24 Feb Battle of the Veterans: Two-time Delray Beach ITC champ Malisse opens against Falla
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Battle of the Veterans: Two-time Delray Beach ITC champ Malisse opens against Falla
[column size=”00-1″ last=”1″ style=”1″] by Romi Cvitkovic
Two-time Delray Beach ITC champion and this year’s No. 8 seed, Belgian Xavier Malisse will take on Colombian Alejandro Falla in the opening round of main draw play on Monday.
Despite each player being a 10-plus year veteran of the ATP World Tour, Malisse and Falla have only met on three previous occasions, with the 32-year-old Belgian walking away the victor each time. Their first and only hard court meeting took place at the 2007 edition of Delray Beach, where Malisse squeezed by in a 6-4, 7-6(6) win.
As a former world No. 19 and Roland Garros doubles champion, Malisse exhibits an impressive tactical game and precision at net which stack up well against Falla’s grounded backhand and mental strength. Though the 29-year-old Colombian has yet to win his first title, he is near his career-high ranking of No. 48 and has some of his biggest wins on hard courts.
Given their vast careers and differing game styles, matches between these two veterans are never without surprises and gravity-defying rallies.