The first masters 1000 clay court tournament
of the year is fast approaching as the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters draw was just released. I’ll break down the early round matches
of the draw, potential upsets and much more here on GS Tennis News Today. *Intro* In the top half of the draw Novak Djokovic
may face his Indian Wells conqueror Philip Kohlsriber should Kohly make it through his
first match against Thanasi Kokkinakis. The first seed he is projected to face is
14th Gael Monfils who faces Diego Schwartzman in the first round
However, Jo wilfred tsonga stands in La Monf’s path before this Monfils-Djokovic 3R could
happen Tsitsipas is Novak’s projected seed to face
in the quarterfinals but he may have to face familiar foe Daniil Medvedev to get there. Moving down on the top half we see reigning
Indian Wells champ and 4 seed Dominic Thiem with a strong chance of meeting the always
difficult Martin Klizan who actually leads their head to head 3 to 1, so this can potentially
be a challenging match for the Austrian. Should he get past this match he could face
troublesome Belgian David Goffin who may have a potentially challenging 2nd round match
as well as he might face dangerous Brit Kyle Edmund. Thiem’s projected Quarterfinal oppnent is
Number 8 seed Karen Khachanov who may have to play reigning Hamburg champion Nikoloz
Basilashvili in the 3rd round. In the bottom half Kei Nishikori has a tricky
oppening round match either way you slice it as he’s guaranteed to face a clay court
specialist in either Fernando Verdasco or Pierre Hughes Herbert. If he makes it past this, he could face 9th
seeded Croatan Borna Coric in the third round. Borna himself has a difficult first round
match as he’ll face a player who had an exceptional sunshine double 22 year old Hubert
Hurkacz. Either Kei or Borna could meet 3 seed Sascha
Zverev in the quarterfinals who has a strong possibility of facing rising Canadian star
Felix Auger Alliasmime in the second round. The unpredicable clay court specialist Fabio
Fognini also looms in that section. Marin Cilic, who hasn’t beat a top 20 player
all year, is the 7th seed and will like Nishikori, face a clay courter in his opening round match
as he’ll face either Rio Open winner Laslo Djere, or Sao Paulo Open winner Guido Pella. Should he get past that he has a strong chance
to play even more clay court enthusiasts as Marco Cecchinato, Lucas Pouille, and Stanislas
Wawrinka are all in his section. If Cilic manages to get past these giant tests,
he road to a first 1000 title on clay doesn’t get any easier as 11 time Monte Carlo champion
Rafael Nadal resides in his quarter. On paper, Rafa’s draw itself seems challenging
as he may face compatriot and this year’s Djokovic slayer Roberto Bautista Agut in his
opening round match. Other tough company also loom for Rafa as
Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov both reside in the Spaniard’s section. Popcorn Matches While there are many highly anticipated popcorn
matches in this tournament. These are the ones I believe you should be
tuning in for. First is Diego Schwartzman vs Gael Monfils. To be totally honest, both of these players
aren’t coming into this tournament with the best form. Monfils had to withdraw from two matches during
the sunshine double due to an achilles injury, and Schwartzman hasn’t been performing well
this year for the most part. This match up is still intriguing as both
players have the potential to showcase some high level tennis, and both seem to be excellent
on the red dirt. The next popcorn match is that of Fernando
Verdasco against Pierre Hughes Herbert. Like I said before, both are good clay court
players with their last two meetings going to a final set. This one is definitely one to look out for. The final popcorn match to look out for, and
possibly the most anticipated one is between Lucas Pouille and Stanislas Wawrinka. Although neither player has an exeplempary
Sunshine Double, both players always seem to show up on clay. Both have also had success in the past before
with Lucas reaching the semifinals two years ago, and the Swiss winning the tournament
back in 2014. This is also the pairs first meeting so I’ll
be a new experience for both players. Dark Horses My dark horses for this tournament are Andreas
Seppi, Felix-Auger Alliasime, and Stanislas Wawrinka. While some may be surprised by this, i believe
Andreas has a very good chance to reach the Quarterfinal round and maybe even further
in this tournament. He’ll face a qualifier in the first round
and will face Karen Khachanov in the next. While Karen is a very good player he hasn’t
had the best year with his best result coming at Indian Wells when he made this Quarterfinals. The italian is also very dangerous on the
clay which can make it difficult for any player to deal with. Felix-Auger Alliasime is my next dark horse
and it is actually not really due to his stellar performances in Indian Wells and Miami. The canadian showcased incredible form on
clay early on in the year reaching the finals of the 500 tournament in Brazil. In this tournament Felix showed that he was
good on pretty much any surface especially on the clay already winning 6 main draw matches
this year on the dirt. My final dark horse of this tournament is
Stanislas Wawrinka. Not only is Stan continuously a threat on
the red stuff, but he also has a slightly favorable draw minus the tough first rounder
against Pouille. Lastly, the seeds in his section Marin Cilic,
and Marco Cecchinato are both challenging players to face, but Stan can definitely beat
both of them if his health allows it. Predictions I’ll start off my predictions by saying
that Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal will meet in the finals. These two are currently the top two clay court
players right now and it’s hard to bet against either of them going deep into this tournament. While Novak Djokovic is never an easy player
to defeat, I’m just not sure if his mind is right just yet to make a big run in a tournament. After his Miami loss to Bautista-Agut he said
that motivation and other mental concerns were the root of his struggles, so we’ll
have to keep an eye out on this when he plays. Although Alexander Zverev is a favorite coming
into this tournament, I just don’t see him going very far. His results haven’t been the best this year
at all as even this week he suffered a shocking loss in his second round match in Morocco
to Jaume Munar who in the next round bowed out to Benoit Paire in less than an hour. I also believe Felix Auger Aliasime will be
a problem for the young German as the Canadian has a lot more match play than he does and
a lot more confidence. Should he get by this match, I think that
Nishikori would take him out in the quarterfinals as the Japanese man has been training very
hard on the dirt recently and actually beat Zverev in the semifinals of this tournament
last year when Kei was on his comeback trail. Now my other finalist pick comes as no surprise
as the King of Clay Rafael Nadal heads into this tournament as the 3 time defending champion. While the knee injury he had in Indian Wells
is a concern for some, Rafa clearly doesn’t look deterred as soon after his withdrawal
from that tournament and Miami, he has been grinding on the clay nonstop. He looks fit, fast, and ready to challenge
for another clay court title. Between Dominic and Rafael I choose Rafael
to raise the trophy at the end of next week. Although the Austrian has beaten the Mallorcan
the past 3 years on the surface, I just believe Nadal will be too sharp to handle. The two recent wins Domi had over Rafa were
in straight sets. I think this is due to Rafa playing consecutive
amount of matches before playing Thiem, and was a second or two too slow in the matches
he lost. In both 2017 and 2018, Nadal already won at
least 2 tournaments before playing the latter which I think has a lot to do with these loses. Thiem and Nadal played in the quarters of
this same tournament last year and even though Thiem was off this day, Nadal demolished him
winning 60 62. This shows me that when Nadal is fresh coming
into these meetings with Dominic he’ll have higher chance of winning. Thats all for this tournament preview. What are your thoughts of the draw? Do you agree with my darkhorses and predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comment section
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Dennis Veasley

5 thoughts on “2019 Monte Carlo Tennis Masters Preview | Draw Analysis & Predictions”

  1. The 2019 Monte Carlo Draw is packed and loaded with intriguing match ups. Which one ones are your favorite? Comment down below and also let me know if you agree with my predictions or not

  2. Nadal 's knees must be fine. It is clay,after all. Djokovic might take him out but runs the risk of being taken out by someone else !

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