After an incredible first day of action at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, expect more of the same on Day 2! Who will get a step closer to grabbing the first clay Masters 1000 event of the season? I give my best guesses below! Enjoy our predictions for all of day 2 matches.
ATP Monte Carlo Day 2 Predictions
Alexander Bublik vs Jeremy Chardy
Head to Head: 1-0 Bublik
Alexander Bublik has played some good tennis this season, which included a run to the quarterfinals of Miami in his last tournament. Bublik’s unorthodox game, featuring a lot of variety and huge serves, has been clicking well. Jeremy Chardy has also had a very solid start to his season after struggling in 2020. However, in Miami, he lost in his first match against Denis Kudla.
Bublik leads the head to head 1-0, having won in three sets on the hard courts of Antalya earlier this season. Clay makes this matchup very interesting, as its not Bublik’s best surfaces. Bublik has a career winning percentage on clay of 54%, while Chardy’s winning percentage on clay over the course of his career is 57%. Somewhat surprisingly, this is Chardy’s best winning percentage out of any of the different surfaces. So, while Bublik is the better player at this point and in better form, Chardy holds the surface edge. But, I think Bublik’s first serve will be huge in avoiding longer clay court rallies and he’s showed enough on the surface in the past that I feel comfortable picking Bublik in a close match.
Prediction: Bublik in 3
Salvatore Caruso vs Lucas Catarina
Head to Head: never played
Salvatore Caruso did well to qualify for this event, beating Martin Klizan and Bernard Tomic without dropping a set. This was an important qualifying campaign, as he had lost his previous 5 matches before coming to Monte Carlo. Lucas Catarina is coming into the event having just won a Futures event in Monastir, although the tournament was on hard. Catarina has also had some recent success at the Challenger level, having reached the quarterfinals of the St. Petersburg 1 Challenger in March.
These two have never played before. This is a big step up in level for Catarina, as Caruso is a solid baseliner who consistently gets his groundstrokes deep in the court. Catarina’s 49% career winning percentage on clay (compared to 64% on hard) is a little worrying and when he was recently playing in last Challenger event, the Cleveland Challenger, he wasn’t able to win 60% of his first or second service points in either of his two matches there. That’s worry against a good returner in Caruso who should be able to pick him apart on clay. Caruso moves on.
Prediction: Caruso in 2
Marco Cecchinato vs Dominik Koepfer
Head to Head: never played
Marco Cecchinato played good tennis to qualify for Monte Carlo, taking down Marc-Andrea Huesler and Henri Laaksonen to make the main draw. Cecchinato knows how to play on the dirt and has incredible touch. Dominik Koepfer also qualified for Monte Carlo, but he did so without losing a set. Koepfer had two very good wins over Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Juan Ignacio Londero to make the main draw.
These two have never played before. Koepfer is returning serve very well, holding Zapata Miralles to 55% first serves won and 28% second serves won, while Londero only won 46% of his first serves and 52% of his second serves. On the other hand, somewhat surprisingly, Cecchinato has won at least 75% of his first serves in both of his qualifying matches. This a very even match, but Koepfer’s qualifying wins were more impressive and I think that his level is just a little bit higher than Cecchinato’s at this point. While, I worry that Cecchinato will frustrate him with the Italian’s ability to take the ball out of Koepfer’s strike zone, I think Koepfer will do well enough to control the baseline and barely give Cecchinato the chance to step up in the court and make him uncomfortable. Koepfer advances.
Prediction: Koepfer in 3
Aslan Karatsev vs Lorenzo Musetti
Head to Head: never played
Aslan Karatsev has had a breakthrough season, making the semifinals of the Australian Open and winning his first title on the ATP Tour in Dubai. Karatsev, however, did struggle in the Miami heat and humidity, looking out of sorts in a straight sets to Sebastian Korda in his second match. Lorenzo Musetti continues to impress, making the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 clay event in Sardinia after going 8-2 in his 10 matches in Acapulco and Miami (qualifying and main draw combined). Musetti’s variety, shot selection, control, and rally tolerance are all unbelievable for someone only 19 years old.
These two have never played before. This is surely match of the first round in Monte Carlo and it should be an incredible match. This is Karatsev’s first clay match since French Open qualifying last season, but he’s no stranger to the surface. Karatsev won 2 clay court Challengers after the hiatus last season and made the final of a third clay Challenger event. Musetti also won his first clay court Challenger (and first overall) after the hiatus last season and has made two more Challenger finals this season, one on clay and one on indoor hard.
This is a very tough match to call. Are we going to see Miami Karatsev, where he was only winning 29% of his second serve points against Korda and only won 38% of the points on the Korda serve? Or will we see Dubai/Australian Open Karatsev, where he was serving huge and controlling the court well? Karatsev will have to work very hard to hit through the incredible Musetti defenses. The Italian can turn defense into offense very quickly. But, ultimately, as was the case in his recent quarterfinal loss in Sardinia to Djere, Karatsev might have a little too offense for Musetti to handle. The Russian won’t give Musetti the chance to spin his web and play the cat-and-mouse points he is best at. Karatsev moves on.
Prediction: Karatsev in 3
Main Photo from Getty.