Day three at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters marks the first appearance of Eight time winner Rafael Nadal, four time runner up Roger Federer and the defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka as the world number one Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer and US Open Champion Marin Cilic already progressed into the round of 16 at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
The 2013 champion Novak Djokovic won in straight sets against Albert Ramos-Vinolas while Ferrer went through as Victor Estrella Burgos conceded the match in the second set, while the Croat Marin Cillic who was sidelined by shoulder injury that ruled him out of the Australian Open in Melbourne had to battle hard against the German Florian Mayer before prevailing in three sets. The Austrian Andreas Maurer was the other second round winner as he beat the in form Australian Bernard Tomic who has climbed back to a career high 26 in the rankings.
The Second ranked Roger Federer plays the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who won his first round match against the Argentine qualifier Diego Schwartzman. Chardy had beaten the Swiss at the Rome Masters in 2014 saving one match point when Federer came back from paternity leave following the birth of twin sons which made him miss the Madrid Masters. Federer who lost to countryman Wawrinka last year in the finals has won titles in Brisbane and Dubai and is 16-2 this year.
Rafael Nadal opens his campaign against wild card entry Lucas Pouille of France who defeated the Austrian Dominic Thiem. Nadal owned this event between 2005 and 2012 as he claimed an unprecedented eight titles in Monte Carlo but saw his run come to an end as he lost to Djokovic in the 2013 final and then lost in the quarter-final to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. He has struggled this year and has won only in Buenos Aires on clay and is 15-5 this year.
Last year’s champion Stanislas Wawrinka opens the defense of his title against the Argentine Juan Monaco who finished runner up at Buenos Aires loosing the finals against Nadal. Wawrinka won titles in Chennai and Rotterdam this year and lost in the semi-final of the Australian Open to the eventual champion Djokovic. Wawrinka is 16-4 this year and would need to be at his best to beat Monaco who was once ranked a career high no. 10 in 2012.
Twelve second round matches are to be played tomorrow and my picks are mentioned first :-
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (11) v. David Goffin
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Lucas Pouille
John Isner (15) v. Victor Troicki
Giles Simon (10) v. Benoit Paire
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Sergey Stakhovsky
Roberto Bautista Agut (12) v. Phillip Kohlschreiber
Tommy Robredo (16) v. Marcel Granollers
Milos Raonic (4) v. Joao Sousa
Stanislas Wawrinka (7) v. Juan Monaco
Fabio Fognini v. Grigor Dmitrov (9)
Gael Monfils (14) v. Alexander Dolgopolov
Roger Federer (2) v. Jeremy Chardy
The temperamental Italian Fognini defeated Nadal on clay in Rio De Janeiro but has struggled since, his opponent Dimitrov too has been far from impressive this year. Expect a potential upset there while John Isner will have to rely on his serve to get past the Serb Troicki and the out of form Bautista Agut would do well to see off the German Kohlschreiber. Novak Djokovic next faces Andreas Haider Maurer on Thursday, while Ferrer awaits the winner of the all French encounter between Simon and Paire. Cilic plays the winner of the match between Tsonga and the Belgian David Goffin.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]