It was a decent start to the Monte Carlo Masters for us, with Charlie and my podcast accumulators coming in, as well as all three of our Tipsipas picks winning! We had 6 wins and 1 loss overall, let’s hope we can keep that going here, as some of the top seeds play their first matches of the event.
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) to beat Sebastian Korda (USA) at 1/4:
One of the stand out performers so far this year, and mine and Charlie’s pick for the title at 3/1 pre-tournament, has been Carlos Alcaraz, having had a run to the Semi-Finals in Indian Wells and winning his first Masters title in Miami. The 18-year-old is on an incredibly hot run of form at the moment, with 16 wins and 1 loss since the Australian Open. That includes a title on the clay in Rio de Janeiro, beating the likes of Berrettini, Fognini and Schwartzman along the way. Clay has typically been his best surface, due to his incredible movement it is very hard to get the ball past him. Furthermore, the slower surface allows him time to wind up on his nuclear forehand, and he’s also capable of hurting players with his backhand. Given the way he has been playing, he will take some beating during this clay swing, and Sebastian Korda will have to play close to his very best to even trouble Alcaraz here. Whilst the American has weapons of his own, the movement of Alcaraz on this surface as well as his habit of winning at the moment will be the key differentials here.
Note: There could be potential for in-play value here if Alcaraz goes an early break down (particularly for set betting), or even a set down. We are confident that even if that happens, he still wins.
Andrey Rublev (RUS) to beat Alex de Minaur (AUS) 2-0 at 8/11:
Another man with clay court pedigree is Andrey Rublev, having taken out Nadal and Ruud here last year to make the Final. Like Alcaraz, Rublev also tends to prefer more time on his groundstrokes to take bigger swings and hurt the opposition with his groundstrokes, and he also possesses one of the biggest forehands on the tour. Alex de Minaur does not have these types of weapons, and whilst his movement is very good (but less so on clay), it won’t be enough to see him through here. He may lead the head to head 2-0, but both wins were back in 2018 on hard, when Rublev was not the player he is now. De Minaur, on the other hand, I don’t feel has added much to his game since then. Furthermore, his groundstrokes are relatively flat, which will only sit up for Rublev to attack off, and once the Russian is on the front foot in the rallies, there isn’t much you can do unless he is spraying it. De Minaur’s gamestyle has proven to be ineffective on this surface in the past, as shown by his 7-16 clay record on the ATP Tour. He was only able to win a set in one of his five losses last year, and that was in a four set loss to Cecchinato at the French Open. This should be an easy first clay outing of the year for Rublev.
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) to beat Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) at 4/7:
Felix Auger-Aliassime has impressed all of us at Serving Up Clutch with his start to the 2022 season, showing maturity in his tennis that we hadn’t seen before. His ability and weaponry had always been there, and has earnt him some great results, and a long overdue first ATP title. He has been a threat on the clay in the past, and there’s no reason why he can’t be a threat this week. He faces fellow youngster Lorenzo Musetti first, who beat Paire in three sets in the previous round. The Italian is talented, and is most dangerous on the clay. However, Auger-Aliassime is more reliable behind serve, having seemingly resolved past troubles with excessive double faulting. He also has that bit of extra quality with his groundstrokes, and is far steadier than Musetti, who is often erratic. The Canadian will be disappointed with his outing in Marrakech, having lost in Round 2 to Molcan in a third set tiebreak, but I don’t see a repeat here.
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) to beat Marton Fucsovics (HUN) at 4/11:
Diego Schwartzman is most at home on the clay, and has already reached two finals on the surface this year, in Buenos Aires (losing to Ruud) and Rio de Janeiro (losing to Alcaraz). His retrieval skills as well as his ability to maintain depth with his groundstrokes is what makes him so effective on this surface. Furthermore, his ability to grind his way through matches when he is not playing his best is why he is ranked as high as he is. He was able to come through an epic three setter over Khachanov from a set down, so has some form going into this clash. He should be fine in dealing with Marton Fucsovics, who is often erratic and has not performed well on clay for the majority of his career. However, he is a hugely talented player who I feel should perform better than he does given his ability, which makes me often wary to go against him. However, the fact it is on clay swings the winning probability drastically in Schwartzman’s favour, and makes him a worthwhile selection here at 4/11.
Why not listen to the clutch tennis podcast if you want detailed insight on the event as a whole? Link below: