2021 Monte-Carlo Masters Final Preview: Tsitsipas vs Rublev
The 2021 Monte-Carlo Masters is the first clay-court Masters running from April 11th - 18th headlined by 11x champion Nadal and No.1 Djokovic.
The first clay Masters of the season is the proper introduction for the clay season in the calendar year. As always it will be played in Southern France meters away from the glitz and glamour of Monaco. The top seed is world number one Djokovic closely followed by 11x champion Nadal who is the favourite.
It has come down to the final showdown at the Monte-Carlo Masters where we have two players that never won a Masters 1000 title. Stefanos Tsitsipas played in a final before but he failed to win it while for Rublev this is his first final. Both players have had amazing starts to 2021 with Rublev's seasons going slightly better.
Both of these players played impressive tennis to reach the final but Rublev's path was far more impressive. Taking down Nadal on clay despite Rafa's poor performance is something to marvel at as well as the ease with which he dispatched Ruud a known clay specialist.
For Stefanos, the run was filled with strong wins over good players but none of these victories came against a top 10 player. His win over Evans was impressive but the Brit looked tired in that match having played singles and doubles that week. They played 8 times so far with each player winning 4 matches. Two of those came on clay last year and they split them as well.
Their sole match in 2021 in Rotterdam was won by Rublev easily so considering the form and year that they are having it's hard to bet against Rublev winning this one. Tsitsipas is the slightly better clay player but is also prone to mental lapses like the one in Hamburg last year when he gave away a won match over Rublev in the final.
2021 Monte-Carlo Masters Schedule of Play:
Sunday, April 18th:
14:30 Tsitsipas S. (Gre) - Rublev A. (Rus)
Saturday, April 17th:
The semifinal day is upon us at the Monte-Carlo Masters with the first of those starting at 13:30. There won't be any Novak Djokovic, there won't be any Rafael Nadal but players playing today deserved their spot here. Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Dan Evans in the first semifinal in a clash where he is absolutely favoured.
But don't discount Dan Evans who has played superb tennis this week troubling players with his slice backhand. His smart and patient style frustrated Djokovic and Goffin and with Tsitsipas prone to rushing in matches it could be dicey. They played twice so far with Stefanos winning both matches easily.
In the 2nd semifinal, we will see Andrey Rublev take on Casper Ruud. It's a fascinating matchup especially after Rublev took down Nadal in sensational fashion. Ruud is a clay-court specialist who showed all his skill against Fognini so Rublev will need to be careful.
The Russian is unstoppable on his day but he is also prone to rushing to making mistakes. Ruud will have a chance if he can impose his forehand early. They played 4 times with Rublev winning all four times. Two of those were on clay and they were actually the more impressive wins for Rublev.
13:30 Evans D. (Gbr) - Tsitsipas S. (Gre)
15:00 Rublev A. (Rus)Ruud C. (Nor)
Friday, April 16th:
The quarterfinals at the Monte-Carlo Masters are upon us with 4 very interesting matches headlined by a clash of Nadal and Rublev. The 11x time champion has been sensational so far and he will look to extend that run against a solid Rublev. The Russian will try his best but it's hard to see how he could endanger Nadal.
Play will kick off at 11:00 CET with a clash between Tsitsipas and Davidovich Fokina. Neither player dropped a set so far with the Greek looking especially impressive. Fokina is a good clay player but with the experience of Tsitsipas, it's hard not to see him as the favourite.
Dan Evans shocked the world by defeating Novak Djokovic in a match where he outsmarted the reigning world number one. Djokovic did not have a great game but Evans played a very smart brand of tennis that could lift him against Goffin as well. The last quarterfinal will be played between Ruud and Fognini.
Fognini who won the event the last time he played looked very good against strong opposition but he will need his best against Ruud. The Norwegian is a clay-court specialist with a big forehand who could trouble any player on the tour.
11:00 Tsitsipas S. (Gre) - Davidovich Fokina A. (Esp)
12:30 Evans D. (Gbr) - Goffin D. (Bel)
14:00 Ruud C. (Nor) - Fognini F. (Ita)
15:30 Rublev A. (Rus) - Nadal R. (Esp)
Thursday, April 15th:
The Monte-Carlo Masters continue on Thursday with the 3rd round matches that will see all the best player. Eight matches are on the schedule at we will start at 11:00 CET with Tsitsipas taking on Garin. Both played well so far so it should be a great matchup. A bit later we will see Djokovic take on Evans with Novak hoping to build upon his sensational performance against Sinner.
At the same time as Djokovic, we should see Zverev take on Goffin. The German looked good in his first match but Goffin is playing good tennis so far in Monte-Carlo. Rafael Nadal will take on Grigor Dimitrov at 14:00 in a matchup that was dominated by Nadal years prior.
Defending champion Fognini will play against red-hot Krajinovic while Andrey Rublev will take on Roberto Bautista Agut. The final match of the day should be between Casper Ruud and Pablo Carreno-Busta. Both play well on clay so it should be a very good match.
11:00 Pouille L. (Fra) - Davidovich Fokina A. (Esp)
11:00 Tsitsipas S. (Gre) - Garin C. (Chi)
12:30 Djokovic N. (Srb) - Evans D. (Gbr)
12:30 Goffin D. (Bel) - Zverev A. (Ger)
14:00 Dimitrov G. (Bul) - Nadal R. (Esp)
14:00 Fognini F. (Ita) - Krajinovic F. (Srb)
15:30 Rublev A. (Rus) - Bautista-Agut R. (Esp)
15:30 Ruud C. (Nor) - Carreno-Busta P. (Esp)
Wednesday, April 14th:
The Monte-Carlo Masters kick off properly on Wednesday as the top seeds get into the action with the start of the 2nd round. The programme as always will start at 11:00 and defending champion Fognini will take on Thompson. At the same time, Rublev will play against Caruso. After those initial matches, we will see Novak Djokovic on the court playing against a Jannik Sinner.
It's easily the best match of the day and many will follow it closely. A great test for Sinner against the reigning number one. We will see Diego Schwartzman also on the courts and he will take on Casper Ruud in a clash of clay-court specialists. Rafael Nadal will also play and he will get his Monte-Carlo campaign underway against Delbonis.
Another interesting 2nd round matchup will be between Hurkacz and Evans where both players will look to move on. Andalucia Open champion Carreno Busta will take on Khachanov while his Davis Cup teammate Bautista Agut will play Tommy Paul. The great day of tennis will end with Zverev taking on Sardegna Open champion Sonego in a fascinating matchup. Let's hope it will be as dry as today so we can enjoy some great tennis.
11:00 Dimitrov G. (Bul) - Chardy J. (Fra)
11:00 Fognini F. (Ita) - Thompson J. (Aus)
11:00 Millman J. (Aus) - Garin C. (Chi)
11:00 Rublev A. (Rus) - Caruso S. (Ita)
12:30 Djokovic N. (Srb) - Sinner J. (Ita)
12:30 Goffin D. (Bel) - Cecchinato M. (Ita)
12:30 Popyrin Al. (Aus) - Pouille L. (Fra)
12:30 Schwartzman D. (Arg) - Ruud C. (Nor)
13:00 Krajinovic F. (Srb) - Londero J. I. (Arg)
14:00 Delbonis F. (Arg) - Nadal R. (Esp)
14:00 Evans D. (Gbr) - Hurkacz H. (Pol)
14:00 Khachanov K. (Rus) - Carreno-Busta P. (Esp)
14:00 Paul T. (Usa) - Bautista-Agut R. (Esp)
15:30 Sonego L. (Ita) - Zverev A. (Ger)
Tuesday, April 13th:
It was not much of a tennis day on Monday at the Monte-Carlo Masters because it rained pretty much the whole day. Only four matches got finished with one of those being a retirement 5 games into the match. Because of that Tuesday will feature a dozen of matches with play starting at 11:00 CET. Roberto Bautista Agut will take on Taylor Fritz in a very interesting matchup while a bit later Karatsev will play Tsitsipas.
It's a fascinating 2nd round matchup between two players who enjoy going for it in points so we will see a lot of great rallies and points. Tsitsipas should have the edge but Karatsev can certainly surprise. Matteo Berrettini will also step out and he will play against Davidovich Fokina. The Spaniard looked good against De Minaur so Matteo will have it tough.
Sardegna open Sonego will play as well taking on Marton Fucsovics in a very fascinating matchup between two hard hitters. It should be a great match to watch. Besides those matches, there are 5 matches that were interrupted on Monday which will start after the first batch of matches ends. Hopefully, there won't be much rain although the prognosis is not looking favourable.
11:00 Cecchinato M. (Ita) - Koepfer D. (Ger)
11:00 Delbonis F. (Arg) - Mannarino A. (Fra)
11:00 Fognini F. (Ita) - Kecmanovic M. (Srb)
11:00 Pella G. (Arg) - Pouille L. (Fra)
11:00 Ramos A. (Esp) - Sinner J. (Ita)
14:00 Dimitrov G. (Bul) - Struff J-L. (Ger)
14:00 Fritz T. (Usa) - Bautista-Agut R. (Esp)
14:00 Popyrin Al. (Aus) - Andujar-Alba P. (Esp)
14:00 Rune H. (Den) - Ruud C. (Nor)
14:00 Tsitsipas S. (Gre) - Karatsev A. (Rus)
15:30 Davidovich Fokina A. (Esp) - Berrettini M. (Ita)
15:30 Khachanov K. (Rus) - Djere L. (Srb)
15:30 Krajinovic F. (Srb) - Basilashvili N. (Geo)
15:30 Sonego L. (Ita) - Fucsovics M. (Hun)
15:30 Travaglia S. (Ita) - Carreno-Busta P. (Esp)
Matches that were interrupted:
Auger-Aliassime F. (Can) - Garin C. (Chi)
Caruso S. (Ita) - Catarina L. (Mon)
Chardy J. (Fra) - Bublik A. (Kaz)
Evans D. (Gbr) - Lajovic D. (Srb)
Fabbiano T. (Ita) - Hurkacz H. (Pol)
Monday, April 12th:
On the 2nd day of the event, we will see 13 main draw matches with play starting at 11:00 CET. A spectacular matchup between De Minaur and Davidovich Fokina will be a great introduction to the day. Two more matches will be played at the same time as Humbert takes on Millman while Musetti takes on Karatsev.
That match might be the best of the day considering the stories these two players have written in 2021. Monegasque tennis player Catarina will take on Caruso a bit later while Evans will take on 2019 finalist Lajovic. Two qualifiers will square off at 14:00 as Koepfer takes on Cecchinato while on the other court Chardy will play Bublik.
Miami Open champion Hurkacz will also play on Monday taking on Fabbiano while defending champion Fognini takes on Kecmanovic. The defending champion is not playing in great form so this will be challenging. The final two matches of the day will see Dimitrov take on Struff while Pella will play against Pouille.
11:00 Davidovich Fokina A. (Esp) - De Minaur A. (Aus)
11:00 Millman J. (Aus) - Humbert U. (Fra)
11:00 Musetti L. (Ita) - Karatsev A. (Rus)
12:30 Auger-Aliassime F. (Can) - Garin C. (Chi)
12:30 Caruso S. (Ita) - Catarina L. (Mon)
12:30 Evans D. (Gbr) - Lajovic D. (Srb)
12:30 Paul T. (Usa) - Martinez P. (Esp)
14:00 Cecchinato M. (Ita) - Koepfer D. (Ger)
14:00 Chardy J. (Fra) - Bublik A. (Kaz)
14:00 Fabbiano T. (Ita) - Hurkacz H. (Pol)
14:00 Fognini F. (Ita) - Kecmanovic M. (Srb)
15:30 Dimitrov G. (Bul) - Struff J-L. (Ger)
15:30 Pella G. (Arg) - Pouille L. (Fra)