Monte-Carlo R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Edmund, Murray vs. Muller

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

(1) Andy Murray vs. Gilles Muller

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

65 Comments on Monte-Carlo R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Edmund, Murray vs. Muller

      • That said, I DO think it would be quite apropos for the poster named TENNIS to bet it all on Edmund based on his own thoughtful analysis and therefore I HIGHLY recommend that he follow through and put his money where his mouth is, talk being such a relatively cheap commodity and all.

          • Hey TENNIS are you going to mail money to this forum? Sounds great! Definitely better than posting analysis based on bizarre assumptions.

          • Yeah you didn’t offend me TENNIS. No offense, but few posters would warrant that, certainly none that haven’t been around very long.

            You can post pretend money, like pieman does. Nobody can prove otherwise.

            • This is why people don’t post more frequently. Hawkeye suggests I bet it all on Edmund. All I said was Edmund is a poor 1st round draw for Nadal given that he has a powerful forehand. Mary would like me not to post analysis anymore unless it is in line with her thoughts. Do you think anyone with less knowledge wants to read jabs and have their faces rubbed in their errors? Try not to be so small in the future. You will prosper.

            • Sorry to offend you TENNIS. I wouldn’t put much weight into what I, Mary, or any anonymous poster FTM says.

              So yeah, sincerely, I apologize if I offended you.

            • TENNIS, you have no doubt garnered that this is a Rafa-crazy site. Most of the posters are good-natured fans, but some take any criticism of Nadal quite personally. But Hawk’s suggestion not to put too much weight on what he says is sage advice.

          • Sorry TENNIS, I was just ribbing you. In your initial posts you sounded as if you had a sense of humor. I did not mean to offend you. Please feel free to post your analysis. Diverse views are welcome.

  1. TENNIS, see? Pay no never mind to me. Don’t blame me if you don’t place that bet and end up regretting it…

    Mr. Steve says:

    The day’s afternoon showcase also features its most intriguing matchup. Nadal and the 22-year-old Edmund have never played, but if Rafa’s matches with other young guns—Dominic Thiem, Lucas Pouille, Alexander Zverev—over the last year are any indication, this could be a good one. The 45th-ranked Edmund has the forehand to push Rafa around, and he looked sharp for most of his first-round win over Daniel Evans. Can the Brit join his fellow Next Genners with a signature win? Or maybe a signature close loss?

    Winner: Nadal

  2. I think Rafa should take care of Edmund j routine fashion. I don’t think this match should be close. I think Rafa is ready.

    Rafa for the win in 2 sets.

      • vr,

        I have been checked out and am doing well! Thanks for asking!

        I am looking forward to seeing Rafa in his first match on clay! Even though he talked about having to get used to playing on clay again after a year, I believe that once he steps on that red earth it’s like coming home!

        I am happy to see the positive feelings from you and Lucky. Ed hasn’t posted a lot recently, but she did post a comment about never writing off Rafa!

        It’s good to be feeling well again so that I can really enjoy seeing Rafa and being there to support him!

  3. Murray needs a warm-up round. 3rd game hasn’t finished yet, and he already managed to make a couple of doubles. Opening rounds are so dangerous here. Berdych, Wawrinka both had to play 3 sets. Let’s what Andy and Rafa will do.

  4. Rafa must always serve poorly in at least one game to get broken. It’s a bad habit these days. When his opponent goes for broke, he tends to retreat and plays more defensively. I really miss the more aggressive Rafa of 2008!

  5. Rafa (and Kyle) making life difficult for Rafa! Rafa shouldn’t have lost that service game after breaking Kyle in the third game second set. He’s letting Kyle having hope here and Kyle is going for broke.

    Rafa better serve well this game to hold serve.

    • The question that remains is if Rafa is “being polite” or is he “only joking”.


  6. Rafa always has problems vs going for broke players. He won’t fight fire with fire (which he is capable of doing) but would prefer to think his way out of troubles.

  7. That’s the gist of Rafa’s tennis – think his way out of troubles, changing things up when necessary.

    He’s not the outright offensive type the way Kyle is, so he has to put us on roller coaster rides so often! I do feel has lost a bit of his anticipation skills, not sharp enough at times.

  8. He’s not looking sharp now and that’s his problem these days, plays well the first set and then struggles in the second. Even on clay he’s like that!

    • poor set from Rafa, good stuff from Edmund.

      Rafa really lost his way. Sometimes it’s just hard to explain why he plays such tentative tennis when under pressure.

    • Exactly Lucky!If his opponents’s level are not high and make a lot of UE’s then he will play brilliantly…but if his opponents start to up their level then we will see Rafa start to struggle and his level will drop automatically…

  9. Oh dear, a third set! Who says Rafa will not lose a set here?

    Rafa’s serve is still his biggest problem! He only wins 29% of his second serve this set! Really poor!

    • Then why had he just given up four service points in his first four service games?

      His problem is mental.

  10. I think he’s still nervous, not very sure of himself! I think he badly needs a title, then he’ll be more confident and starts believing in his game and in himself.

    He has to fight fire with fire now and not let Kyle dictate.

  11. If Rafa loses here, it’ll be very disappointing for him and his supporters. It seems he’s not able to play offensive tennis these days, can’t seem to read the game well and so is hesitant at times. He clearly has lost some of his power and his serve is not helping him.

    • I just remembered that Rafa was playing today. I just turned it on to see that Rafa lost the second set. So much for a routine match!

      Bageled in the first set, but wins the second set? This is concerning.

      • VR, he has. His FHDTL lacks depth and Kyle is able to get to it and returns with interest. Maybe it’s his footwork that’s not up to par, caught with wrong footing at times.

        Kyle just hits as big and as hard as possible not unlike Sod, and Rafa is overpowered at times. Perhaps it’s their first meeting, and Rafa tries to bring Kyle to the net but not knowing Kyle can play well at the net.

        This first match is a wake up call for Rafa, that he has to stay focused and maintains his consistency, not allowing it to drop by much if not his opponent will take advantage.

  12. Mr. Steve and TENNIS were right.

    (TENNIS should have placed his bet and heeded my advice after all.)

    • That was crucial for Rafa to get the break. Now he has to hold his serve and get this done.

      Edmund just hit his 23rd forehand winner of the match.

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