Monte-Carlo R3 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Zverev, Wawrinka vs. Cuevas

A blockbuster third-round contest in Monte-Carlo will pit Rafael Nadal against Alexander Zverev on Thursday. A place in the quarterfinals will also be at stake when Stan Wawrinka continues his campaign against Pablo Cuevas.

(14) Alexander Zverev vs. (4) Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Zverev will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday. Their two previous encounters have not disappointed. Nadal survived 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 at the 2016 Indian Wells Masters, where Zverev infamously bricked an easy volley on his own match point. The 19-year-old German, who in fact turns 20 on Thursday, came close again at this season’s Australian Open before going down 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 as Nadal eventually made his way to the final. Roger Federer ended the Spaniard’s run Down Under and toppled him again in Indian Wells (fourth round) and Miami (title match). Nadal has otherwise been stellar in 2017, with a 20-2 record against opponents not named Federer following his 6-0, 5-7, 7-3 victory over Kyle Edmund on Wednesday.

Although it is still early, arguably no one has been better this week than Zverev. The world No. 20 is through to last 16 without the loss of a set and he did not even come close to dropping set in routs of Andreas Seppi and Feliciano Lopez. Zverev is 13-6 for a season that has been highlighted by a title in Montpellier and a quarterfinal performance in Miami. This will not be easy for Nadal, but he should showcase more consistency in his second clay-court match of the year and maintain the kind of level that was on display in his opening set against Edmund.

Pick: Nadal in 2



(3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (16) Pablo Cuevas

Like Nadal, Wawrinka also endured a scare in his Wednesday opener but battled to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over Jiri Vesely–who upset Novak Djokovic at this tournament last spring. The third-ranked Swiss captured the Monte-Carlo title in 2015 to go along with one other semifinal finish (2009) and three quarterfinal showings.

Wawrinka is one victory away from another appearance in the last eight, but his form has been unspectacular of late (15-5 record this season with no titles) and Cuevas is one of the best dirt-ballers in the business. Although the 27th-ranked Uruguayan is just 10-6 this year, he captured a clay-court title in Sao Paulo–for his sixth career winner’s trophy and sixth on the red stuff. Cuevas has advanced this week by taking out Viktor Troicki and Joao Sousa in easy straight sets. Unfortunately for the 16th seed, he is just 3-10 lifetime against top-10 opponents and is 0-3 in his last three such efforts.

Pick: Wawrinka in 3

65 Comments on Monte-Carlo R3 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Zverev, Wawrinka vs. Cuevas

  1. I see both of these going three sets. Stan’s play is pretty inconsistent at the moment, and Cuevas is getting better this year. Stan in 3. Zverev is currently the best young player not named Kyrgios, and he is getting better every month. Nadal was at least tested in his first match; he passed, but not exactly with flying colors. His level should improve, but even so I think Zverev takes this one in 3 sets.

      • Are you going to make a call on the matches, Hawk?

        It seems a fairly high % of your posts are about me, personally. And I’m pretty sure 100% of your posts that respond to me say something about me, personally, as opposed to responding substantively to the content of my post.

        Who completes who, exactly?

          • Here’s a challenge, Hawk. Try to bring that second percentage I mentioned down under 100%. Try, just once, to respond to what I say, instead of insulting me personally.

            As I said, I gave you full bragging rights regarding my going back on my pledge not to respond to you. But it is getting to be kind of old news, don’t you think?

            • Here’s a challenge, Joe Smith. Try to bring the 99.44% of your posts about Rafa and Me down to something respectable. Try, just once, NOT to respond to what I say, instead of insulting Nadal.

              As I said, you gave me nothing regarding an olive branch (which I doubt you know the meaning of). But your Nadal bashing thinly guised as something other than dime-a-dozen fedfawn fedal PTSF is getting to be kind of old fake news, don’t you think?

  2. Hawk, I will repeat what I said a few weeks ago: I have no interest in making internet enemies. I am determinedly trying to make peace with you. I think you often have perceptive points to make. Often I disagree with them. It is nothing personal. You clearly are capable of treating other views with which you disagree with respect. I am asking you extend the same courtesy to me.

    I have nothing personally against Nadal. Others who seem to care quite deeply about Nadal, such as Mira, can see that.

    Can we push the reset button?

    • Joe…For your information,i really enjoyed reading your post and many other’s,like Eugene,TENNIS,Kevin…please keep posting them..it can give me a very valuable information and view about Rafa and his game..

      • MA,

        I agree with your sentiments! I enjoy reading comments even from those with whom I disagree. In fact, I think those are the most valuable because I may get a different perspective. I hope those people keep posting!

        • Hey Nny!…First of all..How r u?U missed 2 of my post that was meant for u,u know…hehe..but,that’s okay…and yeah,like u i value the comments from other fans very much because they’re usually made a comments without bias..they maybe be able see things differently from us because of their natural stand regarding Rafa..

    • Sure Joe Smith.

      Just be sincere with integrity and respect like the other posters you say I disagree with and respect. No offence though, I don’t think you are interested but let’s give it a go.

      I just offered you an olive branch.

  3. I like Zv in this match vs Rafa…he’s younger, hungrier, and should have enough confidence to take down Nadal…in straight….ans Stan in straight.

  4. It is Zverev’s birthday tomorrow, and he obviously can beat Rafa tomorrow… But I just don’t think he will, even if I don’t have any good reason except for that I just don’t think he will beat Rafa at MC. Rafa in 3.

    • Yeah, I expect Rafa to win, because Rafa knows what to expect from A Zverev. It’s unlike vs Kyle, when Rafa thought he had it after that first easy set, but ended up had to fight tooth and nail for the win.

    • Actually Kyle hits better than Zverev; Kyle has precision and power, and it’s precision that I find Zverev lacking. Kyle also has good temperament, being calm and patient (I quite like the guy and think he can go far and up in his career if he remains calm) whilst Zverev is more impatient.

      I think it will be easier for Rafa today being more familiar with Zverev’s game.

        • Zverev is a much better player than Edmunds.

          YTD and 52-wk rank make that obvious alone.

          If Rafa plays like he did on clay last year, he’ll win.

          Big if.

        • See Big AL, I said Zverev didn’t have the precision of Kyle’s. Who needs a BH when you have Kyle’s FH and he could hit it at his FH and BH corners! More lethal, I think, when hitting it CC I/O from BH corner!

  5. Hope Rafa gets it done in 2! I expect Rafa to play better in this match. He had been pushed in his first clay court match this year and I now expect his improved showing. I like Zverev and think he has great future, but this is clay and Rafa is the King no matter what!

    Vamos!

  6. Wow, Andy really looks rusty out there…One can just tell which players DO NOT enjoy playing on clay, Murray being one of them…

  7. Wawrinka in 3. I’ve been watching Cuevas throughout 2017 and he is really solid on clay (continually improvement). It wouldn’t surprise me if Cuevas wins in 3. IMO it’ll be a close match with one break in the third set to decide it all.

  8. Quite an untidy match this Murray vs ARV match; both losing serve so readily, and now Murray giving up the break adv in the third set to let ARV back into the match.

    • Insane! When I come to think of it, Andy was two breaks up in the third and still managed to lose the match! Unbelievable!

  9. I can’t believe Andy let the opportunity sailed away from him just like that..but then i’m not surprised either…i think the struggled to get to the No 1 spot last year has taken it’s toll on his mind and body now…Hope,he will be back to his usual self as soon as possible..

    • Yeah first tournament back for Muzz. He didn’t play terrible and AVR played very well.

      Murray has become a very good clay court player constantly improving year to year. The only losses he had on clay last two years was once to Rafa and three times to Nole.

      Before today, Murray was undefeated at 43-0 against everyone else on clay dating back to 2014.

      His clay record last five years:

      2012: 9-4
      2013: 5-3
      2014: 9-4
      2015: 17-1
      2016: 18-3

  10. Playing against an in-form Zverev is like playing against a red-hot Gulbis for Rafa (though I feel Gulbis was a bit more dangerous from the baseline when really on).

    Zverev has a HUGE second serve so rafa will have to return well. Rafa is better at winning second serve RETURN points than at winning on his own second serve! he on 60% second serve return points in last year’s MC which is ridiculous.

    I think Rafa will be too much to handle for Zverev on this court. Edmund was good practice and I feel Rafa will play better today.

    He is doomed if he doesn’t improve but I am sure he will improve today.

    Rafa in 2.

  11. Stan lost as I expected. Cueves is playing very well and in good form whilst Stan was struggling even against Vesley.

  12. Just caught the end of the match. WaWa seemed distracted, almost uninterested in the outcome.

    Maybe he’s saving his energy for Roland Garros.

    What a topsy, turvy MC this is proving to be.

  13. Wow, one of @AlbertRamos88, @Cilic_Marin, @PabloCuevas22 and @La_Pouille will make the MC final. They have one clay Masters semi final appearance combined (Pouille 2016 Rome) in their careers.

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