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Corona ATP Weekly Slice: Monaco and Isner Headline Clay Events

Corona ATP Slice

Tap into the essentials of the week ahead and re-live the highlights of the past week with Corona ATP Weekly Slice, as we serve up an executive summary of what every fan should know, along with a look at the best in social media.

LOOKING AHEAD

The two remaining clay-court tournaments before Roland Garros take place in Nice and Düsseldorf. These ATP World Tour 250 events will be the culmination of 11 tour stops contested over seven weeks leading into the second Grand Slam tournament of the season beginning 25 May.

Open De Nice Côte d'Azur (Nice)
The fifth edition of the Open De Nice Côte d'Azur, held at the prestigious Nice Lawn Tennis Club, features four of the Top 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Leading the way is No. 1 American John Isner, who is the top seed here for the second time in three years. Other seeds, in order, are No. 2 Ernests Gulbis, who reached a career-high No. 17 ranking last week, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Dmitry Tursunov, Nicolas Mahut, Federico Delbonis and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The lone former winner in the field is reigning champion Albert Montanes, who defeated Monfils last year. Of the seeds, Isner, Gulbis, Monfils and Delbonis have all won ATP World Tour titles this season.

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Gael Returns – Third seed Monfils returns to action after being sidelined the past three weeks with an ankle injury sustained in the Bucharest semi-finals. The Frenchman is 17-7 on the season with a title in Montpellier (d. Gasquet) and a runner-up finish in Doha (l. to Nadal). Monfils is making his fourth appearance in Nice (5-3 record).

Bernie is BackBernard Tomic is playing in his first main draw since Miami in March. The 21-year-old Australian, who opened the season by reaching the Sydney final (l. to del Potro), retired in the Australian Open first round (vs. Nadal) and underwent double hip surgery shortly thereafter. Tomic lost in the first round in Miami and the past two weeks played in qualifying events in Madrid (2R) and Rome (1R).

Düsseldorf Open (Düsseldorf)
The Düsseldorf Open, one of five tournaments in Germany on the ATP World Tour, takes place at the historic Rochusclub. This year's draw features German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who is the top seed for the third time in his career. Other seeds are Marcel Granollers, Andreas Seppi, Joao Sousa, Yen-Hsun Lu, Jarkko Nieminen, Ivo Karlovic and Igor Sijsling. In last year’s final, Argentine Juan Monaco defeated Nieminen 6-4, 6-3.

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Rising Stars Duel – Two of the biggest jumpers in the Top 100 Emirates ATP Rankings meet each other in the Düsseldorf first round. American Steve Johnson has improved 90 spots from the end of last year (from 157 to 67), which is the second-biggest jump in the Top 100, while Austrian Dominic Thiem has climbed 63 spots from No. 121 to a career-high No. 58. The 20-year-old Thiem, who is the youngest player in the Top 100, has qualified for ATP World Tour main draws seven times this season - a tour high. This is the first tournament where he is a direct entry into the main draw.

Dreddy on the Rise – Wild card Dustin Brown has also catapulted in the rankings, moving from No. 122 at the end of 2013 to a career-high No. 86 on 28 April. The 29-year-old German opened the season by reaching the quarter-finals in Doha. Last month in Houston, Brown posted his first career Top 10 win over John Isner en route to the quarter-finals. He opens his 2014 Düsseldorf campaign against No. 5 seed Yen-Hsun Lu.

Big League Debut – Wild card Nikola Milojevic, ranked No. 581, makes his ATP World Tour main draw debut against qualifier Mirza Basic of Bosnia and Herzogovina. The 18-year-old Serb reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros juniors last year. In March he won the Kazakhstan #3 Futures title.

Potential Milestones (Match wins as of 19 May 2014)

Düsseldorf – Singles
Denis Istomin - 147 wins
Marinko Matosevic - 49 wins
Andreas Seppi - 246 wins

Düsseldorf – Doubles
Dustin Brown - 49 wins
Julian Knowle - 349 wins
Yen-Hsun Lu - 46 wins

Nice - Singles
Carlos Berlocq - 98 wins

Nice – Doubles
Philipp Marx - 48 wins

Emirates ATP Rankings Movers
Grigor Dimitrov - 12 (+2 spots ) - career-high
Tommy Haas - 17 (+2 spots)
Santiago Giraldo - 34 (+2 spots) - career-high
Ivan Dodig - 35 (+5 spots)
Jeremy Chardy - 40 (+7 spots)
Dominic Thiem - 58 (+3 spots) - career-high
Jan-Lennard Struff - 65 (+9 spots) - career-high
Blaz Rola - 94 (+5 spots) - career-high

Birthdays
20 May - Damir Dzumhur (22)
21 May - Tobias Kamke (28)
22 May - Novak Djokovic (27)
22 May - Jurgen Melzer (33)
23 May - Teymuraz Gabashvili (29)
23 May - Daniel Evans (24)
24 May - Fabio Fognini (27)

Player To Watch: Juan Monaco Monaco

Düsseldorf defending champion Juan Monaco comes into the tournament unseeded. In 2013, the Argentine entered as a wild card and the third seed, not dropping a set en route to his eighth career ATP World Tour title. This season, Monaco has struggled, posting a 5-10 FedEx ATP Win/Loss record that includes reaching the Sao Paulo quarter-finals - his best result.

How To Watch
Watch Düsseldorf coverage 18-24 May and Nice coverage 22-24 May. (Territorial restrictions apply.)
Watch Live Powered by Tennis TV | TV Schedule

WEEK IN REVIEW

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Video of the Week
A flick of a wrist transforms into a Rafael Nadal Hot Shot against Mikhail Youzhny in Rome.

Other Videos
Del Potro Shares Wrist Exercise Video
Grigor Gets 'Caked' After Birthday Win
Murray Turns Hairdresser For Dimitrov
Tsonga Almost Loses His Head Against Dolgopolov
Djokovic Stopped By Pasta Police

In Case You Missed It...

Rome - Singles: Second seed Novak Djokovic beat No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal, a seven-time champion at the Foro Italico, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final. This was the Serb's third Rome championship and his 19th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.
Djokovic: "Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster."

Rome - Doubles: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic picked up their 27th tour-level team title when they captured the title for a second time (also 2009). The sixth seeds defeated Robin Haase and Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6(2) for their second Masters 1000 title in as many weeks.
Zimonjic: "We had a tough draw this week, with really good opponents, but found a way to win."

Tidbits
BerdychTomas Berdych met 'John McEnroe' and 'Bjorn Borg' during a round of sponsor visits at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. See how he and other players - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andreas Seppi, and Juan Monaco - spent their time away from the Foro Italico. More...
Novak Djokovic showed his support for his native Serbia as the nation continues to reel from a week of torrential rainfall and catastrophic flooding. Learn how to help...
• Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who upset Federer in Rome, talked to ATPWorldTour.com about the last time he shared a hotel room with a player, among other memories. Read Q&A...
• Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov shared how bringing on his father, Oleksandr, as interim coach has revived his game. More...
• Veteran tennis writer Robert Davis reported from the Challenger event in Heilbronn, Germany. More...
• The USTA announced its plans to create the new home for American tennis, a 100-court state-of-the-art facility at Lake Nona area in Orlando, Fla., that will enhance the sport at every level. More...

Photo Gallery: Rome


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