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Monday, 17 April 2017

Monte Carlo Masters Tennis Picks 2017 (April 17th)

The Monte Carlo Masters continues on Monday with a number of First Round matches due to be completed on Monday as the tournament really gets going.

It is going to be a busy week now that it really gets going after having three First Round matches scheduled for Sunday and some of the big names will be getting additional clay court tennis under their feet by playing in the Doubles event this week too.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 5.5 games v Bernard Tomic: After concluding 2016 abruptly thanks to an injury, 2017 hasn't proved much better for Bernard Tomic who has lost every match he has played outside of the Australian Open. He won two matches at his home Grand Slam, but Tomic has now lost five matches in a row and the Australian is now heading into what has annually been his worst part of the season.

Tomic is 5-18 in main Tour matches on the clay courts in the last four seasons and his career record is just 12-30 on this surface. That has a lot to do with the fact that Tomic does struggle with his movement around the court and hitting through the court on the clay is tough so Tomic can struggle with the patience that you require to be a success on this surface.

It isn't going to make things much easier for Tomic in the Monte Carlo Masters as he gets set to take on Diego Sebastian Schwartzman whose best results have come on the clay. One of the concerns for Schwartzman is the fact that his best clay court results have come on the South American clay courts rather than those in Europe with the one exception coming in Istanbul where he is a Semi Finalist and Winner in the last two seasons.

This is a very big number of games for Schwartzman to cover, but you know he is a player who will try and give a steady performance and that consistency could be key to the match. He did have a crushing win over Bernard Tomic last year in Istanbul, and Tomic has had some terrible losses already this season while playing on the worst surface for him to be completely mentally focused.

He has the game to be much better on the clay than he has shown in the past, but Tomic might not be fully engaged in the moment and someone playing without errors and at their own steady style may be too good on the day. The price on Schwartzman winning this one with a huge margin is big enough to approach and I will look for him to have a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win on the day.

Kyle Edmund - 4.5 games v Daniel Evans: These two compatriots would have prepared for the Davis Cup Quarter Final against France together and that should mean both Daniel Evans and Kyle Edmund know what to expect from the other. There is little doubt that Edmund has proven to be the more comfortable on the clay courts in the recent past as Evans plays in his first tournament on the surface since the French Open Qualifiers in 2014.

The two matches Evans played in the Davis Cup would have helped him, especially as he won the second of those. However that was a dead Rubber that saw Julien Benneteau try to offer the Day 3 crowd some entertainment. Edmund wasn't much better with a straight sets loss behind in on Day 1 in France, but he has won Davis Cup Rubbers on the clay courts last season and he also won a Rome Challenger event.

He will feel his game is better suited to the clay than Daniel Evans who uses a lot of slice on the backhand which just allows opponents to step in and play aggressively on the clay courts against him. Kyle Edmund is still looking to find the consistency that can see him take the next step in his career, but I do think he will feel comfortable in the match up.

Edmund has the bigger forehand and I am not sure Evans will be able to have the patience to work the points to the level you need to on the clay. He can pose a problem by getting to the net and forcing Edmund to pass him, but the latter looks to have the easier back up shot by going into the Evans backhand and looking to control points from there.

This is a lot of games for Edmund to cover when you think Evans should know all about the tennis he is going to face, but the surface favours the younger British player. As long as Edmund doesn't allow Evans to stay in the match with too many unforced errors, I do think Edmund can progress to the Second Round here with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Pablo Carreno Busta - 1.5 games v Fabio Fognini: This has been a difficult start to the season for Fabio Fognini, but he might be coming into the European clay court events with more confidence than he would have had a month ago. In that time Fognini has had two solid returns from the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami and he has to be feeling a lot better about his game.

I think there is no doubt that Fognini would have hoped for a better draw than the one he has received in Monte Carlo where he has been paired up with Pablo Carreno Busta in the First Round. The Italian has lost all four previous matches on the professional Tour against Carreno Busta and the latter is also showing plenty of positive signs over 2017.

Carreno Busta is now inside the top 20 of the World Rankings and he has shown more consistency than Fognini while also matching a Semi Final run on the hard courts at the Masters events that have just taken place. The Spaniard will feel he is at his best on the clay courts and the head to head with Fognini will give Carreno Busta more confidence he can go on and win this match.

There were some solid results achieved by Carreno Busta on the clay courts in 2016 and he might just have enough of an edge to see out Fognini in what looks a competitive First Round match on paper. It is hard to completely ignore the fact that Carreno Busta has won all four previous matches between these two including on the clay courts earlier in 2017, but it can be added to the superior form Carreno Busta has shown compared with Fognini over the last few months.

I think Carreno Busta is going to have enough to come through in three sets in this one and I believe this match will end with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win for the Spaniard and a place in the Second Round.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 5.5 Games @ 2.20 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kyle Edmund - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Pablo Carreno Busta - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 2-0, + 3.28 Units (4 Units Staked, + 82% Yield)

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