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Arnaud Clement (FRA) v (Q) Nicolas Mahut (FRA)

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Head-to-head: Mahut leads 2-0

This is the third meeting for these fellow Frenchmen, and the second in two weeks, Mahut having defeated Clement in the semifinals at Queen’s on his way to his first ATP final.

In the 18 June rankings, Clement was the French No. 2, while Mahut was the French No. 12.

Clement is playing his 11th Wimbledon, having competed here every year since making his debut as a qualifier in 1997. He lost in the second round here last year to David Nalbandian.

Clement’s best results at Wimbledon are two round of 16 finishes, in 2001 as No. 13 seed (l. Marat Safin 60 63 62) and unseeded in 2002 (loss to Nicolas Lapentti 3-6 7-5 2-6 7-5 6-3).

Clement has won eight of ten matches played on grass so far in 2007. He was a semifinalist at Queen’s, losing to today’s opponent Mahut (see head-to-head above), and reached the final at Nottingham last Saturday, falling to Ivo Karlovic 36 64 64.

Clement’s results on grass have been his best all season. Before arriving at Queen’s, he had only won back-to-back matches once all year, winning two in a row to record a quarterfinal finish on hard court at Zagreb (loss to Marcos Baghdatis 6-2 6-7 7-6).

Mahut is making his second appearance at Wimbledon. He made his debut last year as a direct entrant, and recorded the best Grand Slam result of his career by reaching the third round. He defeated Jurgen Melzer and Kristof Vliegen in the first and second rounds respectively before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer 63 76 64.

Although this is just his second Wimbledon, it is the 14th Grand Slam event of Mahut’s career. Apart from here last year (see above), he has never advanced beyond the second round of a major, and has lost in the first round ten times, including in his first nine Grand Slam appearances.

In last week’s qualifying competition, as No. 2 seed, Mahut defeated Noam Okun 75 63 in the first round, Joseph Sirianni 64 64 in the second round, and Simon Stadler 63 76 61 in the final qualifying round. It was his fourth attempt to qualify for Wimbledon, having been unsuccessful 2003-05.

Mahut had the best result of his career at Queen’s just over a week ago, advancing to his first career singles final. In an impressive run as an unseeded player, he upset four seeded opponents, No 11 Jonas Bjorkman in the second round, No. 5 Ivan Ljubicic in the round of 16, No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and No. 14 Clement in the semis as detailed above. He lost in the final to No. 2 Andy Roddick 46 76 76, after having a match point in the second set tiebreak.

From Queen’s through three wins in qualifying for here, Mahut has now won eight of his last nine matches on grass. (Note: only main-draw tour-level matches are counted in a players’ win-loss record.)

Until Queen’s, the only time Mahut won back-to-back matches this season, including matches played at challenger level, was in winning two to reach the third round at AMS Indian Wells (loss to Andy Murray 6-1 6-3).

(source: tennisnews)

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