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Monday, 15 April 2019

Monte Carlo Masters Tennis Picks 2019 (April 15th)

There were reasons for only having six selections from the Tennis tournaments played through last week, but I do think the clay court season really gets underway when the Monte Carlo Masters is played.

This may not be a compulsory Masters event any more, but a lot of the big name players going for the French Open title in June will be involved at the tournament. Both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are playing here this week and a number of the rest of the top ten in the World Rankings are also going to be involved in what should be a strong start to the clay court season with players looking to lay down a marker for the next two months.

It is one of the Masters tournaments which begins on Sunday, but I did not have the time to look through the First Round matches that were being played on that day and so my selections will begin from the matches scheduled for Monday. There is a full schedule being played on Monday with four courts being used and I am looking for a good start to the week after a slightly disappointing one last week.

You can read my thoughts below on the matches I am selecting as I look for a positive return for the day to get this week going in the right direction.

Marton Fucsovics v Nikoloz Bashilashvili: The slight underdog in this First Round match looks to be in a surprising position to me and I think Marton Fucsovics can earn a place in the Second Round at the expense of Nikoloz Basilashvili.

It is Fucsovics who leads the head to head 3-1, but none of those matches were played on the clay courts and only one of them has been played since 2015. They did meet on the indoor courts in Rotterdam in February which resulted in the latest of the wins Fucsovics has earned over Bashilashvili, but for the most part the head to head is irrelevant.

You can be forgiven for finding it tough to want to oppose Bashilashvili who is remarkably up at Number 17 in the World Rankings. That is despite some pretty average numbers over the last twelve months and I do think the Georgian is someone that will find it difficult to sustain his current World Ranking barring a significant improvement of his performances on the court.

Bashilashvili may be playing someone lower down the World Rankings, but Marton Fucsovics reached a career high Ranking just last month and has been producing better numbers over the last twelve months. I can see him going past Bashilasvili in the weeks and months ahead, while Fucsovics also has produced the better clay court numbers overall.

The edge on the serve and return makes it tough to see Fucsovics as the underdog in this match. His numbers may only be slightly better than Bashilasvili, but that is all it takes to determine how matches will go, while the mentality of winning matches against this opponent may help in those crucial moments.

This match is essentially a pick 'em on the day, but I think Fucsovics will make better hay at the critical moments of this match and he can beat his higher Ranked opponent.

Marco Cecchinato - 4.5 games v Damir Dzumhur: Over the next couple of months it is going to be interesting to see where Marco Cecchinato's Ranking stands considering the amount of points he needs to defend. The run to the French Open Semi Final has been a huge foundation of his current Number 16 World Ranking, but the Italian has to be feeling confident going into the clay court season.

He has already won a title on the clay courts during the South American Golden Swing and last season he won two ATP events on this surface. One of those came in Umag a couple of months after his run at the French Open and I do think Cecchinato can come through this First Round match.

In the last fourteen months Marco Cecchinato has had considerable success on the clay courts thanks to a very good serve. He has been tough to break on the clay courts and has then been able to take a few chances on the return of serve and that has been crucial for the Italian to put his wins together.

On Monday Cecchinato faces Damir Dzumhur who has not had a lot of success on the clay courts in the last couple of seasons and is playing his first match on the surface in 2019. The numbers have not been really bad from Dzumhur, but he has to rely on his return of serve with his own serve being vulnerable on most surfaces and especially so on the clay courts.

A poor record against Marco Cecchinato does not help and it was Cecchinato who beat Dzumhur twice on the red dirt last season. One of those wins came here in Monte Carlo as Cecchinato dominated Dzumhur by getting after the return of serve and I think that is going to be key for him to secure a good looking win on Monday too.

The handicap should be one that Cecchinato can cover despite it looking fairly big for a best of three set match. The fact that he has broken the Dzumhur serve in 62.5% of the return games played between these two on the clay courts in 2018 and the overall poor service numbers of the Bosnian is enough for me to be swayed and look for Marco Cecchinato to put a solid win on the board.

David Goffin - 3.5 games v Guido Andreozzi: Any time someone comes through the Qualifiers I have given them due respect for making the main draw, but the one I want to oppose on Monday is Guido Andreozzi. Getting into the Masters main draw means he has won two quality matches already in Monte Carlo, but Andreozzi has yet to find the consistency he would have liked in main Tour matches.

Last week he was being crushed by Gilles Simon in the Second Round in Marrakech, but that did come after the Argentinian had upset Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the First Round. That victory is the only Andreozzi has had in main ATP Tour matches on the clay courts in five matches completed in 2019 and he has generally not really performed at the level required to beat players of the quality you find in these tournaments.

The serve has been particularly vulnerable and Andreozzi has to know he is going to be tested by David Goffin despite a fairly low-key beginning to 2019.

David Goffin has slipped out of the top 20 of the World Rankings, but I think he will be pretty happy getting back onto the clay courts and looking to show his superior tennis in the longer rallies that come out from matches on this surface. He will definitely feel he has too much for Andreozzi on the red dirt when you think of the consistent level he has been producing on the surface over the last three seasons, although a first match back on the clay can be an issue for a lot of the players on the Tour.

It has to be said that Goffin's serve is one that will be attacked by the top players around, but I am not sure Andreozzi is the kind of returner to do that. He may have some chances to break the Goffin serve, but I think it is going to be hard to keep the Belgian from creating plenty of break point opportunities of his own.

I expect the considerable ticks upwards in both the service point and return point percentages won in favour of Goffin to make the difference in this match. The spread is an interesting one, but I am going to back Goffin to cover because I think he will earn at least one break more in each set of a straight sets win over Guido Andreozzi.

MY PICKS: Marton Fucsovics @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Marco Cecchinato - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
David Goffin - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Season 2019 Update: + 55.84 Units (555 Units Staked, + 10.06% Yield)

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