ATP Monte Carlo Tennis Picks, Predictions: Fritz and Rublev to Progress (April 13)
QualitySport Images/Getty. Pictured: Andrey Rublev celebrates at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The quality of tennis in Monte Carlo has been superb and I fully expect that to continue with the round of 16 on Thursday.
I’ve found two spots on Thursday’s slate of matches where value has presented itself.
Read on for two plays to think about from Thursday in Monaco.
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Taylor Fritz (+106) vs Sebastian Korda (-124)
5 a.m. ET
Against Cilic, Fritz won 72% of his first serves and was only broken twice all match. On return, he won 60% of Cilic’s second-serve points. Fritz was also impactful from the baseline, hitting with controlled aggression off of both wings.
Fritz has been in great form recently, taking the title in Indian Wells and winning 12 of his past 14 matches overall. His serve is hitting its mark, his backhand has been outstanding, and he’s perfecting the balance between patience and going for his shots. The high bounces on clay also suit Fritz’s game.
Although Alcaraz wasn’t at his best, Korda still managed to win 44% of his return points, which includes 55% on Alcaraz’s second serve. Korda broke the Spaniard’s serve seven times and was mentally tough after losing a close second set.
Korda has all of the components of a tennis star. He has a high tennis IQ, hits his spots on serve, has a backhand that can rip through the court, and is very solid from the forehand wing. However, Korda has not won three consecutive matches all season coming into this match.
Fritz has the 12th-highest first serve winning percentage over the past 52 weeks and 18th-highest service game won percentage at 83.8%. He is doing a great job of limiting the opportunities that his opponents get on his service games.
The American’s game counteracts Korda’s well. His serve is a little bigger, he’s able to control his power from the baseline a little more and can neutralize the Korda backhand.
In terms of Elo ratings in this battle of the Americans, Fritz’s overall Elo is 55.7 points better than Korda’s and his clay-court Elo is 34.1 points better.
Pick: Fritz ML (+106 via FanDuel)
Andrey Rublev (-108) vs Jannik Sinner (-108)
10 a.m. ET
Andrey Rublev recovered from two consecutive losses to defeat Alex De Minaur to kick off his Monte Carlo campaign. Rublev came back from a set down in his 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
In the match, Rublev won 44% of his return points and broke De Minaur’s serve four times. The Russian did a great job of using his forehand to attack and winning the battle for court positioning. While Rublev didn’t serve outrageously well, he was only broken once in the last two sets combined.
After winning 13 consecutive matches, Rublev lost in the semifinals of Indian Wells and in his first match in Miami. However, back at the site where he made the final last season, Rublev seemed to be adjusting well to the clay. Rublev’s heavy forehand does a lot of damage on the dirt and he understands how to construct points on the surface.
Sinner won 67% of the points on Ruusuvuori’s second serve and broke the Finn five times, while only getting broken two times himself. Sinner did a great job of not getting pushed behind the baseline and of using both his forehand and his backhand as weapons.
Sinner has struggled with his fitness this season, facing multiple setbacks. When Sinner has played, he’s been very mentally tough, but not overly sharp from the baseline, mixing winners with a surprising number of unforced errors.
I like Rublev to play with better controlled aggression than Sinner. Rublev has been a little more reliable from the baseline and his rally tolerance is a little higher than the Italian’s. Rublev is clearly comfortable in these conditions too, given his run last season.
In addition, while Sinner’s abdomen injury didn’t hurt him against Ruusuvuori, it could easily flare up again and I don’t trust him to hold up physically deep into tournaments anymore.
Pick: Rublev ML (-108 via FanDuel)