Stefanos Tsitsipas will kick off Thursday’s third-round action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a challenging matchup against Cristian Garin.
Garin just won his fifth ATP Tour title last month, in front of a home crowd at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. All five of the World No. 24’s trophies have come on clay. Tsitsipas also holds five ATP titles: one on clay and four on indoor hard courts.
Garin opened his Monte-Carlo campaign by ousting Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, and he eased past John Millman on Wednesday. Tsitsipas had a day off after taking out Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Greek will have his work cut out for him but he has been embracing the surface switch after a quarter-final run on the hard courts of the Miami Open presented by Itau.
“I’ve practised a lot of days on clay,” the World No. 5 said. “I’ve been feeling well. My body is in good shape. Currently I feel like I’m working a lot on my physicality when I play friendly matches on clay. I think that’s going to be the most important aspect in my game during the clay-court season.”
The fourth seed beat Garin in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting last year on clay in Hamburg in three sets.
Following Tsitsipas and Garin on the main court will be Novak Djokovic taking on Daniel Evans. It’s set to be the World No 1’s first time facing off against the 30-year-old Brit, after beating another first-time opponent, Jannik Sinner, in his opening match on Wednesday.
“I think ‘solid’ is a good word to describe the performance,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I know I can always do better. I’m working towards playing even on a higher level than I did today.”
Third seed Rafael Nadal sits on the opposite half of the draw to his Serbian rival and he will see a familiar opponent across the net in Grigor Dimitrov. The Spaniard holds a 13-1 ATP Head2Head lead against Dimitrov with three of those wins coming in Monte-Carlo. Dimitrov hasn’t won a set off of Nadal since 2017.
“He’s a good friend, a good guy, and a great player,” Nadal said. “Going to be a tough test in my second round. Going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament.”
Sixth seed Andrey Rublev will have his hands full against ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. Bautista Agut leads their ATP Head2Head career record, 3-2 and topped the Russian in Doha in straight sets earlier this year.
Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev and David Goffin will put on a show inside Court Des Princes, as will Fabio Fognini when he steps onto the same court against Filip Krajinovic.
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ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2021
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
 S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs  C. Garin (CHI)
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs D. Evans (GBR)
 G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
 A. Rublev (RUS) vs  R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[WC] L. Pouille (FRA) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 D. Goffin (BEL) vs  A. Zverev (GER)
 F. Fognini (ITA) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
C. Ruud (NOR) vs  P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
 J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / H. Hurkacz (POL)
[Alt] A. Behar (URU) / G. Escobar (ECU) vs  N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)
After Suitable Rest –  I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)