An intriguing first round match-up takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters event, as France’s Nicolas Mahut and budding talent Dominic Thiem clash for just the first time on the professional tour, although they met last year in a qualifying round. Thiem was actually Mahut’s only clay court victory throughout the entire 2013 season, and it will be interesting to see if the youngster can avenge that loss this season.
World No, 39 Nocolas Mahut has been winless since the second round of the Marseille Open, where he defeated Ricardas Berankis. Since then he has lost three consecutive matches, and is winless since February, which brings his 2014 record to 5-8 overall. While that may be the case, he has managed lift his ranking from No. 50 to No. 39 over the past three months, and will be looking to continue his upward trend this week. Considering his suspect performances on clay in the past, it will be interesting to see how Mahut performs over the next few days.
Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem is currently experiencing a career-best season, as the youngster managed to qualify for ATP World Tour events in Doha, Melbourne and Rotterdam, which consequently sent him into the Top 100 for the first time in his career. He would also take British No. 1 and defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to three sets in Rotterdam before losing in a valiant effort. He would add to his outstanding season in March, as he managed to qualify for the Indian Wells Masters event, where he reached the third round before losing to France’s Benneteau. He is currently sitting at a career-high of No. 81.
This marks the first time these two competitors meet on the main draw of an ATP World Tour event, although they have previously clashed in a qualifying round in Bucharest, which Mahut won in straight sets. While he is capable of replicating his efforts, Thiem has greatly improved as a player over the past year and will be looking to prove that this week in Monte Carlo. This has all the makings for an upset.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem in Three Sets