Pro Tennis Internet Network

Monte-Carlo Thursday Briefing

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic faces Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round.

• The four Top 5 players who came to Monte Carlo are all in Round of 16 action Thursday at the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay court tournament of the season. Overall there are 11 of the 16 seeds on the schedule.

• First up on Court Central is No. 3 seed Andy Murray against France’s Julien Benneteau. Murray rolled through his opening match against Viktor Troicki and will now try to reach the quarter-finals here for the third time (he was a semi-finalist in 2009 and ‘11). This is Benneteau’s best ever result here, falling first or second round in all eight previous main draw appearances - en route to the third round this year he took out the No. 15 seed, Jurgen Melzer, who was a semi-finalist here last year. Murray has beaten Benneteau in both previous meetings, although Benneteau won a set both times. This is their first meeting on clay.

• Next is No. 4 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga against No. 13 seed Fernando Verdasco. Tsonga, currently at a career-high No. 5, is a win away from his first quarter-final here (he fell in the third round in 2010 and second round in 2011); it would be just his second ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final on clay, his first coming at Rome in 2010 (he has never been to an ATP Masters 1000 semi-final on clay); Verdasco could be a tough customer however, since this was the site of his only ATP Masters 1000 final (in 2010); they are 1-1 head-to-head but this is their first meeting on clay, and five of Verdasco’s eight Top 5 wins have come on this surface.

• Third on is World No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 16 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. Monte Carlo is one of the three ATP Masters 1000 events currently on the calendar Djokovic has never won, along with Cincinnati and Shanghai - but he has been to the final here before (in 2009). Dolgopolov had lost seven of his last 13 matches coming into Monte Carlo but has won back-to-back wins in his first two rounds, and although he did lose his only previous meeting with Djokovic, it was very close at times (he held four set points in a thrilling first set tie-breaker but eventually fell in straight sets, 76(14) 64 62).

• Last up is World No. 2 Rafael Nadal against Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin; Kukushkin has battled his way through a pair of three-setters in his first two rounds - including an upset of No. 14 seed Florian Mayer - and he is now in the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time, but now he has one of the toughest challenges of all - not only did Nadal win their only previous meeting routinely, but he has won this tournament the last seven years and has an amazing 38-match winning streak going here (winning 32 of those in straight sets). Overall, Nadal is 40-1 in Monte Carlo with his lone loss coming to Guillermo Coria in 3R in ’03.

• Other Top 10 players in action are No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych, who faces No. 12 Kei Nishikori, and No. 7 seed Janko Tipsarevic, who squares off with the No. 9 Gilles Simon.

Remaining Field by Country – There are 11 countries represented in the Round of 16, led by France and Spain with three each and Serbia with two. The following countries have one player left: Brazil, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Ukraine.


Court Central

(3) Andy Murray (GBR) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) Murray Leads 2-0
06 Wimbledon (England)      Grass R64 Andy Murray 7-6(5)6-4 4-6 6-1
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard QF Andy Murray 4-6 6-3 6-1


Tournament Highlights:
• The 24-year-old Scot opened on Tuesday with a 60 63 win over Serb Viktor Troicki…Last year he reached his second semi-final in three years (l. to Nadal 64 26 61)…En route he posted wins over Radek Stepanek, No. 15 seed Gilles Simon and  Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil
• He is making his sixth appearance in seven years (except '07) and owns a 9-5 record
• In ’09, reached his first clay court semi-final, defeating  No. 9-ranked Nikolay Davydenko 76(1) 64 for his first Top 10 win on clay (l. to Nadal)…He was the first British player to reach the semi-finals here since Tim Henman in 2002 (l. to Moya)
•  Has two opening round losses, in 2006 debut (l. to Lisnard) and two years ago (l. to Kohlschreiber)

2012 Highlights:
W: Brisbane (d Dolgopolov); F: Dubai (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic); SF: Australian Open (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 18-4 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 22
Date of Birth: May 15, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 4

2012 in Review:
• The British No. 1 is making his season clay court debut and he’s playing in his first tournament since a runner-up effort at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami on Apr. 1 (l. to Djokovic)
• He comes into the third round with an 18-4 match record and he’s trying to reach his fifth quarter-final in six tournaments…He opened the campaign by capturing his 22nd career ATP World Tour title in Brisbane (d. Dolgopolov) and followed with a semi-final at the Australian Open, falling in five sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic
• Last month he also was runner-up in Dubai (l. to Federer) after defeating World No. 1 Djokovic in the semi-finals…Has seven career wins over No. 1 ranked opponents (d. Nadal three times and two over Djokovic and Federer)…Also lost in the opening round to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Indian Wells


Tournament Highlights:
• The 30-year-old has a 5-8 record and this is the Frenchman’s best result after posting wins over Spaniard Marcel Granollers 63 36 62 and No. 15 seed Jurgen Melzer 64 63
• His previous best result was the second round  in his 2003 debut (d. Sluiter, l. to Robredo), 2007 (d. Balleret, l. to Ferrer) and in 2010 (d. Dolgopolov, l. to Verdasco)
• He is playing in the main draw for the ninth time in the past 10 years (except ’08)

2012 Highlights:
F: Sydney (l Nieminen); SF: San Jose (l Istomin)
YTD W-L: 12-8 (2-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: December 20, 1981
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 31

2012 in Review:
• The French native enters the third round in his first ATP World Tour clay court tournament of the year with a 12-8 match record…In second tournament in Sydney advanced to his sixth career ATP World Tour final (0-6), falling to Jarkko Nieminen…Followed with third round at the Australian Open (l. to Nishikori in four sets)
• In February, made his debut in San Jose and defeated Ryan Sweeting 76 76, Gilles Muller 62 64 and Steve Darcis 36 61 62 before losing to Denis Istomin…Afterwards, reached a career-high No. 29
• Then struggled with 1-3 mark, falling in the third round (after bye, d. Becker, l. to No. 5 Ferrer) in Miami in last outing, before winning back-to-back matches this week
• Prior to San Jose, played in Davis Cup first round tie vs. Canada in Vancouver and lost to Milos Raonic straight sets in second rubber but won doubles rubber (w/Llodra)

(13) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (4) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) Tied 1-1
09 Australian Open (Australia) Hard QF Fernando Verdasco 7-6(2) 3-6 6-3 6-2
11 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4


Tournament Highlights:
• The 28-year-old Madrid native is making his eighth straight appearance and owns an 8-7 career mark with his best result a runner-up two years ago when he lost to countryman Rafael Nadal 60 61…He defeated No. 2 Djokovic in the semi-finals…Also a quarter-finalist in ’09 (l. to No. 3 Djokovic)
• In first two rounds, rallied from a set down to defeat Olivier Rochus 46 62 75 and Ivan Dodig 36 63 61
• Last year lost in the opening round (after bye) to countryman Tommy Robredo

2012 Highlights:
F: Acapulco (l Ferrer); SF: Auckland (l Ferrer); QF: Sao Paulo (l Ramos)
YTD W-L: 12-7 (8-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 15, 1983
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 19

2012 in Review:
• The Spaniard is trying to reach his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final (or better) on the season and he enters with a 12-7 match record,  including an 8-3 mark on clay
• His best result came last month in Acapulco where he reached the final, losing to countryman and No. 5 David Ferrer 61 62…It was his 17th career ATP World Tour final (5-12)
• Also a semi-finalist in Auckland (l to Ferrer) in first outing of year and quarter-finalist in Sao Paulo in February, falling to Albert Ramos...Of his seven losses, four have come to fellow Spaniards
• Looking to post his first Top 10 win of the year (0-3) and break a seven-match losing streak since defeating No. 10 Almagro in the semi-finals of Gstaad last July…Has a 15-58 career mark vs. Top 10
• Ranks as the No. 5 Spaniard behind No. 2 Nadal, No. 6 Ferrer, No. 12 Almagro and No. 16 Lopez


Tournament Highlights:
• The Frenchman celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday with a 62 64 win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber…He is making his third straight Monte Carlo appearance (3-2 mark), reaching the third round two years ago (bye, d. Alamgro, l. to Ferrero) and second round (d. Monaco, l. to Ljubicic) last yr

2012 Highlights:
W: Doha (d Monfils); SF: Marseille (l Del Potro); QF: Dubai (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 20-6 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: April 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 5

2012 in Review:
• The top Frenchman is playing in his first clay court tournament and for the season has a 20-6 match record highlighted by his eighth career ATP World Tour title, a semi-final and two quarter-finals
• He played on this court in the Davis Cup quarter-finals Apr. 6-8 vs. the U.S., defeating Ryan Harrison and falling to John Isner in four sets
• In opening week of campaign in Doha, captured title (d. Monfils) and reached the semi-finals in February in Marseille (l. to del Potro)…Afterwards, reached a career-high No. 5 on Feb. 27
• In first round Davis Cup tie in Canada, won both of his matches in straight sets (d. Pospisil, Dancevic)
• Lost to Kei Nishikori in Australian Open 4th Rd. in a three-hour, 30-minute five-setter and to No. 10 del Potro in Marseille SFs in three-set 2:49 battle…In last tournament, reached QFs in Miami (l. to Nadal)

(1)Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs (16) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) Djokovic Leads 1-0
11 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Novak Djokovic 7-6(14)  6-4   6-2


Tournament Highlights:
• The 24-year-old Serb improved his career record to 12-5 with a 61 64 win over Andreas Seppi on Tuesday…In his last appearance two years ago, lost in the semi-finals to Fernando Verdasco…In ’09, reached final (l. to Nadal in three sets)…Also a semi-finalist in ’08 (retiring vs. Federer due to illness)
• Two of his five losses have come to No. 1 Federer, in his debut in three sets in 2006 and in ’08…In ‘07, came in No. 7 and after a bye, beat Gaston Gaudio before losing to David Ferrer in the third round

2012 Highlights:
W: Australian Open (d Nadal); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (d Murray); SF: Dubai (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 21-2 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 30
Date of Birth: May 22, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 1

2012 in Review:
• The World No. 1 is playing in his first clay event on clay and he’s coming off his second title of the season  at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami where he defended his crown, defeating No. 4 Andy Murray
• Has a 21-2 match record and he opened the season by defending his Australian Open title on Jan. 29 …Has an 11-7 mark in ATP Masters 1000 finals and 30-14 in his career
• Prior to Miami,  lost in the semi-finals to Isner 76 36 76, in Indian Wells, and to Murray in Dubai 
• En route to winning his fifth Grand Slam title (third in a row) Down Under (d. Murray and Nadal in back-to-back five-setters in SFs and final)…His 5:53 marathon win over Nadal was longest Slam final ever
• He is playing in his 100th match since the beginning of last year (91-8 mark) and went 70-6 in 2011
• This is the 42nd consecutive week the Serb stands No. 1 (since July 4, 2011 after Wimbledon title) in the South African Airways ATP Rankings


Tournament Highlights:
• The 23-year-old Ukrainian is making his third straight Monte Carlo appearance (2-2 mark) and he’s into the third round for the first time after posting wins over Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 62 62 and Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic 62 57 61
• Two years ago qualified and lost to Julien Benneteau in the first round and last year fell to Ernests Gulbis in opening round

2012 Highlights:
F: Brisbane (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 13-8 (3-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: November 7, 1988
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 21

2012 in Review:
• The top Ukrainian had a strong start to the season, reaching final in opening week in Brisbane (l. to Murray) then setting a career-high ranking of No. 13 on January 16
• Had pre-QF losses in his next seven events with best results 4th Rd. at Indian Wells (l. to Nadal) and 3rd Rd. at Australian Open (l. to Tomic in five sets) and Miami (l. to Tipsarevic) …Fell 1st Rd. or 2nd Rd. at other fours…Came into Monte Carlo at No. 21
• Looking for his first Top 10 win of the year (0-4) and has lost eight in a row since defeating No. 7 Ferrer in the quarter-finals of Nice last May…Has a 2-17 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents

(Q) Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) vs (2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) Nadal Leads 1-0
10 Bangkok (Thailand) Hard QF Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-3


Tournament Highlights:
• The 24-year-old from Kazakhstan native qualified into the main draw with a 62 62 win over veteran Frenchman Arnaud Clement and followed with a 64 75 victory over Grigor Dimitrov
• Made his main draw debut with a 36 61 63 win over No. 14 seed/No. 20-ranked Florian Mayer 36 61 63 and followed with a 76(8) 26 62 victory over Italian Filippo Volandri

2012 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 5-4 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 26, 1987
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 68

2012 in Review:
• The top player from Kazakhstan is appearing in his fourth ATP World Tour main draw of the year (5-4 record) and turned in a Grand Slam-best 4th Rd. at Australian Open where he posted wins over Garcia-Lopez, No. 23 Troicki and No. 15 Monfils (both in five sets) before retiring with a hip flexor injury to No. 4 Murray after trailing 61 61 1-0…Afterwards climbed from No. 92 to No. 64 on Jan. 30
•  In other two ATP World Tour events, lost in the first round in Brisbane and Miami
• Played in first round Davis Cup tie vs. Spain and lost to Ferrero in five sets in opening rubber
• Last week lost in the second round of qualifying in Casablanca to Martin Fischer
• Has an 1-6 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents and his lone win came over No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in the final of St. Petersburg on Oct. 31, 2010 (for his lone ATP World Tour title)


Tournament Highlights:
• The 25-year-old seven-time reigning champion has a 40-1 career record with 38 consecutive match wins and opened with a 64 63 win over Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday…Has only lost six sets (78-6) during streak (in 2005-06 SF & F, ’09 F, ’11 SF)…Last year he beat countryman Ferrer 64 75 in the final…Two years ago only lost 14 games en route to title over Verdasco
• His lone loss came in the third round to Guillermo Coria in 2003 (did not play in 2004 due to injury)
• Since the loss to Coria in ’03, has captured titles over Coria in 2005, World No. 1 Federer from 2006-08, Djokovic in ’09, Verdasco  in ’10 and Ferrer last year …Has a 14-0 mark against Top 10 opponents
• In 2008, won doubles title (w/Robredo), first player to win both titles in same year since Nastase in 1973

Final Results in Monte-Carlo:
2011 - d. No. 6 David Ferrer 64 75
2010 - d. No. 12 Fernando Verdasco 60 61
2009 - d. No. 3 Novak Djokovic 63 26 61
2008 - d. No. 1 Roger Federer 75 75
2007 - d. No. 1 Roger Federer 64 64
2006 - d. No. 1 Roger Federer 62 67 63 76
2005 - d. No. 9 Guillermo Coria 63 61 06 75

2012 Highlights:
F: Australian Open (l Djokovic); SF: Doha (l Monfils); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (W/O vs Murray)
YTD W-L: 18-3 (1-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 46
Date of Birth: June 3, 1986
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 2

2012 in Review:
• The Mallorcan native is 18-3 on the season and he is playing in his first clay court event…He has reached the semi-finals or better in all four tournaments this year…Prior to here, his last match was Mar. 28 in Miami where he defeated No. 6 Tsonga in the quarter-finals before withdrawing from SF (vs. Murray) due to left knee injury…It was only second walkover he’s given in 777 matches (’04 Estoril)
• Prior to Miami, he reached the singles semi-finals (l. to Federer) and captured his eighth career doubles title (w/M. Lopez) in Indian Wells…Did not drop a set in five matches during doubles play
• Opened the season by reaching the semi-finals in Doha (l. to  Monfils) and then followed with runner-up  at the Australian Open on Jan. 29 when he lost to No. 1 Djokovic 57 64 62 67 75 in a record 5:53 marathon…Has reached the last four Grand Slam finals (1-3 mark) going back to Roland Garros (10-5 lifetime in finals)…Hs last title came in June at Roland Garros (d.Federer)…Has played 12 events since

CLAY COURT DOMINATOR – Nadal has the best career match record on clay in the Open Era with a 232-18 mark (.928) and he’s 32-4 in clay finals. Here's a year-by-year look at Nadal's clay court supremacy since 2005, compiling a 205-8 match record (.962) and 31-4 mark in clay court finals on the ATP World Tour:
            W-L    Clay Finals
2012 – 1-0            0-0
2011 – 28-2          3-2
2010 -  22-0         4-0
2009 -  23-2         3-1
2008 -  24-1         4-0
2007 -  31-1         5-1
2006 -  26-0         4-0
2005 -  50-2         8-0  

Note: Nadal has won 66 in a row vs. opponents ranked outside the Top 50 on clay since beginning of 2005

Court des Princes

(12) Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs (6) Tomas Berdych (CZE) Nishikori Leads 2-0
09 Brisbane (Australia) Hard R16 Kei Nishikori 7-6(7) 6-3
11 Basel (Switzerland) Hard R32 Kei Nishikori 3-6 6-3 6-2

Nishikori FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Australian Open (l Murray); Buenos Aires (l Wawrinka)
YTD W-L: 13-7 (5-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 29, 1989
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 17

Berdych FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Montpellier (d Monfils); SF: Rotterdam (l Del Potro); QF: Australian Open (l Nadal); Dubai (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 20-5 (3-0 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7

(7) Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs (9) Gilles Simon (FRA) Simon Leads 3-0
08 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R16 Gilles Simon 7-6(4) 7-6(4)
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R16 Gilles Simon 4-6   7-6(3) 6-2
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R32 Gilles Simon 6-7(3)  6-2   6-3

Tipsarevic FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
F: Chennai (l Raonic); SF: Marseille (l Llodra); QF: Dubai (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 17-7 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: June 22, 1984
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 8

Simon FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Brisbane (l Dolgopolov); Montpellier (l Monfils); QF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Isner)
YTD W-L: 15-9 (4-4 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 9
Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 15

Robin Haase (NED) vs Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)  First Meeting

Haase FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
QF: Zagreb (l Lacko)
YTD W-L: 8-7 (2-1 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: April 6, 1987
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 55

Bellucci FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Sao Paulo (l Volandri)
YTD W-L: 10-7 (6-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: December 30, 1987
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 45

(8) Nicolas Almagro (ESP) vs Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) Tied 3-3
06 New Haven (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-7(5)6-4
07 Auckland (New Zealand) Hard R32 Nicolas Almagro 1-6 6-4 6-1
10 ESP v. SUI WG 1st RD (Spain) Clay RR Stanislas Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 3-6 7-5 6-3
10 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R64 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-3
12 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Nicolas Almagro 7-6(2)6-2 6-4
12 Buenos Aires (Argentina) Clay SF Nicolas Almagro 6-4 3-6 7-5
Other meetings:
03 Spain F4 (Cartagena) Clay SF Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4 6-3
04 Geneva CH (Switzerland) Clay QF Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 2-6 6-4
Almagro FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Sao Paulo (d Volandri); F: Buenos Aires (l Ferrer); SF: Chennai (l Raonic); QF: Auckland (l Kohlschreiber); Acapulco (l Verdasco); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 25-7 (15-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 12

Wawrinka FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
SF: Buenos Aires (l Almagro); Acapulco (l Verdasco); QF: Chennai (l Soeda)
YTD W-L: 12-6 (8-3 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: March 28, 1985
South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 26

Facebook Fans

Search News

© Getty Images


Get Your ATP
Fan Credential

  • Insider News
  • Daily Results
  • Mobile Alerts
  • Ticket Offers

© Copyright 1994 - 2015 ATP Tour, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any way or by any means (including photocopying, recording or storing it in any medium by electronic means), without the written permission of ATP Tour, Inc.

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Enable Mobile