I attended the Monte Carlo Open, ATP 1000 for the first time yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time, and fitted perfectly into my tournament schedule between Turkey and another tournament in Alassio, just over the border in Italy.
I walked about 20 minutes, downhill, to the venue, and then met up with a friend from California, Carolyn Wei and her sister Kathy. They were at the practice courts…I asked three people for directions before I finally found Practice Court 10…where Taylor Fritz from California was practicing. We saw Fritz, Tsitispas, Zverev, Medvedev, Musetti, Rajeev Ram, Thiem and more practicing, and watched a some qualifying matches…Paire and Popyrin, Ivan Gkhov and 18 year old Luca Van Assche and Humbert (lefty)/Lajovic. Humbert won but Lajovic got in as a lucky loser…to play Popyrin.
After each set the ground crew quickly sweeps and lines the courts, which look pretty dry and quick (especially compared to Turkey).
The Paire/Popyrin match was classic Paire…he led 62 51, then lost the set 76 (he served at 5-4, 30-30, had a routine backhand he put into the net…and that was a huge turning point). Van Assche was super consistent and easily won the set we watched, but lost the 3rd…he’s quite small though. Maybe 5’8…but for 18 (he turns 19 next month), amazing.
Tsitispas, Paire, Popyrin below.
Carolyn and Kathy left, and I stayed to watch some more matches and wander the grounds. I watched Coric play Jarry from Chile for a while..Coric was having a big problem getting his backhand in the court..it went long on the 2nd or 3rd shot in point after point…he lost the set I watched 62 and the second 63.
I went to watch Sinner/Schwartzman play doubles against #8 seeded Granollers/Zeballos from Spain/Argentina. Monte Carlo is close to Italy and there was a vocal contingent of fans rooting the Italian Sinner on. The second set was underway when I arrived, Sinner/Schwartzman having won the first but down a break in the second, which they lost. Sinner took a pretty hard fall but though covered with clay after seemed to be fine. The match tiebreak was exciting..the seeds were up a break most of the MTB, then lost it when Schwartzman hit a brilliant return down the line…the underdogs had a match point and Sinner missed a return by an inch or less…but another brilliant return by Schwartzman gave them a match point on their own serve and they won the MTB 11-9.
The next match I watched was less exciting…Ben Shelton and Cam Norrie were outplayed decisively by unseeded Krawietz/Puetz. Krawietz though is a 2-time French Open doubles winner (with Mies)…
There were some good matches going on when I left, but it had been a long day. I return today then am off tomorrow to Italy.