The Monte Carlo event got going on Sunday with three first-round singles matches.
Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas is the two-time defending champion. However, when looking at the tennis news, it is hard to ignore the fact that 11-time Monte Carlo winner Rafael Nadal is not in the field.
Nadal won eight straight titles in Monte Carlo from 2015-12. The winning streak in the tournament ended with a loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final. Djokovic, a two-time champion, is the No. 1 seed. It will be hard for those making tennis picks to go against Djokovic.
Here’s a look at the potential paths for the top contenders in preparation for the French Open as the focus moves from the hard-court events in Indian Wells and Miami in March to two months of clay court tennis.
When looking at the tennis predictions, Djokovic (+140) is currently the favorite in the odds to win the French Open. Two of his main competitors (Carlos Alcaraz and Nadal) aren’t playing in Monte Carlo.
First Quarter: Can Anybody Stop Djokovic?
Djokovic hasn’t reached the finals in Monte Carlo since topping Tomas Berdych in a three-set title match in 2015.
American Mackenzie McDonald could be Djokovic’s first opponent with Jannik Sinner possibly waiting in the quarterfinals.
Lorenzo Musetti and Hubert Hurkacz are the other seeded players in this portion of the bracket.
Djokovic is 5-0 against Hurkacz, including a 6-3, 7-5 win in Dubai earlier this season. He is 3-0 against Musetti. However, Musetti did take the first two sets against Djokovic in the Round of 16 at the 2021 French Open before retiring in the fifth set so those who bet tennis online should keep that in mind.
Djokovic won both previous matchups with Sinner. Their last meeting was a five-set slugfest in the 2022 Wimbledon quarterfinals with Djokovic rallying from two sets down to win the match.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Sinner
Second Quarter: Tough Draw for Medvedev
No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev is off to an impressive start in 2023 as he followed up a run to the Indian Wells final by taking down Sinner to win the title in Miami. He also won in Dubai, beating Djokovic and Andrey Rublev in the semifinals and finals, and captured the Rotterdam title.
Lorenzo Sonego, who received a wild card into the field, has two top-20 wins in 2023 and that includes a straight-set win over Frances Tiafoe in Miami. He could be the first obstacle for Medvedev. No. 6 seed Holger Rune could be a threat and if those seeds hold true, it would be the first meeting between the two title contenders.
Alexander Zverev and Cameron Norrie are the other seeded players in this portion of the draw.
Medvedev has not dropped a set in his two meetings with Norrie. However, he has had some memorable collisions with Zverev. Zverev won the first four meetings with Medvedev taking seven of the last nine. There wasn’t much to separate the two in a 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 battle in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells.
Roberto Bautista Agut is not seeded but the No. 28 ranked player does have a pair of clay court titles to his credit and that includes a run to the title in Kitzbuhel in 2022. He won one match in the next four tournaments after reaching the Round of 16 at the Australian Open.
Richard Gasquet and wild card Dominic Thiem are dangerous floaters in what could be the most challenging portion of the draw.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Medvedev vs Zverev
Third Quarter: Another Monte Carlo Showdown Between Ruud and Rublev?
No. 4 seed Casper Ruud and No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev squared off in the semifinals in Monte Carlo two years ago with Rublev winning in straight sets. Since then, Ruud took meetings in the 2021 and 2022 ATP Finals. This could be a quarterfinal matchup worth checking out.
Rublev followed up a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals by advancing to the title match in Dubai.
Ruud has struggled a bit in 2023 with losses to players ranked 97th and 125th. A strong showing at the Estoril Open could be just what he needed.
See you in the final, @CasperRuud98!@EstorilOpen | #EstorilOpen pic.twitter.com/I2hTQYuEWA
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 8, 2023
Don’t overlook ninth-seeded Karen Khachanov while No. 14 seed Alex De Minaur is favored according to the Las Vegas tennis odds to take out Andy Murray in the first round.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Ruud vs Rublev
Fourth Quarter: Three-Peat For Tsitsipas?
The path to a third straight Monte Carlo title will not be an easy one for Tsitsipas.
Americans Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, and Ben Shelton or dangerous floater Stan Wawrinka are among the possible opponents in the quarterfinals. The tennis odds list Shelton as a heavy underdog in the first round against Grigor Dimitrov.
No. 15 seed Borna Coric does have a clay court title on his resume. However, it came six years ago.
Coric has won three of the five previous meetings with Tsitsipas and none were bigger than a classic five-setter at the US Open in 2020.
Tsitsipas won 7-5 in the third set when the duo squared off in the United Cup earlier this season.
Tsitsipas is 3-0 versus Fritz. He had to rally from 2-1 down to top Fritz in five sets at the 2022 Australian Open.
Tiafoe has won the last two meetings with Tsitsipas. All of those meetings took place on either grass or hard courts. Tiafoe is in the semifinals at the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston.
If tennis is your ultimate passion, then our extensive selection of available lines and odds for the Challenger Banja Luka is an absolute must-see.
We see you, @FTiafoe 👀 @mensclaycourt | #USClay
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 8, 2023
Quarterfinal Prediction: Tiafoe vs Tsitsipas
Way Too Early Predictions For Semifinals and Final
Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Medvedev
Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Ruud vs Tsitsipas
Final: Djokovic vs Tsitsipas