Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Monte Carlo Masters Betting: Cilic with the best chance of rivalling Nadal

Rafael Nadal GETTYRafael Nadal is a force on clay courts
Kristopher Love | 17 April, 2018, 00:52

But practising in Monte Carlo yesterday, Djokovic looked a man on a mission, determined to put behind him a rocky few months and make again permanent the occasional flashes of brilliance he has shown on-court so far this year.

"I love this event and the weather has been good".

The 36-year-old swiss' decision to stay out of the clay season last year obviously paid off as he went on to Wimbledon and bagged the trophy and an extra title.

"He knows me better than any tennis coach I've worked with. I mean, I (have) played probably six, seven matches since Wimbledon a year ago", said Djokovic, who next faces Borna Coric of Croatia. "Every match I win is very important".

"I did all the things the right way, practicing one week before, to be ready for the tournament and then it happened", Nadal told reporters.

Two-time former champion Djokovic didn't let national sentiment, or even friendship, get in the way of a 6-0, 6-1 victory over fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Rafa is indeed the favourite to be celebrating on Sunday, with the Exchange market pricing him at a current [1.64] for glory, and he's one of eight players receiving first-round byes and likely to begin their campaign either on Tuesday, or more probably, Wednesday. Nadal is one of the slowest top-ranked players, and was docked a first serve for taking too much time during a match en route to his 10th French Open triumph previous year.

When it was over, Djokovic enjoyed a light and fleeting hit with his young son, Stefan, and with that the exo came to a close and the real work for the elite players resumed. The 30-year-old will now prepare to face Croatia's Borna Coric, who broke a three-match losing streak at the Monte-Carlo Country Club in beating 36-year-old Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3 in 65 minutes.Coric reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open (l.to Federer) last month. The more free points, the better chance Bedene has of pulling off a rather big upset. "It's obvious that sometimes when you play a rally with 56 shots as I did with Novak (Djokovic) a couple of years ago in the final (US Open 2013), you can not expect a good point if you have 25 seconds on the next point", said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

"I played only with the shot clock in IPTL and it was only 20 seconds".

He won on his first match point, whipped off his hat, tilted his head back, and raised his hands in triumph.