It has not been a very good day for the Tennis Picks on Day 4 at the time of writing, but I am going to be updating the Miami Masters number...
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Monte Carlo Tennis Day 4 Picks 2021 (April 13th)
Rain decimated the day's play at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo and that means only a couple of the First Round matches were able to be completed.
It means a number of matches have been postponed until Tuesday instead of being played on Day 2, but it sounds like it could be another stop-start kind of day in Monaco.
Jannik Sinner - 3.5 games v Albert Ramos: I have no doubt that Jannik Sinner is going to play in a lot of Masters Finals in his career with the development he is making week after week, but the numbers suggest he was a little fortunate to do that in Miami earlier this month. The Italian fell short in the Final, but Sinner showed a real comfort for playing on the red dirt in 2020 and that won't be a surprise to anyone.
The battle with Rafael Nadal in the darkness of Roland Garros was a memorable one, but Jannik Sinner won't have been disappointed with his performances in what was a short clay court season. However it can't be dismissed that those clay court tournaments were played in the Autumn and a return to a more natural spot in the calendar will mean there are different conditions to deal with, while Jannik Sinner has yet to play a clay court match in 2021.
He is going up against a veteran who has long been a fan of playing on the clay, although Albert Ramos is a little more inconsistent these days. The hard court performances have not really been at the level Ramos would have wanted, but he has enjoyed his time on the clay courts in 2021 having reached the Final and a Semi Final during the Golden Swing in South America a couple of months and then reaching the Semi Final in Marbella last week.
The numbers have been impressive in building a 9-3 record on the clay court this season, but Albert Ramos will also know there has to be an improvement when taking on a player of the calibre he will face in the First Round in Monte Carlo. Last year Albert Ramos was not able to win some of the matches he has won in deciders this season which dented the numbers and over the last four seasons you would say the Spaniard has been a little hard to read when it comes to his clay court performances.
I expect Ramos to be plenty confident after his early clay court runs and facing an opponent playing for the first time on the surface in six/seven months has to be an advantage. The lefty serve makes Albert Ramos dangerous, but he has only been holding 76% of the service games being played on the surface and Jannik Sinner has shown he is more than a capable returner on the red dirt when breaking in 35% of return games played on the clay in 2020.
The Italian has showed some strong returning on the hard courts and being back on the clay should give him a bit more time to get his teeth into this match.
I have no doubt that Albert Ramos is very experienced and can cause problems with his own return, one that has been vitally important to helping him win nine of his twelve clay matches in 2021. However, I think Jannik Sinner's serve is a strength for him and I think the youngster can work his way to the breaks needed to win and cover in this match.
Marton Fucsovics - 2.5 games v Lorenzo Sonego: There is one bit of good news for Marton Fucsovics ahead of the start of his Monte Carlo Masters bid and that is that he cannot play Andrey Rublev until the Final this week. His last four tournaments have been ended by the talented Russian (although one was a walkover before Fucsovics had to face his latest defeat to Rublev), but this should not cover up the fact that the Hungarian has been playing really well to open 2021.
The overall numbers have been solid for Marton Fucsovics, but he is playing on the clay courts for the first time this season and will be looking to follow up what had been success in a limited time on the surface in 2020. Like many, Marton Fucsovics played in the delayed French Open but only played a couple of Davis Cup ties outside of that tournament so the next couple of months will be the first considerable time spent on the clay for two years.
He has been a solid clay court player in his career and I do think Fucsovics is going to be happy moving onto the clay even if his better results will likely come on other surfaces.
In the First Round Marton Fucsovics is going to be asked to be close to his best immediately when taking on Lorenzo Sonego who has put together a solid opening three months in 2021. The Italian is also going to head into the first clay court Masters event of the season with plenty of confidence having won the title in Cagliari last week, although it should be pointed out that Sonego did not need to beat anyone inside the top 30 of the World Rankings to earn that title.
Despite that, a title is a title and it will give Lorenzo Sonego a boost to take into the rest of the clay court season as the push towards the French Open continues. He had a solid week in Cagliari, although Lorenzo Sonego was perhaps a touch fortunate to beat Laslo Djere in the Final, and it will be no surprise to anyone that the Italian is comfortable on the surface.
He gets plenty out of his serve, but the real test for Lorenzo Sonego will be backing up the returning he produced in the first clay court tournament he has played in 2021. If he can do that, he will be a difficult player to beat on the red dirt, but it was also a tough week and there is every chance he could be a little fatigued even with a Tuesday start.
Lorenzo Sonego has also lost his last three matches against Marton Fucsovics and is 0-2 in their previous clay court meetings. His serve has been put under pressure by the decent returning Fucsovics can produce and Lorenzo Sonego has not been able to really exert the same against the Hungarian in those previous matches.
I expect this will be a tight match at times with a couple of key points likely going to separate them in each set, but I do think Marton Fucsovics is playing well enough to find a way to get the better of the Cagliari Champion. He should be able to produce a solid return day which helps him edge past Sonego and I think Fucsovics will be able to cover this mark in his victory.
Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 games v Taylor Fritz: Both of these players have made positive starts to 2021 with both having won at least eleven Tour matches, although neither Roberto Bautista Agut nor Taylor Fritz will be satisfied until they win some titles. The two players have both reached the Semi Final of events already this season and Roberto Bautista Agut has also been a step further in a couple of tournaments, but ultimately both players have fallen short at the business end of events.
The performances on the clay courts from both of these players have been similar in recent seasons and Taylor Fritz does have a couple of wins on the red dirt from his week in Cagliari and only the eventual Champion was able to get the better of the American.
An improvement in the service numbers will be important for Taylor Fritz if he is going to get the better of someone like Roberto Bautista Agut who is a solid, competent player on the clay. The Spaniard might actually be expected to be a touch stronger on this surface than he is, but Bautista Agut will also have the confidence of some strong performances since the Australian Open which should give him confidence to take into the Monte Carlo Masters.
The return of serve has been key for Roberto Bautista Agut and I think he should have successes against this Fritz serve. However, it can be hard to trust Bautista Agut who has a serve which has produced around a 76% hold percentage on the clay courts and Taylor Fritz was seeing the ball pretty well last week in Cagliari to offer some encouragement.
These two players have met twice on the clay courts in 2019 and they split the two matches with both Bautista Agut and Fritz having good wins over the other. Overall it is Roberto Bautista Agut who has a 4-1 record against Taylor Fritz on the professional Tour and the Spaniard has had a considerable advantage when it comes to protecting his serve compared with Fritz.
Even in the two clay court matches, Roberto Bautista Agut has been able to hold serve at a considerable higher percentage than Taylor Fritz and it should be something that comes to the fore in this First Round match. Of course you have to be aware that this is Roberto Bautista Agut's first match on the clay courts in 2021 and that it may take a little adjustment to find his feet on the surface, but I do think he has matched up well enough with Taylor Fritz to push through for a good looking opening win in Monte Carlo.
MY PICKS: Jannik Sinner - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marton Fucsovics - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Nikoloz Basilashvili + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Pablo Carreno Busta - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Bet365 (2 Units)