Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ATP Monte-Carlo 3rd Round Predictions: Murray-Wawrinka, Djokovic-Monaco, Del Potro-Nieminen

1. Stanislas Wawrinka v Andy Murray
Stanislas Wawrinka
Andy Murray opened his clay court season with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Edouard Roger-Vasselin, beginning much quicker than some of his previous matches and facing no troubles in making the third round.  Murray will now face a significantly steeper challenge against Stanislas Wawrinka.  The Swiss number two took out Denis Istomin in the first round and then rather emphatically handed out two breadsticks in a 6-1 6-1 beatdown of Albert Montanes today in just 54 minutes.  

Murray and Wawrinka have a colourful head-to-head; Wawrinka has beaten Murray 4 times, twice of those on the clay although the most recent of those was 5 years ago.  Wawrinka has challenged Murray on the hard courts, most famously beating him at the US Open in 2010.  I don't really see any upsets on Thursday, but if you are feeling risky then this is probably your best bet... should be a tester for Murray.

Prediction - Murray to beat Wawrinka in 3 sets

2. Novak Djokovic v Juan Monaco
Novak Djokovic began in nervous fashion, quickly going down 0-4 before losing the first set, 6-4 to Mikhail Youzhny.  However he found his stride to come through in three sets against the Russian, 4-6 6-1 6-4.  Djokovic now takes on the Argentine, Juan Monaco who prevailed in the most dramatic match of the day; he took out Ernests Gulbis, 6-0 3-6 6-3, who received a game penalty in the third set for a string of offences including decimating his racquet and hitting a tennis ball out of the arena.  Gulbis's antics continue to overshadow his talent, but good on Monaco who is turning around his season in a big way.  I think Djokovic will find his mojo in this match at least, and ease into the quarter-finals.

Prediction - Djokovic to beat Monaco in 2 sets

3. Jarkko Nieminen v Juan Martin del Potro
It was a rough start to Monte-Carlo for Juan Martin del Potro who found himself a set and a break down to Alexandr Dolgopolov in his second round match.  However the Ukranian offered del Potro a route back into the match and he duly obliged eventually coming through, 1-6 6-4 6-3 for his first ever main draw win in Monte-Carlo.  Next up is Jarkko Nieminen, who knocked out Milos Raonic in a third set tiebreak.  

Marin Cilic
Based on Del Potro's first match, he certainly was nowhere near the form that took him to the final of Miami, defeating Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray along the way; however adjusting to the clay will obviously take some time.  This is a good match-up for Del Potro though, who has won all 4 previous matches with Nieminen not getting more than 4 games in any of the sets they have played.  Nieminen has no real weapons that can hurt the big Argentine and I predict del Potro will win this.

Prediction - Del Potro to beat Nieminen in 2 very tight sets

4. Marin Cilic v Richard Gasquet
Richard Gasquet booked his place in the third round after defeating Benoit Paire, 6-1 3-6 6-1 .  His next match will be against Marin Cilic, who comfortably eased past Kevin Anderson, 6-2 6-3, in what I anticipated to a much closer match.  Rather surprisingly, Cilic and Gasquet have never met on the ATP tour.  I struggled to call this match from the start and early form in Monte-Carlo doesn't make it easier.  I'm going to go with the form book and the higher ranked player in Gasquet to make the quarter-finals, favouring a touch more flair on the clay to prevail...

Prediction - Gasquet to beat Cilic in 3 sets

Best of the rest: 3rd round predictions
Tomas Berdych to beat Fabio Fognini in 2 sets
Grigor Dimitrov to beat Florian Mayer in 2 tight sets
Rafael Nadal to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in 2 sets
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to beat Jurgen Melzer in 3 sets


  1. Dimitrov doesnt play against Bautista...

  2. Thanks for pointing this out, Tenista! I have corrected my mistake.