The ATP Monte-Carlo, also known as the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, celebrates it’s 110th anniversary this week. Held annually at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, it is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament that boasts a tremendous tradition of producing high-class champions.
The King of Clay Rafa Nadal dominated the tournament from 2005 to 2012, winning a record 8 titles, but was then beaten by Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final. Djokovic also won the 2015 renewal, whilst Stan Wawrinka won the 2014 renewal by beating Roger Federer in the final, the fourth time that Federer has been a beaten finalist here.
Great Champions from bye-gone eras that have also lifted the title on multiple occasions include Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Bjorn Bjorg and Ilie Nastase.
Meanwhile, only Kei Nishikori is missing from the world’s top-ten this week and, as usual, world number 1 Novak Djokovic is the talk of the town.
Djokovic should have little difficulty making it to the quarter-finals, where his most likely opponent is David Ferrer, however the Spaniard is 0 from his last 10 against the Djokovic and is unlikely to put-up much of a fight. After returning from injury, Federer may well struggle to make it to the latter stages, and the second quarter looks a good chance for last year’s French Open semi-finalist Tsonga to make an impact. However, even if he makes it to the semis, he’s 0 from 3 against Djokovic on clay.
The third-quarter looks the most interesting on paper, with Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka set to meet in the quarter-finals in what may be the best match of the tournament. Wawrinka holds a 3-2 head-to-head lead in their most recent matches, including their last clay-court battle in Rome last year. The fourth quarter sees Andy Murray seeded to meet Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, and it’s interesting that last year’s runner-up Berdych has won all 3 of his clay-court encounters with Murray. However, Berdych does potentially face a difficult last-16 match against Milos Raonic whom holds a 4-2 head to head lead over the Czech, although it is Berdych who won the only time they met on clay.
If it’s all gone to plan up to there, then Wawrinka may reach the final having beaten Berdych all 3 times they’ve played on clay, and in their last 6 head-to-heads. A Djokovic/Wawrinka final is also the mouth-watering proposition, as Wawrinka has won 2 of his last 6 matches against Djokovic, including the French Open Final.
Quotes of 4/6 for Djokovic to win his third Monte-Carlo Masters title look more than fair, however it is Wawrinka who looks the value at around 14/1, and even big Djokovic backers may be wise to have a small saver on Wawrinka.
Big-hitters Bet: Djokovic @ 4/6 (Ladbrokes, William Hill)
Each-way Play: Wawrinka @ 12/1 (Stan James, Ladbrokes) ½ odds 2 places