1 Nov 2011

Race for World Tennis Tour Finals spots heats up

7:38 am on 1 November 2011

Gilles Simon's bid for a berth at the World Tennis Tour Finals suffered a setback when the French fifth seed was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-3 by Russian former world number three Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of the Valencia Open.

The 30-year-old Davydenko, who has slipped to 36th in the rankings, will play the winner of today's match between French qualifier Nicolas Mahut and unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Simon has only the Paris Masters left to try to secure a spot at the season-ending finals in London starting later this month.

Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer of Spain takes on unseeded compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the pick of tomorrow's first-round action.

World number five Ferrer has already qualified for the eight-man London finals along with Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

Czech Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is playing in Valencia, and American Mardy Fish currently occupy the next three spots in the race to secure a place in the season finale.