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Ricky’s Tennis picks for Thursday in Monte-Carlo, including Fritz vs. Korda

Taylor Fritz faces doubles partner Sebastian Korda for a place in the Monte-Carlo quarterfinals. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO
By Ricky Dimon

Sebastian Korda and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will be trying to build on big wins when they get back on the court at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday. They are going up against Taylor Fritz and David Goffin, respectively.Here is my preview and picks for two of Thursday’s best matchups at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

(10) Taylor Fritz vs. Sebastian Korda

It will be an all-American affair between two rising stars when Fritz and Korda battle for a spot in the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday. It has already been an outstanding week for Korda, who beat Botic Van de Zandschulp 7-5, 6-4 in round one and then stunned Miami champion Carlos Alcaraz 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-3. Success on clay is nothing new for the 21-year-old, whose only ATP title has come in Parma (2021) and he also reached the fourth round of the 2020 French Open.

Fritz had a more favorable draw in the first two rounds and just barely capitalized on it, scraping past both wild card Lucas Catarina and Marin Cilic in three sets. The world No. 13 is 19-6 this season with a title in Indian Wells and a fourth-round performance at the Australian Open. Clay may not be Fritz’s best surface, but he has advanced at least one round in each of the past three French Opens. Although the red stuff favors Korda, it probably won’t tip the scales so much that the underdog pulls off yet another upset of one of the hottest players on tour.

Pick: Fritz in 3
David Goffin of Belgium at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. EPA-EFE/SEBASTIEN NOGIER
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs. (WC) David Goffin

Davidovich Fokina picked up the best win of his career on Tuesday, shocking world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1. A lot of that obviously had to do with Djokovic’s rust, but Davidovich Fokina is a talented player and clay always gives him the best chance of delivering on that talent. Among the 46th-ranked Spaniard’s 2021 clay-court results were a quarterfinal in Monte-Carlo, the semis in Estoril, the third round in Rome as a qualifier, and the quarters at Roland Garros.

Up next for Davidovich Fokina on Thursday is a second meeting with Goffin, who won their only previous encounter 6-0, 6-2 on the grass courts of ‘s-Hertogenbosch three years ago. Goffin is no longer in peak shape due to various physical problems in recent seasons, but he appears to be in resurgent form during this clay-court swing. The 47th-ranked Belgian got it started with a title last week in Marrakech and so far in Monte-Carlo he has taken out Benjamin Bonzi and Dan Evans in straight sets. With Goffin’s confidence restored, it will be tough for Davidovich Fokina to follow up such a monumental victory on Tuesday with another great effort.

Pick: Goffin in 3

Ricky contributes to
10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.