Djokovic and Nadal face tough opening matches in Monte Carlo
The top 2 seeds at this year’s Monte Carlo Masters ATP 1000 event, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, will have to negotiate their way past tricky first round opponents if they are to progress.
Top seed and World No.1 Novak Djokovic will play his nemesis from the recent Indian Wells tournament Phillip Kohlschreiber. In that tournament the German single hander Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic in 2 straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to score his second career win against the legendary Serbian.
Remarkably Kohlscreiber’s other win against Djokovic was on the clay of Roland Garros back in 2009 when he beat Djokovic in 3 straight sets.
Few will predict a similar result this time around but there’s no doubt that Djokovic would have preferred to play someone else in his first competitive match of 2019 on clay. The great Serb hasn’t been himself since winning the Australian Open and lost early on in both Masters 1000 tournaments recently at Indian Wells and Miami. If he wants to complete another ‘Novak Slam’ in Paris this year he will need to improve quickly.
Nadal faces fellow spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in what seems an easier match up for the ‘King of Clay’ but Bautista-Agut has been in superb form this year scoring some huge wins including a defeat of World No.1 Djokovic in Miami.
But the Spaniard hasn’t ever beaten his compatriot Nadal having lost both encounters on clay courts. Nadal’s preparation is always thorough and Bautista-Agut’s counter punching style of play will allow Nadal to play the match on the front foot which is how he likes it on clay.
If Bautista-Agut wants to hurt Nadal he’ll have to play extremely competitively and hope that Nadal hasn’t yet found his form on his favourite surface. The slow conditions and cool climate of Monte Carlo at this time of year could also help to slow the game down which will favour Bautista-Agut somewhat.
But tennishead predicts that both Nadal and Djokovic will find a way to get through these opening matches with only Djokovic potentially losing a set along the way.
You can find out how to watch both Nadal and Djokovic’s first round matches here
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