Monte Carlo Masters Day 2 Predictions Including Fabio Fognini vs Andrey Rublev

Diego Schwartzman
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There were a number of close contests on day one of the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters. Borna Coric won a battle of endurance against Hubert Hurkacz in a match that lasted nearly three hours. Stan Wawrinka’s win was devoid of any drama, but the likes of Guido Pella and Grigor Dimitrov had to battle hard to book their spots in the second round. But who will join them on day two?

Monte Carlo Masters Day 2 Predictions

Fabio Fognini vs Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: Fognini 3-1 Rublev

Last meeting: 2018 Beijing (Fognini won 6-4 6-3)

Fabio Fognini is going through something of a rough patch at the moment. He has won just one singles match since January, which came in Miami against the Argentinian journeyman Guido Andreozzi. The Italian is still a natural clay courter, but he hasn’t been able to find the winning touch on the terre battue so far in 2019. He lost in the first round at the Cordoba Open, Argentina Open, Rio Open and, most recently, in Marrakesh at the Grand Prix Hassan II against Jiri Vesely.

Fognini’s losses against players he is expected to beat on his beloved surface begs the question as to whether he’s lost the motivation required to win at the highest level. He has, however, been backed to recover from his bad spell by his wife, former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, who explained that his losses were largely due to a lack of mental preparation, rather than any injury concerns. Nonetheless, Russia’s Andrey Rublev will surely fancy his chances to inflict yet another defeat on Fognini.

Rublev was beaten quite easily by the Italian in their most recent meeting which came in Beijing last season. But he was victorious in their last meeting on clay in Umag two years ago en route to the first and thus far only title of his career. The NextGen star should also be acclimatised to the conditions in Monte Carlo after winning two qualifying matches in the Principality, including a straight sets win over France’s fast rising Ugo Humbert. Rublev is unquestionably currently the more balanced and consistent player and that should prove the difference.

Prediction: Rublev in three
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Roberto Bautista Agut vs John Millman

Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 4-0 Millman

Last meeting: 2019 Australian Open (Agut won 6-3 6-1 3-6 6-7 6-4)

This looks like a potentially one-sided match given Roberto Bautista Agut’s dominance of their head-to-head record. But John Millman has given the Spaniard real trouble in the past, taking him to five sets in Melbourne earlier this season. He may well try employ the same patterns that worked well at the Australian Open, namely attacking into the Spaniard’s forehand wing with his powerful groundstrokes. However, the conditions and the court should suit Bautista Agut’s grinding, defensive style well. Indeed, Monte Carlo has arguably the slowest courts of any tour-level event and that should help the Spaniard’s relentless tennis wear down Millman over three sets.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in three
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Denis Shapovalov vs Jan-Lennard Struff

Head-to-head: Shapovalov 1-0 Struff

Last meeting: 2018 Japan Open (Shapovalov won 4-6 7-6 6-4)

Canada is slowly establishing itself as a tennis powerhouse with the likes of Bianca Andreescu on the WTA tour and Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov on the men’s tour becoming familiar names to the tennis world. However, Shapovalov has rather plateaued of late. The 19-year-old made an eye-catching run to the last four in Montreal in 2017 (defeating del Potro and Nadal along the way), but no major breakthroughs arrived in 2018, though he did reach another Masters semifinal at the Madrid Open.

He has also played some fine tennis in the early months of 2019, highlighted by a run to the Miami Open semifinals (lost to Federer), and is currently at a career-high ranking of 20th in the world. But Shapovalov will need a crisp performance full of aggression, power and good serving to thwart the big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff. The 6’5” Struff moves well for a man of his stature, but he does struggle with inconsistency. That could well prove to be his undoing against the talented Shapovalov, who seems to be playing the best tennis of his young career.

Prediction: Shapovalov in three
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Kyle Edmund vs Diego Schwartzman

Head-to-head: Edmund 1-1 Schwartzman

Last meeting: 2018 Vienna (Edmund won 6-3 7-6)

Kyle Edmund is still coming to terms of being in the spotlight as British #1 following Andy Murray’s extended absence with a serious hip injury. Nonetheless, the Yorkshireman is building a solid career, even if his achievements remain some way short of the three-time Major champion’s. Indeed, 2018 was a career-year for Edmund, who reached the Australian Open semifinals in January before winning the Stockholm Open at the close of the season, finishing the year as the world #14.

Edmund’s first-round opponent at the Monte Carlo Masters will be the diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman has two clay court titles to his name and reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last season, where he was the only man to take a set off the great Rafael Nadal. He also came to within one match of winning a third clay-court crown in February in Buenos Aires, but was well-beaten by an imperious Marco Cecchinato in the final.

Edmund and Schwartzman look to be fairly well matched on paper. Edmund relies heavily on his powerful forehand, but has worked hard to improve his two-hander over the past eighteen months, with the down the line backhand now a valuable weapon in his arsenal. Schwartzman, meanwhile, is no slouch, with impressive fitness levels and excellent timing. But the Brit should be able to carve out a decisive advantage with his serve and athleticism.

Prediction: Edmund in three
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