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The 4 most mouth-watering matches to watch in the Monte Carlo Masters first round


 

The clay court season gets properly underway today with the first round of the men’s singles at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters. Here tennishead previews four of the most exciting first round tie ups that you should try and watch

 

With the main seeds receiving byes to the 2nd round at the Monte Carlo Masters, none of the first round matches feature any of the really big names. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of tennis for all you tennis purists out there. Form is such a big factor in tennis it makes today an even more enthralling day because it will be the first match this year on clay for a lot of the players, so it’s our chance to get an early indicator of their form coming into this crucial part of the tennis year.

 

 

Fabio Fognini (ITA, 13th seed) vs Andrey Rublev (RUS, Qualifier)

Watching Fognini on a clay court is sometimes a thing of beauty. He’s produced some of his best wins on the red dirt most notably beating Andy Murray in the Davis Cup on a clay court in Naples. But if he’s not in the mood then literally anything can happen! Rublev is also well known for having a fiery temperament which is why we’ve picked this out as a match to watch.

Head to head: Fognini 3 wins vs Rublev 1 win

Last match: Fognini beat Rublev, 6-4, 6-3 on an outdoor hard court

Last match on clay: Rublev beat Fognini, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6

Our prediction: Rublev could win this as he’s come through qualifying so should be used to the slow conditions and he’s got that win on clay against Fognini from 2017 to motivate him.

Watch this match by clicking here for our ‘Guide to ATP tennis on TV’

 

 

Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs Kyle Edmund (GBR, 17th seed)

Both players consider clay to be their favourite surface even though some of their best results have come on hard courts. Edmund made the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open whilst Schwartzman has won 2 ATP Tour titles both of them on outdoor clay courts. Let the battle commence!

Head to head: Schwartzman 1 win vs Edmund 1 win

Last match: Edmund beat Schwartzman, 6-3 7-6 on an indoor hard court

Last match on clay: Never played

Our prediction: Schwartzman’s form hasn’t been as strong as previous years but he did make the final of his home tournament in Argentina on a clay court earlier this year. Edmund has lost a lot of ranking points and his ranking has dropped but mainly because he lost in the first round of the Aussie Open. This match will be close but we’ll go with Schwartzman due to his superior clay court expertise.

Watch this match by clicking here for our ‘Guide to ATP tennis on TV’

 

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)

A classic France vs Spain on a clay court tie! Both players are supremely confident on the red dirt of Europe having spent their whole tennis careers grinding it out on the slippery conditions. Verdasco’s experience against Herbert’s match playing ability will be intriguing to watch.

Head to head: Verdasco 3 wins vs Herbert 0 wins

Last match: Verdasco beat Herbert 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 on an indoor hard court

Last match on clay: Verdasco beat Herbert in 5 sets at the French Open

Our prediction: History says that Verdasco will win this match as he’s never lost to Herbert and beat him on clay the only time they played. But Verdasco is coming to the end of his career at 35 years old whereas Herbert is gradually starting to climb the singles rankings and has shown some good form this year. Tough to call but we’ll go for Herbert to finally notch up a win against Verdasco in 3 sets

Watch this match by clicking here for our ‘Guide to ATP tennis on TV’

 

Giles Simon (FRA) vs Alexie Popyrin (AUS)

Another classic encounter between a veteran grinder with masses of experience against a real prospect for the future who’s in the middle of a breakout year. We love these matches and it’s what makes the first rounds of any tournament so exciting. Simon has everything to lose but is such a tough competitor that no-one enjoys playing him. He makes you win every point.

Head to head: Never played

Last match: Never played

Last match on clay: Never played

Our prediction: Popyrin has been ripping up the qualifying of ATP events this year making it through to the first round no less than 4 times already which means he’ll be seeing the ball like a beachball! Simon’s being doing what he always does this year. Winning his first few matches before losing to a big hitter. We can’t see Popyrin having the guile and staying power to outlast Simon this time.

 

Watch this match by clicking here for our ‘Guide to ATP tennis on TV’

Look ahead to 2019 with our guide to every tournament on the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and the ITF Tour

If you can’t visit the tournaments you love then do the next best thing and read our guide on how to watch all the ATP Tour matches on television in 2019

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