I watched the draw in pure disbelief! What a draw we have and the opening round match-ups even without the top eight in action is stunning!
Denis Shapovalov v Felix Auger-Aliassime
Wow. Two Canadians who are good friends and have explosive games! Felix is big off the forehand as we know and if he can get that time to unleash then he will be difficult to play against. I like Denis’ game it is full of imagination but there is one thing that bothered me. I saw a video on Twitter of Denis’ best shots from Barcelona and they were impressive but he lost 7-5 6-2 to Garin who is in form, take nothing away from him. Denis hit an airborne backhand down the line and celebrated playing the guitar on his racket. I mean come on! Big opportunity that was in Barcelona and he didn’t seem serious. He’s be on-site in Madrid since that loss so I hope we see a more controlled performance.
Winner, gets Rafael Nadal…
Daniil Medvedev v Guido Pella
Two in-form players here. Both have had strong clay court seasons so to have this match-up in round one is fascinating but a shame as well. I do think Guido can cause problems and the worry for Daniil is the matches he has found himself down in which have been the semi-finals/finals of late he has slipped away quickly.
Winner probably get’s Stan!
Borna Coric v Lucas Pouille
Pressure for both, who needs this win more? Coric for me needs it for momentum and to keep his name in the hat. That Monte-Carlo collapse was a shame but he has to move on now. Lucas Pouille made the semi-finals in Melbourne pulling out 5 wins in a row but hasn’t won an ATP tour singles match since losing his last 5 so this week leading upto Madrid took himself to Bordeaux for a challenger event.
Karen Khachanov v Jaume Munar
To be honest I can only see one winner here and that is Jaume Munar. The Spaniard has been in good form of late and Karen has looked flat footed and just lacking in presence with his game. Jaume is a tough clay court player who will make you run for and if Karen can’t find his game which has eluded him a lot this season then I only see one winner here.
Fabio Fognini v Kyle Edmund
Fabio winning Monte Carlo hasn’t pulled up trees. We aren’t sat here saying contender because we know his form can be so up and down there is just no consistency. Kyle will not be pleased with his clay court tennis so far this year and will be up against a tough challenge but I really wouldn’t rule anything out in this one.
Diego Schwartzman v Marco Cecchinato
Diego hasn’t had a bad campaign so far but I would say there is more pressure on him to really put his name back in a mix. He is a good player but consistency has been an issue. Marco for me is a good player is he a top 20 consistent player? Not for me, those points at Roland Garros did him the world of good but I will be pleasantly surprised if he replicates it again.