Day 3 is in the books at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, and it was a fun day of tennis in Monaco! The tournament is moving along and the stakes are rising, so it will be interesting to see who can handle the pressure. Who will move on and who will fall short? Read on for my best guesses!
We have the rest of the day’s matches between three separate articles. One features Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner, another Salvatore Caruso vs Andrey Rublev, and the third Dan Evans vs Hubert Hurkacz.
ATP Monte Carlo Day 4 Predictions
Fabio Fognini vs Jordan Thompson
Head to Head: 1-0 Fognini
Fabio Fognini had a good start to his Monte Carlo campaign, taking out Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets. Fognini won 55% of his return points in that match, including 66% of the points on the Kecmanovic second serve. Jordan Thompson survived a thriller against Benoit Paire, taking the match in a third set tiebreak. Thompson only won 52% of his service points in that match, a number he will need to improve drastically to hang with Fognini.
Fognini leads the head to head 1-0, but that matchup was on a hard court. Fognini is clearly locked in for this tournament given how he played against Kecmanovic. In addition, Thompson was poor against Paire and was lucky to win that match. His flatter groundstrokes and lack of power do not translate well to the clay. Also, given the way Fognini returned against Kecmanovic and how Thompson served against Paire, I can’t see how Thompson will be able to stay in this match. Fognini moves on.
Prediction: Fognini in 2
Jeremy Chardy vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head to Head: 3-2 Dimitrov
Jeremy Chardy did well to recover from a second set bagel to beat Alexander Bublik in three sets. Chardy broke the big-serving Bublik four times and took four of the five break points he saw. Grigor Dimitrov comfortably beat Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets. Dimitrov’s first serve was huge in the match, winning 74% of his first serve points while making 67% of his first serves. He only got broken once.
Dimitrov leads the head to head 3-2, and while Chardy won the only clay match, that was in 2011. This should be a close match and will come down to whether or not Dimitrov can continue to make his first serves and trouble Chardy with the variety he possesses. Chardy has a good first serve and can whack his groundstrokes too, but I’m not sure he has the rally tolerance or versatility to win this match. Dimitrov advances in a close one.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 3
Lorenzo Sonego vs Alexander Zverev
Head to Head: never played
Lorenzo Sonego continued his good form during his first match in Monte Carlo, beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets. Sonego’s first serve was very strong, winning 77% of his first serve points, utilizing his heavy serve and then attacking with his powerful forehand. Alexander Zverev is playing for the first time since appearing injured in his loss to Emil Ruusuvuori in Miami. Zverev only won 36% of his second serve points in that match, a number that will need to improve, as Sonego just held Fucsovics to 46% second serves won.
These two have never played before. Sonego is very confident right now and hitting his serve and forehand very well. His backhand is also holding up well. I do wonder if he will start to fatigue at some point, though, given how much tennis he’s played recently. Zverev’s health is unknown, but if he is healthy, he is still the better player. He should dominate the backhand cross-court exchanges and he’s good enough to hide his weaker forehand well. I like Zverev to be the one to establish himself on the baseline and win this match, although it will be tight.
Prediction: Zverev in 3
Rafael Nadal vs Federico Delbonis
Head to Head: 4-0 Nadal
Rafael Nadal will be looking for his 12th Monte Carlo title as he starts his campaign against Federico Delbonis. Nadal is by far the greatest clay court player the world has ever seen, it’s hard to even describe how good he is on the surface. Federico Delbonis did well to qualify for this tournament and then beat Adrian Mannarino in straight sets in the first round. Delbonis served very well in that match, winning 75% of his first serve points and 79% of his second serve points while saving all 6 break points he’s faced.
Nadal leads the head to head 4-0, having never lost a set to Delbonis. In their most recent matchup at the Australian Open last season, Nadal won 85% of his first serve points and 78% of his service points overall and held Delbonis to just 44% second serve points won. There’s nothing that Delbonis can do in this matchup. He’s a good clay courter with a heavy serve and lefty forehand, but doesn’t have near the rally tolerance, defensive abilities, touch, or controlled aggression that Nadal has. Nadal wins this match with ease.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Main Photo from Getty.