The quarterfinals of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters are here! It’s been an awesome week of tennis so far in Monte Carlo. And while Novak Djokovic was upset by Dan Evans, we still have 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the mix! Who will advance to the final four and who will fall short? I give my best guesses below.
ATP Monte Carlo Quarterfinals Predictions
Dan Evans vs David Goffin
Head to Head: 1-0 Evans
Dan Evans should feel very proud of himself. The Brit took out Novak Djokovic in straight sets, winning 48% of the points on the Djokovic serve, including 54% of the points on the Djokovic second serve. Evans is such a gritty competitors, truly a joy to watch. David Goffin is having a great week in Monte Carlo and just beat Alexander Zverev to reach the quarterfinals. Goffin won 82% of his first serve points and saved all six break points he faced against the German.
Evans leads the head to head 1-0, having won in straight sets at the ATP Cup last season. In that matchup, Evans was all over the Goffin serve, breaking him five times. You wouldn’t think that Evans’ game would work on clay, but he makes it work. Evans employs lots of backhand slices, net approaches, and takes away the rhythm of clay court tennis. Goffin is serving well and knows how to work points on clay. Evans did great to beat Djokovic today, but I foresee a bit of a let down tomorrow. Goffin now has played two straight matches winning over 80% of his first serves and is playing terrific tennis too. I think the Belgian gets it done tomorrow with more solid baseline play.
Prediction: Goffin in 3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head to Head: never played
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was able to get past Lucas Pouille in straight sets. Davidovich Fokina held Pouille to only 52% of his service points won, while winning 65% of his service points. Stefanos Tsitsipas was able to handle a tricky opponent in Cristian Garin comfortably, taking out the Chilean 6-3, 6-4. Tsitisipas won 73% of the points on his own serve, while holding Garin to 45% points on his second serve.
These two have never played before. Davidovich Fokina has a great baseline game and plays with good variety. While he overuses the drop shot at times, it’s still a weapon and his backhand down-the-line is a top-notch shot. Stefanos Tsitsipas has handled his tough draw of Aslan Karatsev and Cristian Garin very well. Tsitsipas is so good at controlling the baseline on clay and he uses his serves very effectively to get him exactly where he wants in the points. While Davidovich is a very talented player, Tsitsipas has more power and should be able to push the Spaniard around from the baseline. While Davidovich’s variety will keep the Tsitsipas off-balance, look fo the Greek to advance.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
Fabio Fognini vs Casper Ruud
Head to Head: 2-0 Ruud
Fabio Fognini is putting together a very good week in Monte Carlo. Against Filip Krajinovic in his previous match, Fognini won 81% of his first serve points and was only broken one time. Casper Ruud beat Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets to make the quarterfinals. Ruud won 78% of his first serve points and saved two match points in the third set in the epic win.
Ruud leads the head to head 2-0, including a win on the clay of Hamburg last season. However, a nearly three-hour match against a player as physical Carreno Busta will take a lot of the stamina out of Ruud’s legs. However, Ruud has the biggest weapon on the court in his forehand and his backhand is holding up well. Fognini seems very motivated this week and this will especially be the case with a potential semifinal showdown with Rafael Nadal incoming. Fognini is extremely quick around the court, anticipates well, and can absolutely crank his groundstrokes when he’s focused. Given Ruud’s long previous match and Fognini’s form, look for the Italian to reach the semifinals.
Prediction: Fognini in 3
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev
Head to Head: 2-0 Nadal
Rafael Nadal had another easy win in Monte Carlo, defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-1. Nadal won 78% of his service points and 59% of his return points, which are just absurd numbers. Andrey Rublev survived a very tough test against Roberto Bautista Agut. Rublev did well to recover mentally from losing his break lead in the third set (and from losing the second set after being a set up).
Nadal leads the head to head 2-0, although both matches were on hard courts. I’ve been saying this all week, and it’s true, there’s nothing Rublev can do on clay that can trouble Nadal. He has huge groundstrokes, but Nadal neutralizes those big groundstrokes so well on the clay and he will take advantage of Rublev’s weaker second serve. It’s also unfortunate for Rublev that he had such a tough match coming into this matchup against Nadal. Expect to see Nadal win comfortably to reach the semifinals of Monte Carlo.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Main Photo from Getty.