Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Monaco
Low on confidence, some seeded players are finding out that they are vulnerable to competent clay court players no matter their rankings.
Marin Cilic has been struggling with a right knee injury and his struggles continued today against a very good clay court player, Guido Pella. Pella had the seventh seed on the ropes and should have won it in straight sets; however, the Argentine had a wobble and had to win it in three sets. The final set was a complete domination of the Croatian. Pella won 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Lorenzo Sonego had to get through the qualifying rounds to get to the main draw. He proved that he benefited from playing those matches today when he knocked out the eighth seed, Karen Khachanov. Khachanov has been struggling to find his form of late, not quite sure what’s going on with him; however, he had better get his game back on track with the French Open rapidly approaching. Sonego won 7-6(4), 6-4.
The lone American in the draw, Taylor Fritz, got the first-round victory against the ailing Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga was in the match early; however, late in the first set he started massaging his back. The trainer came out after he lost the first set; however, Tsonga just could not move and after losing his serve, he calmly walked to the other side of the court and hugged Fritz. The American got the 6-4, 2-0 (RET’D) victory.
Fernando Verdasco, a talented player that has never quite played up to his potential. When Verdasco is on, he can beat just about anyone; however, these days he seems to be more off than on. He has been struggling with some injuries; yet, it appears more mental than physical. Today he played, the forty-ninth ranked Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and lost (4-6, 4-6).
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (main image: Sarah Stier/Getty Images North America: Guido Pella)