The ATP’s Monte Carlo Masters moves to the round of 16 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, at the Monte Carlo Country Club. That’s where we’ll pick up our tennis picks.
Looking back to Wednesday, we had another winning day with our tennis picks. We swept the board, going 3-0. We expected as much with Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal among our picks and they didn’t disappoint. Murray beat Gilles Muller in straight sets, although both sets went to 7-5. We also won with Nadal, who needed three sets to beat Kyle Edmund but still didn’t break too much of a sweat. Nadal won the first set 6-0 before dropping the second set, but he won the third set 6-3. Our last pick of the day was Lucas Pouille, who also got a win for us. He beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-2 and 6-4.
Looking ahead to Thursday, the day is loaded slate with lots of big names. A few slight to moderate surprises dotted the schedule on Wednesday, with Roberto Bautista-Agut and Grigor Dimitrov bowing out of the tournament. The top players, though, are all on the slate for Thursday, and it should be very entertaining near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Here is a look at our tennis picks for Thursday.
Dominic Thiem vs. David Goffin
This is a rematch of a French Open quarterfinal from last year and an Australian Open fourth-round match earlier this year. Goffin is the better hardcourt player, having won in Melbourne, but Thiem is the superior clay-court craftsman. Austria is a nation where excellence on clay is treasured. Thomas Muster won the 1995 French Open and very briefly became a dynamic, hugely successful clay star in tennis, but injuries limited the length of his career. Thiem hits the ball very big as Muster did, and he feels very comfortable on red clay courts. This isn’t Paris, but it’s still a place where Thiem ought to be able to hit with enough margin to dictate rallies against Goffin without sacrificing court positioning. On clay, Goffin is not likely to be able to flatten the ball the way he does on a hardcourt. Thiem should be able to control the way this match flows, and ultimately win it. Take Thiem with your tennis picks.
Pick: Thiem in straight sets
Alexander Zverev vs. Rafael Nadal
This is the match everyone wants to see in the round of 16. These two players, one from Generation Next and the other a 30-year-old legend of the game, have already created some enduring memories on a tennis court. They met last year in Indian Wells, where Zverev had Nadal on the ropes but then let him get away in an excruciating three-set loss. They met at the Australian Open earlier this year, and Zverev took a two-sets-to-one-lead but could not finish the job. Zverev’s two-handed backhand gives Nadal trouble, as is the case for Rafa in his matchup with Novak Djokovic. The difference is that Djokovic’s backhand down the line is typically the shot which opens up the court for him against Nadal, whereas Zverev cracks the crosscourt backhand with particular effectiveness. This should be a close contest because Zverev has won his first two matches in Monte Carlo with great ease. He is hitting the ball fluidly. However, Nadal knows how to wait out Zverev and elicit errors from the German. On clay, Nadal’s favorite surface, Rafa should be able to do the job again. He’s the better choice for your tennis picks.
Pick: Nadal in three sets
Novak Djokovic vs. Pablo Carreno Busta
This is a match in which Djokovic will have to work hard. First of all, Djokovic’s wrist doesn’t seem 100-percent healed. It still seems a little tender – maybe not injured, but not quite full strength. That’s a problem. What’s also notable is that Carreno Busta is steadily improving as a player. He keeps moving up in the rankings, his big achievement in 2017 being his run to the Indian Wells semifinals. Carreno Busta will make this close, but Djokovic is still resourceful enough to get the win. Take him with your tennis picks.
Pick: Djokovic in three sets
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