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Monaco Records 200th Match Win On Clay

Houston, U.S.A.

Monaco© Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCCJuan Monaco is the fifth active player to reach 200 match wins on clay.

Argentine Juan Monaco joined elite company on Wednesday, as he became the fifth active player to reach 200 match wins on clay.

The sixth-seeded Argentine, playing his first match since celebrating his 30th birthday at the end of March, defeated Somdev Devvarman 7-6(4), 6-2 in the first round of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.

“I have great memories here,” said Monaco, who beat John Isner in the 2012 final. “I won this tournament, so every time I come here I feel something special. It’s very nice to get this great record here.”

“It’s not easy,” he added. “If you can see the guys who [achieve] this stat, it’s amazing. I was born playing on clay, so this is something really special for me. I didn’t expect that when I started my career, to win 200 matches on clay.”


Clay Wins

Monaco won his first clay-court match a decade ago, when he made his ATP World Tour debut on home soil with a victory over former World No. 6 Nicolas Lapentti. “Playing with my crowd, with my family, friends in Buenos Aires, it was very nice,” he remembered.

But the highlight of his 200 match wins on clay came two years ago in Hamburg, when he beat Tommy Haas for his biggest career title.

“It was a final, and playing there in Germany against a German opponent,” said Monaco. “I knew before the match that if I [won], I would break the Top 10 and win a big tournament, a 500 tournament, so I was really nervous before the match. It was the best memory I had in my career, for sure.”

Monaco’s career was temporarily put on hold at the end of 2013, when he missed the last three months of the season with a wrist injury. He has compiled a 4-7 record since his return, with his best result a quarter-final run on clay in Sao Paulo. 

“It takes time to get rhythm, to get good feelings on court again. But match by match, little by little, I start to feel something good. And playing on clay is easier for me than playing on hard court.”

He will look to win back-to-back matches for the first time this year when he plays Donald Young for a place in the Houston quarter-finals.

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