Rain decimated the Barcelona schedule so we have just one quarter-final match to preview for Friday. The remainder of the third round matches will kick off the schedule with the yet-to-be-decided quarter-finalists having to play two matches in one day.
1. Nicolas Almagro v Juan Monaco
Straight set wins for Nicolas Almagro and Juan Monaco saw the pair set up an intriguing quarter-final for Friday’s schedule in Barcelona. Monaco’s form has suddenly reversed in 2013 following a winless start to the season on the ATP tour, which stretched all the way into April; however the arrival of the clay court season has kicked Monaco into gear who has dished out four bagels in his last five matches (the only player to avoid Monaco’s wrath was Novak Djokovic). Monaco strolled in the opening set of his third rounder with Jeremy Chardy before prevailing in an epic second set breaker, 6-0 7-6(11).
Almagro is up next for the Argentine, who got the better off Marcel Granollers, 6-3 6-4. Almagro has been one of the most solid players on the clay in the past couple of years although his results on this surface in 2013 have been unspectacular so far. The majority of their seven matches have come on the clay and it is Monaco who had the upper hand in their last two with three set wins in Hamburg (2012) and Valencia (2011). The seeding points to Almagro but the recent form would side with Monaco. I went for Monaco to make the final at the start of the week and I am not changing my mind!
Prediction – Monaco to beat Almagro in 3 sets
Best of the rest
Rafael Nadal to beat Albert Ramos in 2 sets