Monte Carlo Masters – Round of 32 Report

Rafael Nadal, the 11-time champion at the Monte Carlo Masters, started the tour with a confidence that could be “unstoppable”. Roberto Bautista Agut had no chance opposite the “king of the clay”. Novak Djokovic couldn’t get the dominance going as Nadal but still managed to fight through a tough battle than the scoreline suggested.

The biggest stories come from the bottom half of the top 8 seeds. Three of the top 8 seeded players were eliminated by the end of second round. Kei Nishikori was the latest in the category. No.5 seeded Nishikori didn’t look at home at all. He struggled to control his shots and break Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Giles Simon had a disappointing end to the tournament owing to the back injury. Fabio Fognini, #13 seeded, was expected to have a tight contest fighting Simon. But, he now gets a walk over.

Player of the Round: Marco Cecchinato’s made a magical comeback to shock Stan Wawrinka. (image courtesy: MC Rolex Masters Twitter @ROLEXMCMASTERS )

Players and Key Statistics:

Top Half:

Novak Djokovic wins the game, edging out 16-13 games against Phillip Kohlschreiber. He didn’t look completely in control of the game and his emotions. Bit of warnings and altercations effected his game. Djokovic won the game 6-3 | 4-6 | 6-4 ||

Taylor Fritz, the 65th seeded American made a strong statement against Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman tried to put his best show only when his back was to the wall but the moments were too many for him to overcome. Fritz won the game in 2 straight sets winning 6-4 | 6-2 ||

14th seeded Daniil Medvedev had relatively easy game against Radu Albot from Moldova. He enjoyed the best figures for net games won with a win-loss of 12-3 in his favor, only after Nadal. Strongest return percentage and winning the break points at ease, the game looked like a walk in the park. Medvedev won the game in 2 straight sets winning 6-1 | 6-2 ||

Stefanos Tsitsipas is probably the most exciting player going around in the profession tennis circuits currently. Just 20 years old, he is already at his career best rank in top 10. Already played against Federer at the Dubai Open in the Finals and against Nadal at Australian Open in the Semi-finals, he is drawing everyone’s attention now. Bit of the struggle in the second set but still two straight sets finish for him against Kukushkin. Tsitsipas won the game 6-3 | 7 -5 ||

Dominic Thiem is looking for his second Master’s title this year. He is currently at #5, just one position short of his career best of #4 in 2017. His game against Martin Klizan from Slovakia is really a straight forward one. First Serve winning percentage of 87% is simply mind-boggling. Won 64% of serve points in the game but his first serve return wins are worrying. Thiem won the game in two straight sets 6-1 | 6 -4 ||

Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic’s statistics this year doesn’t quite speak of his performance in the round of 32. David Goffin was the favorite in the clash but he seemed to be player in complete control. 76% of second serve return winning percentage, not a stat that many boast of. 5 double faults of Goffin helped him a bit too. Lajovic won the game in two straight sets 6-3 | 6 -4 ||

Marton Fucsovics vs. Cameron Norrie is one of the closely contested two-set games in the Round of 32. It could either because both played a wonderful contest or both played a horrible game. In this case, it is more the latter. appr. 60% first serve wins and 30% first return wins for both the players meant they were in for a long game. But, Fucsovics’ game just fell apart in the second set. Norrie won the game in two straight sets 6-7 | 3 -6 ||

Upset in the top half of the round 32. Eighth seeded Karen Khachanov was eliminated from the tournament owing to a very disciplined game from Lorenzo Sonego. 5 aces and no double faults. Defending the break points 88% of the time should win games on most days. Returns were nowhere to be seen from Khachanov. Sonego won the game in two straight sets 7-6 | 6 -4 ||

Click on the image to enlarge

Second Half:

Pierre Hugues Herbert, the home boy had a statement or two to make with that performance upsetting No.5 seeded Kei Nishikori. It is easy to ignore the performance quoting a bad day from Nishikori but, his statistics in the game are just too good to ignore. 7 Aces, 81% first serve wins and 100% defence of 10 break points talk for themselves. Nishikori underperformed in all the metrics in comparison to his 2019 statistics, that sums up his day. Herbert won the game 7-5 | 6-4 ||

No 9 seeded Borna Coric had to fight his way out of the match. The closest game that was played in the round of 32. Just two games difference from the set the mattered separated the two players. Munar might be ranked 61in the ATP rankings, but he really punched above his weight. If not for the break points defence from Coric, the results could have gone either way. Coric won the game in 3 sets winning 6-7 | 7-6 | 6-4 ||

No.3 Alexander Zverev looked at home in the round of 32 contest against Wild Card entrant Felix Auger-Aliassime. Clear difference in the first serve win and second return wins was enough to get his wonderful year. Having won 2018 ATP finals and at his career best rank, a phase to savor for him. Zverev won the game in two straight sets 6-1 | 6 -4 ||

Pella caused an upset in the round of 32 defeating #7 seeded, Marin Cilic. A big leap forward for 35 seeded from Argentina. Struggled in the second set where Cilic showed some intent, otherwise it was a clean 6-3, and 6-1 in the other sets. 7 double faults for Cilic helped with a wonderful 73% second return wins, helped Pella through to round of 16. Pella won the game in three sets 6-3 | 5 -7 | 6-1 ||

If Marco Cecchinato is not among the list of players to look out for, this is the time for that. He shocked Stan Wawrinka in the round of 32. Losing the first set 0-6 and to comeback to win the game is no mean feat. If it is against the strong opposition player like Wawrinka, it deserves even more appreciation. 100%break points won at a time that was most needed. The comparable metrics doesn’t tell the complete story in a game that was fought hard. Cecchinato made a wonderful comeback in three sets 0-6 | 7 -5 | 6-3 ||

Grigor Dimitrov of Germany delivered in the game that was hardly anything different between the two players. 48% to 46%- Serve wins | 39% to 38% – Return wins. It really comes to 6 aces versus 1 of Struff to differentiate between them. Dimitrov won the game in two straight sets 7-6 | 6 -4 ||

Another regular day at office for Rafael Nadal. 12 games won for just 2 losses. Green on 2nd serve wins, 1st return wins and break points won meant there was only one way this game was going to finished. Nadal won the game in two straight sets 6-1 | 6 -1 ||

Click on the image to enlarge

Round of 16 starts today with 8 of top 20 seeded players still in contention.

(c) Underlying stats courtesy atptour.com

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