It will be all about the red dirt over the next 6 weeks as the ATP Tour continues it’s European clay court swing culminating with the French Open in Paris. World number 1 Rafael Nadal makes his return this week and is chasing a remarkable 11th Monte Carlo title. Federer has again decided to skip the clay court season but it will not be all one way traffic for Nadal who is in the same quarter a Dominic Thiem – one of the few men to beat him on his beloved clay.
Monte Carlo Masters Feature Previews
Novak Djokovic v Dusan Lajovic
The Wolf has gone on the record saying that Djokovic would not win a slam after turning 30 and he hasn’t gone close. The former world number 1 and 12 time slam winner is having serious issues reclaiming the form that made him almost unbeatable for over 3 years. His serve has completely collapsed on the back of elbow issue and he has won a little over 60% of 1st serve points in his last three matches on tour – all losses. Lajovic may look like a walkover on paper but Wolfy says that certainly isn’t the case. As a countryman of Novak’s he will have had endless hours against him on court and after coming through the qualifiers here, he has already had the chance to adapt to the court conditions. Upset alert!
Best Bet: Lajovic +4.5 ($1.73)
Kei Nishikori v Tomas Berdych
Like Djokovic, Nishikori has trouble dealing with injury. He has lost 3 of his last 4 matches and was beaten convincingly by Del Potro last time out. Nishikori holds a 4-1 advantage in the H2H but is is 1-0 in the favour of Berdych on clay, and that win came on this very court. The Birdman hits it as clean as anyone on tour and is a former finalist here. He is in far better form than his counterpart and if Berdych gets on top early it will be curtains.
Best Bet: Berdych WIN ($1.73)
Denis Shapovalov v Stefanos Tsitsipas
Shapovalov and Tsitsipas are tow names that we will be hearing a lot about in 2018 and beyond. Shapovalov won their maiden encounter earlier this year at the Australian Open but the shift to clay changes the dynamic of their mathchup. The Canadian likes to play up on the baseline and take the ball early – making his way to the net regularly. Doing so on clay is far more difficult. Tsitsipas was have far more time to run around and hit his big forehand, a tactic he has employes successfully on this surface in the past, both on the Challenger Tour and at Futures level. Shapovalov has lost his last three matches on this surface so look for him to struggle in the coming weeks.
Best Bet: Tsitsipas WIN ($1.80)
|Rublev v Haase||Haase +1.5 ($1.73)|
|Donaldson v Ramos-Vinolas||Sets Ramos-Vinolas 2-0 ($2.15)|
|Bautista-Agut v Gojowczyk||Sets Bautista-Agut 2-1 ($4.60)|
|Coric v Benneteau||Coric -4.5 ($1.73)|
|Nishikori v Berdych||Berdych WIN ($1.73)|
|Raonic v Catarina||Over 17.5 games ($2.20)|
|Mayer v Muller||Over 22.5 games ($1.85)|
|Djokovic v Lajovic||Lajovic +4.5 ($1.73)|
|Shapovalov v Tsitsipas||Tsitsipas WIN ($1.80)|
|Herbert v Lorenzi||Under 22.5 games ($1.80)|