By Ros Satar, at the World Tour Finals, London

  • 12pm: Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares [2] v Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan [3]
  • 2pm: Gael Monfils [6] v Dominic Thiem [8]
  • 6pm: Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo [6] v Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi [8]
  • 8pm: Novak Djokovic [2] v Milos Raonic [4]
LONDON, ENGLAND – Tuesday’s schedule sees the second Round Robins start with defending champion Novak Djokovic headlining the night session.

 

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Gael Monfils [6] v Dominic Thiem [8] – H2H: Thiem leads 2-0

We ought to clarify that the head to head includes this year’s walkover at the Cincinnati Masters, but already young Dominic Thiem has got the measure of Gael Monfils.

Coming back from a set down in their first match, Thiem excelled on his favourite surface of clay to fight back, but on a quicker hard court indoors, with one player already beginning to suffer a little and the other at the end of the long and packed season – are the odds stacked a little more fairly?

Monfils was slow to get going in his Sunday match against Milos Raonic. By the time he got the measure of the court, and into his stride, the Canadian had established his control, and Monfils in general was happy to have at least got the deficit to just a single break in each set.

Thiem’s aggressive baseline play and deftness of his single handed backhand showed his class in taking a set off the defending champion Novak Djokovic in the opening singles match on Sunday. But what he lacks is experience on a bigger stage.

Monfils certainly has that edge to him, but he can ill-afford to have a slow start again this time around if he wants to give himself a chance of qualifying for the semi=finals.

If he can get over the soreness from perhaps returning to the court not as prepared as he would like, the edge should go to the mercurial Frenchman. His crowd-pleasing high-risk shot-making should come to the fore, and give him a chance t redress the balance in their head to head.

Prediction: Monfils in three sets.

 

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Novak Djokovic [2] v Milos Raonic [4] – H2H: Djokovic leads 7-0

A win is a win, no matter how tetchy the path was – that is most likely Djokovic’s view as he takes on Raonic in the battle of the first round winners. Again, at the end of a long season, neither are in peak fitness.

Djokovic has a lingering elbow issue, and is allegedly back on form but struggled at times with the resistance offered by Thiem before righting the ship after dropping the first set.

Meanwhile for Raonic, this will be a step up (no disrespect to Monfils), and the Canadian has only taken a single set off Djokovic in seven previous meetings. What Djokovic will need to do is be at his returning best. Raonic was efficient with his serve, protecting his injury and making life hard for the Frenchman.

Add to that Djokovic’s capability of movement – he has a chance to really test Raonic’s movement, possibly quite brutally if the Serbian is on song.

Raonic is desperate to do better than his first outing here two years ago, when he actually withdrew injured, but Djokovic seems to be feeling the pressure to push the year-end No. 1 battle on the line. There is a chance or the Canadian to exploit those nerves, but on a normal day, Djokovic would be way too consistent.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.

 

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