ATP Monte Carlo Masters Day 5 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov

Casper Ruud in action at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters.

It’s been an incredible week of tennis so far at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters and the action will continue with the round of 16 on day five. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the slate, including Novak Djokovic vs Dan Evans. But who will make it to the last eight and who will fall short?

ATP Monte Carlo Masters Day Five Predictions

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Lucas Pouille

Head-to-head: first meeting

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has not lost a set yet this tournament, taking out Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini in straight sets. Davidovich Fokina held both opponents to, at most, 61% of the points won behind their first serves. Not only is he returning serve well, he has also saved eight of the 11 break points he’s faced on his own serve. Lucas Pouille, however, is finding form in Monte Carlo too, with the Frenchman having beaten Guido Pella and Alexei Popyrin to reach the round of 16. Pouille did well to come back from a break down in the third set against Popyrin.

These two have never played before. Davidovich Fokina will almost certainly look to draw Pouille into longer rallies and use his cat-and-mouse style to keep the Frenchman off-balance. Pouille, the more naturally expansive of the two, will try to be aggressive with his groundstrokes and take the fight to Davidovich Fokina. Ultimately, given his high level of play this tournament and his greater fitness – Pouille having missed much of 2019 and 2020 with injury –¬†expect Davidovich Fokina to move on.

Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 2
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David Goffin vs Alexander Zverev

Head-to-head: Goffin 2-2 Zverev

David Goffin has dropped just four games in the past three sets he has played. The Belgian beat Marin Cilic in three sets, but won the decider to love, before dismissing Marco Cecchinato in straight sets. Against Cecchinato, a former-French Open semifinalist, Goffin won 95% of the points he began with a first serve, and held Cecchinato to just 41% of second-serve points won.

Alexander Zverev, meanwhile, beat ATP Sardinia Open champion Lorenzo Sonego in his first match in Monte Carlo. Zverev dominated the Italian’s serve, winning 52% of his return points. The head-to-head is tied at 2-2 in non-exhibition matches, although Zverev has won both of their previous matches on clay.

Still, this match should be close. Goffin won’t let Zverev dictate from the baseline and will try to get Zverev into extended rallies, with Zverev’s forehand likely to be targeted. Zverev, however, has the edge on the backhand side and it’s unrealistic to expect Goffin’s first serve to continue to win him so many points. Simply put, Zverev has more power than Goffin and that should be the difference in this match.

Prediction: Zverev in 3
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Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov

Head-to-head: Nadal 13-1 Dimitrov

Rafael Nadal had a good start to the clay-court season, tearing through the outclassed Federico Delbonis to win 6-1 6-2.  Nadal won 73% of the points behind his first serve, whilst Delbonis won barely more than one out of every five points behind his second serve. Grigor Dimitrov has also made a strong start at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, beating Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy in straight sets. Dimitrov has won over 70% of his first serve points in both of his matches so far.

However, Nadal has dominated the head-to-head, winning 13 of their 14 matches. That includes a 5-1 record on clay (and 10-1 in sets won). Nadal’s heavy lefty forehand to the Dimitrov one-handed backhand will be a huge problem for the Bulgarian. Dimitrov will try to mix things up with his variety, but there’s nothing he can do that will bother Nadal on clay. Nor can Dimitrov look to his serve to earn him free points the Spaniard. Nadal will win this match comfortably.

Prediction: Nadal in 2
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Pablo Carreno Busta vs Casper Ruud

Head-to-head: Carreno Busta 1-1 Ruud

Pablo Carreno Busta has continued his good form after winning the title in Marbella, taking out Stefano Travaglia and Karen Khachanov in straight sets so far in Monte Carlo. The Spaniard won 82% of his first-serve points and 68% of his second-serve return points against Khachanov in a dominant display.

But, after impressing in beating Holger Rune, Casper Ruud picked up a huge win over Diego Schwartzman in the second round. Ruud is playing terrific tennis, winning at least 75% of his first-serve points against both Rune and Schwartzman, whilst also bullying their second serves. The head-to-head is tied at one win apiece, with both matches contested on clay.

Carreno Busta is solid from the baseline, but Ruud has a heavy serve and forehand, giving him major weapons that he can dictate with. Carreno Busta may also be slightly fatigued from a long couple of weeks and Ruud has the game to hurt him. This match will come down to whether Ruud can dominate from the baseline with his forehand, or if Carreno Busta forces Ruud to hit more backhands than he is comfortable with. Given that Carreno Busta had a long week in Marbella and Ruud is coming into this tournament pretty fresh and is playing well, expect the Norwegian to have the edge.

Prediction: Ruud in 3

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