Benoit besting Simon in Montpellier. Simon has had a better run over the past few weeks and has been able to get more matches in on the indoor courts in Asia, which could factor into his performance tomorrow afternoon. He will have to remain focused as he is competing for valuable points that could determine his position in qualifying for the tour finals.