Toronto R3 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Monfils, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov

One of the most intriguing and likely one of the most competitive third-round showdowns in Toronto on Thursday will pit David Goffin against Washington, D.C. champion Gael Monfils. Ivo Karlovic and Grigor Dimitrov are also aiming for a place in the quarterfinals.

(10) Gael Monfils vs. (7) David Goffin

Goffin and Monfils will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers at the ATP level when they clash in round three of the Rogers Cup on Thursday. They have faced each other once on the Challenger circuit, where Monfils pulled out a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 victory on the clay courts of Bordeaux in 2013. Fast forward three seasons and the Frenchman is still going strong at 30 years old. In fact, if not for recurring injury problems, Monfils would arguably be playing the best tennis of his life. The world No. 14 is 28-9 for his 2016 campaign and he is coming off the biggest title of his career last week in Washington, D.C. Monfils has maintained momentum in Toronto with straight-set blowouts of Joao Sousa and Vasek Pospisil.

Similarly, Goffin is enjoying by far his best year on tour and is also in World Tour Finals contention. The 11th-ranked Belgian’s 32-13 record includes back-to-back semifinal appearances in Indian Wells and Miami, a quarterfinal run at the French Open, and a fourth-round showing at Wimbledon. The No. 7 seed opened on Wednesday by getting a retirement from Sam Querrey while leading 6-2, 2-1. Although Goffin will be well-rested, he still has not played a full match since Wimbledon. Monfils, who has played seven such matches since departing the All-England Club, is perhaps mentally stronger than ever before and his match toughness is certainly at a high point. That–along with an ability to win free points in the clutch moments thanks to superior firepower–could make the difference in the 10th seed’s favor.

Pick: Monfils in 3

Ivo Karlovic vs. Grigor Dimitrov

It was Monfils who triumphed in Washington, D.C., but anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that it should not have been Karlovic. Dating back to the 6’11” Croat’s run to the Newport title earlier this month, he had held 70 consecutive service games (50 in Washington) when he stepped to the line while leading 7-5, 5-4 with a chance to secure the most significant trophy of his career. But that’s when things suddenly fell apart for Karlovic, who failed to serve it out and eventually succumbed to Monfils 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4. Nonetheless, there is no sign of the world No. 27’s incredible hot streak coming to an end; he has bounced right back in Toronto to see off Taylor Fritz and Marin Cilic.
Ivo 2
Up next for Karlovic on Thursday is a fifth career meeting with Dimitrov. The head-to-head series is all tied up at two wins apiece, but the 37-year-old won their only previous hard-court collision 7-6(3), 7-6(3) indoors in Zagreb in 2013. They most recently squared off a few months ago on the red clay of Istanbul, where Dimitrov got the job done 7-6(0), 7-6(2) one day before infamously losing the title to Diego Schwartzman on a point penalty. The 40th-ranked Bulgarian has been a disaster ever since, with six opening losses in his last eight tournaments. Dimitrov survived a three-setter against Yuichi Sugita to begin his Toronto campaign before beating 17-year-old Canadian wild card Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday night. The competition level increases exponentially in the form of Karlovic and nothing suggests Dimitrov is ready for such a challenge.

Pick: Karlovic in 2

13 Comments on Toronto R3 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Monfils, Karlovic vs. Dimitrov

  1. Dimitrov raised his confidence after beating Sugita despite being down so many times. Today he played very well and tomorrow will beat Karlovic in 3.

  2. Was the Querrey retirement strategic? Difficult to judge this week with so many players wanting to get to Rio in advance.

  3. Dimitrov is back in business. He has got better and better with each match and beats Dr. Ivo in straight sets to reach the QFs.

    Monfils through in three sets over Goffin.

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