Tuesday, 16 April 2013

ATP Monte-Carlo 2nd Round Predictions: Nadal-Matosevic, Gulbis-Monaco

1st round action in Monte-Carlo concluded with wins for Ernests Gulbis, Nicolas Almagro and Stanislas Wawrinka.  In the second round matches that took place on Tuesday, Janko Tipsarevic went down to Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6(3) 6-1 having blown set points at 5-4 in the opening set.  Juan Martin del Potro escaped the same fate as he recovered from a 6-1 4-3 deficit to come back against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Del Potro was well below his best, but was given a way back in by Dolgo.  Let's take a look at tomorrow's match-ups.

Marinko Matosevic
1. Rafael Nadal v Marinko Matosevic
Rafael Nadal opens up the defence of his Monte-Carlo title with a second round match-up against Marinko Matosevic.  The Aussie defeated a tumbling, Fernando Verdasco, 7-5 6-3; Verdasco had built up a convincing lead and tried to serve out the first set, but Matosevic recovered to take the match in straight sets.  Matosevic made a a sluggish start to the year, but has started to improve his form with a semi-final appearance in Memphis and 3rd round in Indian Wells.  Matosevic is unlikely to stand much of a chance against Nadal, but it will give us an early gauge of the Spaniard's form for the week ahead.

Prediction - Nadal to beat Matosevic in 2 sets

2. Ernests Gulbis v Juan Monaco
Two players with contrasting 2013's take on each other in what should be an entertaining second round match between Ernests Gulbis and Juan Monaco.  Gulbis put in a mentally astute performance to defeat a weary John Isner, 4-6 6-2 6-3. Next up for Gulbis is Monaco, who is slowly turning his year around following his first wins of 2013 in Houston where he made the semi-finals.  Monaco defeated Martin Klizan today in straight sets, 6-4 6-0.  Gulbis has had a great season so far, boosted by a 13 match winning streak that saw him come through qualifying to win Delray Beach and then do the same in Miami, only to fall to eventual champion, Rafael Nadal in the 4th round.  Both players like the clay, but having won all those matches this year, I think greater experience in tight matches will pull Gulbis over the finishing line.

Prediction - Gulbis to beat Monaco in 3 tough sets

3. Marin Cilic v Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson
One of the tightest second round matches to call is the second match on court two between Kevin Anderson and Marin Cilic.  Anderson overcame Jerzy Janowicz in a very tight two setter, 7-5 7-6(9).  Cilic was forced into a decider by Horacio Zeballos, but eventually regrouped from losing the middle set to progress with a 6-2 6-7(6) 6-2 victory.  Cilic has won both previous encounters with Anderson and the most recent of those was on the hard courts of Beijing in 2011 where Cilic won in three sets.  Anderson has been the better player this year, compiling a super consistent year with 18 match wins.  This promises to be a really tight match, but I give the edge to Cilic...

Prediction - Cilic to beat Anderson in 3 tough sets

4. Novak Djokovic v Mikhail Youzhny
It now appears that Novak Djokovic has given the green light to Monte-Carlo and he will take to the court on Wednesday to contest his first match of the tournament against Mikhail Youzhny.  The Russian player defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets, 6-4 6-0 in his first round match.  The majority of previous clashes between Djokovic and Youzhny have gone the distance and the Russian player has notched up three wins over Djokovic, the most recent of those in Rotterdam back in 2011.  Youzhny should go into the match with a bit more hope than usual following Djokovic's injury concerns.  I fancy a nervy start from Djokovic, but he has the mental toughness to prevent an early exit...

Prediction - Djokovic to beat Youzhny in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

Best of the rest: 2nd round predictions
Tomas Berdych to beat Marcel Granollers in 2 sets
Nicolas Almagro to beat Jurgen Melzer in 3 sets
Stan Wawrinka to beat Albert Montanes in 2 sets
Roberto Bautista-Agut to beat Florian Mayer in 2 sets
Jarkko Nieminen to beat Milos Raonic in 3 sets
Fabio Fognini to beat Albert Ramos in 3 sets
Andy Murray to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin in 2 sets

You can see how I am doing with my original predictons for Monte-Carlo HERE

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