The ATP’s Monte Carlo Masters completes its second round on Wednesday and that’s where we’ll pick up our tennis picks. Taking a look back to Tuesday, we had a relatively productive day with our tennis picks. We went 2-1 on the day, although we did suffer one big upset. We lost with Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who was stunned by Adrian Mannarino. Tsonga won the first set and then basically packed it in, winning just five games the rest of the way. However, we did get a win with Novak Djokovic. He played and won on Tuesday beating Gilles Simon in three sets. It wasn’t an easy one as he dropped the second set. We also won with Jeremy Chardy, who needed the full three sets to oust Borna Coric.
The other top seeds and big names take the court in the round of 32, working toward Thursday’s round of 16 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, at the Monte Carlo Country Club. With that in mind, here are our tennis picks for Wednesday.
Andy Murray vs. Gilles Muller
The World No. 1 returns to action as Murray tries to shrug off an injury which kept him out of Miami a few weeks ago. Murray lost in his first match at Indian Wells, so he has not played a live match in over a month – this does not include a charity exhibition he played against Roger Federer earlier in April. Murray is a question mark at this point, so in many ways, the focal point of the match is his opponent. Muller won his first ATP title earlier this year, but that was on hardcourts. He is a dangerous hardcourt and grass player, but Muller’s big serve and net-rushing game are not a good match for clay. Murray is also the kind of player who likes playing serve-and-volleyers. First of all, the return of serve is one of the strongest parts of his game. He loves being able to time his returns and take control of a point with an effective and immediate jab thrown at the server. Second, Murray is a highly competent passing-shot hitter who also has a very delicate and developed touch on his lob shots. He can do so many things to easily and substantially frustrate a net-rushing opponent such as Muller. Moreover, the slower clay surface at the Monte Carlo Masters will prevent Muller’s volleys from speeding through the court as quickly as they otherwise would on grass or hardcourts. The slower court surface will also enable Murray to run down more shots and send them back in Muller’s direction. The quality of the matchup works in Murray’s favor. Murray isn’t a lock, because he is an injury-affected mystery, but he certainly has to like his chances. Take Murray with your tennis picks.
Pick: Murray in straight sets
Kyle Edmund vs. Rafael Nadal
This is a very intriguing match in that Edmund can truly pound the forehand through the court. However, Nadal can work Edmund’s backhand side and draw both errors and short balls that way. Edmund will have to serve big and get many dozens of winners from his forehand just to stay close. Even if Edmund plays really well, he’ll have to be a lot better than Nadal, whose basic skills and attitudes make him such a difficult and determined professional, the kind of player it is always hard to eliminate.
Edmund could give Rafa a battle, but everyone knows this is Nadal’s tournament to lose. Don’t get against him here or over the next two days
Pick: Nadal in straight sets
Lucas Pouille vs. Paolo Lorenzi
This is a match in which Lorenzi should get a supportive crowd, given that Italy is not too far from the location of the Monte Carlo Country Club. However, Pouille looked very comfortable and organized in the process of taking out Ryan Harrison on Tuesday. That crisp performance bodes well for Pouille going forward. He should not succumb to an upset bid from Harrison, an American who is comfortable on cement, not clay. Take Pouille with your tennis picks in this spot.
Pick: Pouille in three sets
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