Rafael Nadal will kick off his bid for a 10th Monte-Carlo title on Wednesday, when he sees Kyle Edmund on the other side of the net. The second-round schedule is also highlighted by Andy Murray’s opener against Gilles Muller.
Kyle Edmund vs. (4) Rafael Nadal
Nadal will be playing for the first time since losing the Miami final to Roger Federer when he takes the court against Edmund during second-round action at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday. The seventh-ranked Spaniard is still in search of his first title this season, but he is second behind Federer in the race to the World Tour Finals. Nadal also finished runner-up at the Australian Open and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in addition to his Miami performance.
Edmund set up a first-ever showdown against this week’s No. 4 seed by beating fellow Brit Dan Evans 7-5, 6-1 on Monday. The 22-year-old has climbed to 45th in the rankings (five spots off his career-high) thanks in part to eight ATP-level match victories during the 2017 campaign. Unfortunately for Edmund, this is just about the worst possible second-round draw he could have been dealt. Not only is Nadal 58-4 lifetime in Monte-Carlo with nine titles, but he is also 19-2 against players not named Federer this season–and Edmund sure isn’t Federer.
Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 5-7 games
Murray has played his part in an alarming, injury-plagued slump for the top two men in the world this season–or perhaps “not played” would be more accurate. Both Murray and Djokovic skipped Miami with elbow injuries, so the top-ranked Scot has not taken the court since losing his Indian Wells opener to Vasek Pospisil in early March.
Up first for Murray in Monte-Carlo on Wednesday is a sixth career meeting with Muller, who is a hopeless 0-5 in the head-to-head series. Murray, 11-2 in total sets at the Luxembourgian’s expense, most recently cruised 6-3, 6-2 at the 2015 Canada Masters. The two veterans have never faced each other on clay, which is the worst surface for both players–but especially for Muller. That being said, the world No. 28 earned his place in this matchup with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 rout of Tommy Robredo on Tuesday. Murray, though, has never had any trouble breaking down big servers–Muller included–and he should do the same in this one as long he is close to 100 percent.
Pick: Murray in 2