Montreal R2 previews and predictions: Nishikori vs. Monfils, Zverev vs. Gasquet

Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet are not often unseeded at Masters 1000 tournaments, but that is the case this week in Montreal. The result is tough early-round draws that pit Monfils against Kei Nishikori and Gasquet against Alexander Zverev.

(5) Kei Nishikori vs. Gael Monfils

Nishikori and Monfils will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they clash in round two of the Rogers Cup on Wednesday. All three of their previous encounters have gone Nishikori’s way–all in three sets (2014 Halle, 2016 Miami, and 2016 Rio Olympics). This is a showdown between two of the most injury-plagued players on tour and for a while it looked like another physical problem would prevent this matchup from happening. Monfils struggled with a recurring knee issue early in Monday’s date with Steve Johnson, but the 22nd-ranked Frenchman recovered for a 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 victory. He is still just 17-12 during what has been a disappointing 2017 campaign on the heels of a berth in last season’s World Tour Finals.

Even Nishikori has a lot of work to do if he wants to secure a fourth consecutive spot in London. The world No. 9 has no titles this year and has reached the quarterfinals of only one Grand Slam (lost to Andy Murray at the French Open). Nishikori is coming off a semifinal appearance in Washington, D.C., where he won a wild one against Tommy Paul before losing 6-3, 6-4 to eventual champion Alexander Zverev. In what should be a competitive affair as long as both contestants are close to 100 percent, Nishikori’s final-set prowess–including against Monfils–will likely make the difference once again.

Pick: Nishikori in 3

(4) Alexander Zverev vs. Richard Gasquet

Zverev is potentially in line for a top-eight seed at the upcoming U.S. Open and almost certainly on course for a debut appearance at the World Tour Finals. The 20-year-old German sports an amazing 41-13 this season and is fourth in the race to London behind only Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem. Zverev captured his fourth title of the year (fifth of his career) last week in Washington, D.C., where he won 10 consecutive sets after dropping his opener to Jordan Thompson.

Up first for the world No. 8 on Tuesday in Montreal is a third career contest against Gasquet, who trails the head-to-head series 2-0. Zverev has already defeated the Frenchman twice this season; 7-6(4), 6-3 in the Montpellier final and 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Halle semis. Gasquet earned another shot at Zverev by holding off Canadian wild card Brayden Schnur 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1 in exactly three hours on Monday night. The 31-year-old is a decent 20-10 in 2017 and trying to maintain a U.S. Open seed at 29th in the rankings. Zverev should have plenty in his tank having cruised through so many routine matches in Washington, D.C., so he should be able to continue his mastery of Gasquet.

Pick: Zverev in 2

12 Comments on Montreal R2 previews and predictions: Nishikori vs. Monfils, Zverev vs. Gasquet

      • A Zverev barely survived Gasquet! Gasquet had MPs, so I’m not too far off with my predictions. It’s not a matter I want who to win, I don’t control the results you know? I based on my observations to do the predictions. A Zverev always had some kind of let down after winning a title; he barely survived this time, I doubt he could survive Kygrios!

    • If you’ve watched how Kei played at Citi Open, you would have known he could lose to Monfils. Monfils is the kind of player who would trouble Kei, Monfils would return the ball time and again and forces errors out of Kei. Monfils wasn’t in top form but was still able to edge out Kei, barely.

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