Monte-Carlo Preview: Novak Djokovic Handed Nightmare Draw As Nadal Looks to Defend Title
Novak Djokovic has been handed a nightmare draw for the latest edition of the Monte-Carlo Masters as he appears in Rafael Nadal's quarter of the draw
The first quarter of the Monte-Carlo draw is the most brutal as defending champion Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic appear in this quarter of the draw. The 10 time champion Rafael Nadal will start his campaign against either Aljaz Bedene or a qualifier in the second round. He then could face 16th seed Adrian Mannarino in the third round, who faces his fellow compatriot Gilles Simon in the first round. Whoever wins the all-French battle will take on either Karen Khachanov or wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis in round two.
Former champion Novak Djokovic has been handed a brutal draw as he could face Borna Coric, Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal en route to the Monte-Carlo. The out-of-form won’t be worried about that just yet though as he has to navigate a qualifier in the first round. Borna Coric, who had an amazing American hard court swing will face Julien Benneteau in his first match. The other match sees Robin Haase take on Andrey Rublev, with the winner playing sixth seed Dominic Thiem, who will be returning from injury.
The second quarter isn’t as loaded as the opening quarter but sees lots of opportunity for some players who have had a slow start to the season, including fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian will face either Filip Krajinovic or Paolo Lorenzi in his first match on clay this season. Other matches in his section of the quarter include Tennys Sandgren v Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jared Donaldson facing 15th seed and last year’s finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
There is lots of star quality and unpredictability in the bottom half of the quarter including sixth seed David Goffin. The Belgian could have a tough test in Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round, should the brash teenager overcome a Qualifier in his opening match. Goffin’s seed in the last 16 is 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who faces Peter Gojowczyk first. The other match in this quarter is Feliciano Lopez v Benoit Paire.
THE TOP HALF
THE BOTTOM HALF
Lucas Pouille looks to create his own opportunities in this quarter of the draw as the Frenchman starts his tournament against Mischa Zverev or talented Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime. There are also plenty of dangerous floaters in the third quarter of the draw including Diego Schwartzman and Richard Gasquet. They could play in round two if they get past Guido Pella and a qualifier respectively.
Talented German Alexander Zverev looks to overcome his Davis Cup disappointment as he could face big serving Gilles Muller in round two. 15th seed Fabio Fognini also lurks in this part of the draw as he faces a qualifier in round one, with Yuichi Sugita or Jan-Lennard Struff awaiting in the second round.
This final quarter sees plenty of good matches and plenty of expectation. 8th seed Pablo Carreno Busta will hope to make a deep run here as the Spaniard will face Kyle Edmund or Alexandr Dolgopolov in his opening round match. One of the ties of the first round also occurs in this final quarter as 12th seed Tomas Berdych takes on Kei Nishikori in a spectacular match. The winner of that match could face Russian Daniil Medvedev in round two.
14th seed Milos Raonic is looking to gain valuable points on his weakest surface as he plays local wildcard Lucas Catarina. Although a sterner test could await in round two as he could battle Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. Raonic appears in second seed Marin Cilic’s section of the draw and the Croatian will face the winner of Fernando Verdasco versus Pablo Cuevas. The match is a tough test for Cilic, who had a rough South American clay court swing.