Day 3 in Monte Carlo sees former world number 1, Novak Djokovic, take to the courts in a bid to progress further than his disappointed second round exit last season. However, in this article I’m going to be looking at the younger players on the tour who will are scheduled to play on day 3.
Only 2 days ago, Coric lifted a huge weight of his shoulders by lifting his maiden title in Marrakech, coming back from a set and a break down to beat the experience German Kohlschreiber in 3 sets.
Coric has been handed a wildcard into this tournament, and his first round opponent will be Jeremy Chardy, who has also received a wildcard into the Monte Carlo draw. The head-to-head between the pair is even with one win a piece, both matches played in 2015. Only one of these matches was played on clay and Coric won comfortably on the day, 6-2 6-4.
The Croat will now be riding a high on confidence, and with a win on clay under his belt against today’s opponent, I think he should be good enough to win a place in the second round, where he will play fifth seed Marin Cilic in what will be an all-Croatian affair.
At only 18 years of age, Norwegian Casper Ruud is ranked 127th in the world, up 98 places since the start of the season. At the end of February he managed to reach the semi-finals of the Rio Open, beating clay court specialists Thiago Monteiro, Roberto Carballes Baena and Rogerio Dutra Da Silva along the way. He played Pable Carreno-Busta in the semi-finals and took the first set 6-2, and in the second set he twice went a break ahead. However, he evebtually lost the second set and completely fell away in the third set, not winning a single game.
Here in Monte Carlo, Ruud is playing German Jan Lennard-Struff (ATP: 58) in the first round and is a 4.00 outsider in what will be their first career clash. Struff is a worth favourite for this match and will presumably defeat Ruud today, however Ruud is capable of putting up a fight today and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take a set off Struff. He is definitely a play to look out for in the future.
Khachanov (ATP: 52) is only 20 years old and a serious contender for a top-10 position within the next few years. He has the game and the mentality to make it big time.
He is a 1.44 favourite in his first round clash today which will be against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at around 11:30 UK time. Neither player has played a match on clay this season so I expect both players to be a little bit rusty, more so considering they have both been out of action for 3 or 4 weeks.
Khachanov had a poor start to the season, losing 6 games on the bounce, but managed to regain a little bit of momentum in the Irving Challenger, losing to Kukushkin in the quarter-finals. A week later he lost in the first round of the Miami masters to Diego Schwartzman and has been away from the tour since.
Khachanov is only 4 places worse off than his career high of 48 and I’d expect him to come through this first round clash with Mahut, but it won’t be easy.