Juan Monaco, the 2012 champion of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, made a statement in Houston with a 6-3, 7-5 second-round win over second seed Benoit Paire. The former Top-10 player, who defeated Gerald Melzer in the first round, last posted consecutive tour-level wins in Nice 13 months ago (l. to Mayer in QF).
The 32 year old from Tandil has more clay-court wins than any other participant in this year’s tournament (229-136). The Argentine saved 10 break points (10/12) in the 93-minute encounter and improved to 3-1 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Paire.
In beating Paire, No. 22 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Monaco scored his first Top-25 win since Miami 2015 (d. Garcia-Lopez). His opponent in the quarter-finals will be Sam Querrey, who downed Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-3.
The big-hitting Querrey needed only 50 minutes to defeat Becker. He hit 13 aces and saved both break points faced to improve to 3-0 against the German. A two-time finalist (2010 and 2015) in Houston, Querrey is now 13-6 at the event. The fifth seed has never beaten Monaco on clay (0-3) and trails 1-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.