(February 16, 2013) -- When Julien Benneteau takes the court in his semifinal against Gilles Simon in Rotterdam he'll have that familiar feeling of having been there before.
Just two measly matches from his first career ATP title, the 31-year-old World No. 39 is hoping to reach his eighth career final. He defeated Gilles Simon in their last outing, and he owns two wins in their five career meetings, so the odds are at least reasonable for Benneteau to reach the final.
But if he reaches the final, the odds of Benneteau pulling out a win in the final get slimmer. Why? Because Benneteau has already reached seven ATP finals, and whether he was favored or not, he's lost every single one of them. It seems strange that a player who just earned his 200th career ATP victory could experience such a lack of success in finals, against such a wide variety of opponents, but that's the way it has gone. (He'll have to face a red-hot Juan Martin del Potro in the final if he does make it, making things even tougher for the hard-luck Frenchman).
Benneteau currently has the largest active streak of consecutive finals without a title on tour by a landslide.
Here's a look at the rest of the title-less finalists on the ATP tour.
Julien Benneteau, 7
Gilles Muller, 3
Denis Istomin, 2
Lukasz Kubot, 2
Nicolas Mahut, 2
And here's a list of Benneteau's previous 7 fruitless finals:
Morocco, 2008: lost to Gilles Simon in two sets
Lyon, 2008: lost to Robin Soderling in three sets
Kitzbuhel, 2009: lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in three sets
Marseille, 2010: lost to Michael Llodra in two sets
Winston Salem, 2011: lost to John Isner in three sets
Sydney, 2012: lost to Jarkko Nieminen in two sets
Kuala Lumpur, 2012: lost to Juan Monaco in three sets
*Note: Benneteau reached his 8th career final with a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory over Gilles Simon in Saturday's semifinal.
*Special thanks to The Changeover for this informative piece on Benneteau's failings (and charm)