The draw for the 2014 Rolex Monte Carlo Masters is out and Federer has landed in the same half as Djokovic so they're set to meet in the Semi Finals. Still a bit of a surprise Roger has decided to play here but I'm looking forward to seeing how he fairs on the dirt. His last outing on the surface was way back in Gstaad last summer so it's been a good 8 months since he last set foot on it.
Draw wise this one looks all set for a rematch of last years final on paper and if Roger doesn't make the final that's the match I want to see. When Djoker beat Nadal in last years Championship match I thought he was going to win the French Open. Obviously he didn't, losing a 5 set semi final to the Spanird, so it will be interesting to see how they match up this year. Djokovic has won the last 3 matches on hard courts but clay will give us a different look at where the rivalry is heading.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Stepanek / Karlovic
- Round 3: Janowicz
- Quarter Final: Fognini / Tsonga
- Semi Final: Djokovic
- Final: Nadal
Projected Quarter Finals
- Djokovic vs. Berdych
- Federer vs. Gasquet
- Nadal vs. Ferrer
- Wawrinka vs. Raonic
Predictions for Federer
Looks like a good draw to me with a either Stepanek or Karlovic first up both of whom he's scored wins against recently and then potentially Jerzy Janowicz in the third round who he beat in Rome last year. I can't see the Pole being too much of an issue here as clay isn't his ideal surface and he's mentally out of if this year. He blew a 2 set to love lead in the Davis Cup last weekend against Cilic and although I haven't seen him play he's clearly out of form. In fact he might not even make the third round as he faces a qualifier in the first round then either Rosol or another qualifier in the second. If the Qualifier happens to be a solid clay court (Michael Berrer, Albert Montanes type player) he could easily crash out.
The Quarter Final is a very interesting one with Fognini a potential opponent. With Fognini you get possibly the third best player on clay in the world right now in terms of form / matches won but also a very unpredictable one. Ferrer may argue differently with that I suppose 🙂 but that's my take.
Fognini is a bit of an unknown as he's unpredictable but I feel Roger just has too much in his arsenal to really get outgunned or outplayed by the Italian. Fognini has great movement on clay and can hit shots from anywhere on the court but there are few better players at maneuvering their opponent around the court than Fed. He can't be taken lightly after dismantling Murray in the Davis Cup but I back Fed to come through that one.
Tsonga is the other projected QF opponent after Gasquet withdrew with injury but I'm not sure he will factor as he's had a poor season so far. Maybe the Davis Cup victory can give him some confidence but I doubt it.
The projected semi final would be another match against Djokovic who is the defending champion and he's obviously the favourite. He lives in Monte Carlo, has his entire team with him and it is pretty much his own backyard. The surface and conditions also work in his favour so that's going to be a tough one should they meet.
With Nadal in the other half it looks like he'll be the one waiting in the final, he's won this event a million times so unless he's out of form I can't really see how he fails to make the final.
Picking dark horses on slow surfaces like clay is always tricky as usually the better players in terms of rankings come out on top but I'll have a punt on either Delbonis, Garcia-Lopez or Youzhny having a decent tournament.
I expect Cilic to do well here too and he could face Wawrinka in the second round if he gets past Verdasco in his opener. That's a tough early encounter for Stan as he's looked poor post Australian Open but he does usually play well in Monte Carlo. I would say if he falls early here it's a definite sign he's on a Maiden Slam downer.
What are your predictions for Fed? Can he claim his maiden Monte Carlo crown?