Thursday, 18 April 2013

ATP Monte-Carlo Quarter-Final Predictions: Nadal-Dimitrov, Wawrinka-Tsonga

1. Rafael Nadal v Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov
It has been business as usual for Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo with two pretty routine wins over Marinko Matosevic and Philipp Kohlschreiber.  Nadal beat Kohlschrieber, 6-2 6-4 in the third round, facing no break points on his serve.  Nadal's next opponent is the unseeded, Grigor Dimitrov, who has transferred his early season promise on hard courts to the clay as well.  He defeated Florian Mayer, 6-2 6-4 to back up an upset win over Janko Tipsarevic in round two.  Nadal and Dimitrov have played each other on one previous occasion in Rotterdam in 2009 when Dimitrov managed to push the Nadal to 3 sets.  The Bulgarian threatened Murray and Djokovic in the American tournaments in March, but couldn't take advantage of his chances.  I think he will show his talent once more, but I cannot see an upset on the cards...

Prediction - Nadal to beat Dimitrov in 2 sets

2. Stanislas Wawrinka v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Andy Murray was spectacularly dumped out of the Monte-Carlo Masters by Stanislas Wawrinka in a 6-1 6-2, 58-minute rout; I was annoyed with myself because I felt there could be an upset here as I loosely mentioned yesterday, but I didn't have the guts to go for it. Wawrinka now moves on to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who also had a rather easy time of it posting a 6-3 6-0 victory over Jurgen Melzer.  Wawrinka has lost just 5 games in his last 2 matches and looks to have hit a rich patch of form.  Tsonga will be a tough match though as indicated by the head-to-head; their last two matches both came at Roland Garros and saw the pair duel for five sets with Wawrinka winning in 2011 and Tsonga in 2012.  I think this could be an entertaining one and I am going for Wawrinka to win it...

Prediction - Wawrinka to beat Tsonga in 3 sets

3. Novak Djokovic v Jarkko Nieminen
It was another scratchy effort from Novak Djokovic, who lost the first set of his third rounder with Juan Monaco, but eventually came through ankle niggles with a 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory.  Djokovic now takes on one of the three unseeded quarter-finalists in Jarkko Nieminen, who has had to work damn hard to make it this far.  He beat Milos Raonic in a third set tiebreak on Wednesday and did it again with a mammoth effort to get past Juan Martin del Potro who served for the match, before eventually falling to Nieminen, 6-4 4-6 7-6(4).  Djokovic and Nieminen have not played since 2010 when Djokovic won in two tight sets in Basel.  Djokovic won't win this tournament with his iffy ankle, but he should have too much game for Nieminen.
Richard Gasquet

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

4. Fabio Fognini v Richard Gasquet
Richard Gasquet continued his impressive season so far with a very solid win over Marin Cilic, 7-5 6-4.  He now takes on Fabio Fognini, who surprisingly took out Tomas Berdych and in straight sets too, 6-4 6-2.  Fognini had taken out fellow Italian, Andreas Seppi in the first round and certainly has credentials on the clay having made the quarter-finals of Roland Garros in 2011The head-to-head is not pretty for Fognini, who has taken just 4 games against Gasquet in 2 previous matches.  The only way Fognini will win this is if the scoreline gets tight and so does Gasquet...

Prediction - Gasquet to beat Fognini in 2 sets

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