This week’s ATP Tour tennis action at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 Series is now well underway and where close to reaching the fourth-round stage with a few players already through to this stage. The big stories of the tournament so far have been top-seed Djokovic gaining revenge for his recent loss against fellow veteran Kholschreiber, but it was far from plain sailing for the top-seed who eventually won in three sets in an error strewn performance.
Tsonga the in-form veteran who has been in resurgent for in 2019 retired from his match against American young star Fritz who is not known for his clay court prowess. British number one and seventeenth seed Edmunds disappointing start to the 2019 season continued as he lost to the diminutive, unseeded but extremely talented Schwartzman from Argentina who on his day is a world class clay court expert.
Tenth seed Russian Medvedev continued his impressive start to the 2019 season thrashing experienced and multiple ATP Tour tournament winner Sousa 6-1 6-1 and the talented and tough Hungarian Fucsovics also impressed knocking out twelfth seed Basilashvili. British number two Norrie got off to a winning start knocking out experienced French pro Mannarino in straight sets, Italian NextGen star and qualifier this week Sonego continued his impressive clay form knocking out tenth seed Khachanov and the young Italian will be tough to beat this week.
Thirteenth seed Fognini was nearly upset in the first round by qualifier Rublev but managed to scrape through 6-4 in the third set. NextGen Canadian star Auger-Aliassime received a Wild Card this week and immediately repaid the organisers faith in him knocking out the in-form clay court specialist Londero from Argentina. Seventh seed Cilic disappointing start to the 2019 season as he as knocked out yesterday by Pella from Argentina who used his 2019 Golden Swing clay form experience to his advantage
The top of the bill for today’s action is of course second seed and record eleven time Monte Carlo winner Nadal who opens his campaign against compatriot Bautista Agut who he has a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over and the match should give us a good indication of what standard Nadal is at having not played competitively in a while. Third seed Sasha Zverev will look to kick-start his season after a poor start to 2019 but he faces the in-form talented Canadian NextGen star Auger-Aliasimme and Zverev keeps playing like he has been it could be a tough day for the German.
Fourth seed Thiem gets his competition underway today and he faces a tough opener against the experienced Klizan who leads the head-to-head 3-2 and Klizan won both their meetings on clay in three sets which were both at Kitzbuhel in 2012 and last year but Thiem won there last meeting indoors at St Petersburg towards the end of last year. 2018 finalist and fifth seed Nishikori open his campaign against the talented young French player Herbert who has experienced most of his ATP Tour success on the doubles tour already having won multiple Grand Slams with compatriot Mahut.
He’s not known for his clay court prowess and usually falls short at this level against the better players so it will be a big upset if he beats Nishikori for the first time after already losing to him twice so far in their careers.
NextGen Greek super star and sixth seed Tsitsipas starts his tournament today against veteran Kukushkin from Kazakhstan and the young Greek has already played him twice in his young career and is the hot favourite to do so again today. Tenth seed Medvedev will get his chance to make the fourth round against experienced pro Albot today, this is there first meeting on the ATP Tour and Medvedev is the hot favourite to progress.
Thirteenth seed Fognini will have his work cut out beating French veteran Simon today as the unseeded Frenchman leads the head-to-head 5-0, he’s been in much better form so far this year and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t make the fourth round. Sixteenth seed Goffin has been struggling to find his best form over the last year and he faces the talented but inconsistent Lajovic for a place in the fourth round and Goffin leads the head-to-head 1-0.
I’ll be back on Thursday with a further update on the tournaments progress and hopefully fourth seed Thiem (7/1) and eleventh seed Cecchinato (250/1) who came from a set down to beat Wawrinka yesterday will still be around and in contention for the title.
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