Proceedings in Monte-Carlo may have been delayed on Monday due to persistent rain but a full days schedule was completed ahead of Wednesday which will see Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic kick of their campaigns, but what has happened so far?
Rain halts Felix but Garin progresses following delay.
On Monday afternoon, Felix Auger Aliassime who is being coached by Toni Nadal at the moment was 4-2 up on Cristian Garin looking to extend his lead to 5-2 but at 30-30 play as suspended due to rain. The suspension lasted the whole day and both players had to return on Tuesday to come to the conclusion of their match.
The momentum for Felix was completely missing earlier today, to find that level again proved tough and the break in play did favour Cristian who won a clay title in Chile not long ago. The Chilean saved set points from 2-5 down and went onto dominate the tie-break before an early break in the second set and going onto win in two sets.
It wasn’t the ideal start for Felix but where next for the Canadian? Will Toni continue to work with him on the clay in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros?
Stefanos shines against Russian, Karatsev
Stefanos Tsitsipas has won some big matches this year and also lost some he should have won but his start in Monte-Carlo was very impressive.
Throughout the year I have felt he has played with a great intensity and it showed again in his win against Aslan Karatsev. Both Stefanos and Aslan are Australian Open semi-finalists and have played well this year, Stefanos’ pedigree on clay courts did show, he was patient on the baseline and returned serve soo well and brought his forehand into play with great precision.
The intensity level has been impressive but I do wonder, is it sometimes too much and has it cost him in some matches where he has been a bit tight.
Djokovic to return vs Sinner
Wednesday will see the return of Novak Djokovic nearly two months after he won his 9th Australian Open title. His first round match was always going to be against a tough player on paper and it will be the impressive Jannik Sinner.
Jannik played really well against former finalist Albert Ramos Vinolas in his first round inning 6-3 6-4 against the Spaniard, his performance was strong and behind his first serve he was very sharp on point. It will be fascinating to see how this battle between the worlds best and someone who has that ranking in mind in years to come.
It is a top heavy draw as always in Monte-Carlo, the matches are tough throughout and it has shown in early stages with some big names battling hard and some going too.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-3 Matteo Berrettini
Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-1 Laslo Djere
Casper Ruud 6-2 6-1 Holger Rune
Fabio Fognini 6-2 7-5 Miormir Kecmanovic
Rafa’s back, searching for No.12
Rafael Nadal has only won this tournament 12 times and will be looking for No.13 this week in Monte-Carlo. The Spaniard is likewise making his first return to action since the Australian and there will be questions over how ready and fit he is.
We had rumours that he might play Dubai, Acapulco and Miami but was not seen at either event and has not been seen on a tennis court since he was two sets to love up against Tsitsipas and lost in the quarter finals of the Australian Open.
If all goes to plan then expect Nadal on court around 13:00 UK Time on Wednesday afternoon as he takes on qualifier Federico Delbonis.
Daniil Medvedev withdraws due to Covid-19 test
Some sad news from Monte-Carlo is that world number two and 2019 semi-finalist, Daniil Medvedev has been forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a positive Covid-19 test. Juan Ignacio Londero has come in to take his pace in the bottom half of the draw and I wish Daniil back to full health and fitness soon!