What else can you call today’s matches in Monte Carlo? Well, madness is maybe stretching it a bit, but there were some killer match-ups and some unexpected results.
If you were a betting man, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to place a bet with William Hill tennis betting on the flamboyant Gael Monfils against a Roger Federer who had just taken a few weeks off the tour. You’d definitely get your money’s worth there.
Sadly, I didn’t because I thought Federer would win in straight sets. But Monfils was confident, mixed up his shots and was definitely the hungrier player while Federer’s rust showed. Shame for the Fed fans, but the Swiss had to go home after losing 4-6 6-7.
Another hot ticket was another Swiss, last year’s winner Stanislas Wawrinka against baby Federer (tired nickname) Grigor Dimitrov. You could see after only a couple of games that this wasn’t going to be Stan the Man’s day. He moved around the court with no appetite and if he wasn’t injured he must have been feeling a bit sick or something, because this was definitely not vintage Wawrinka. Dimitrov quickly went up 4-0, got the set after a glitch at 6-1 and won the second 6-2.
Nadal vs Isner was another blockbuster on paper and Isner did challenge the Spaniard (who by the way is testing out a new racquet in Monte Carlo that’s supposed to provide more spin and power, but less control in an attempt to increase his aggression and shorter the rallies) in a tough 7-6 4-6 6-3 win.
People who write off Isner on clay due to his large size and slightly slower movement have not seen the guy play up close. He can really tee off on those groundstrokes and if his serve works, he is a danger to all players on all surfaces – including Nadal on clay. It didn’t go all the way this time and Nadal faces a familiar foe in his next match, the eternal wall – David Ferrer.
Djokovic got a quick and easy win against surprise third rounder Haider-Maurer and is still my favourite to win the title and even Roland Garros this year. He’s brimming with confidence and disposing of even quite difficult opponents with relative ease. Maybe it’s another 2011 for the Djoker?
Tomorrow we see Berdych take on Raonic, Dimitrov play Monfils, Djokovic vs Cilic, and Nadal vs Ferrer. All good matches. My winner picks are not rocket science: Berdych, Monfils, Djokovic and Nadal.
More exciting tennis to come in Monte Carlo!