Day 2 Preview: Can Tsonga Roll Back The Years?
An action-packed Monday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will see Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga take to court in what could be his final match at the clay-court event, Stan Wawrinka make his long-awaited return to Tour and #NextGenATP Jannik Sinner begins his campaign.
J. Tsonga (FRA) vs M. Cilic (CRO)
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has lit up the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters throughout his career, producing dynamic performances to reach the semi-finals in 2013 and 2016. The former World No. 5 will be competing at the Masters 1000 tournament for the final time this week, though, after he announced he would retire after Roland Garros last week.
The wild card, who defeated Roger Federer en route to the last four in 2016, holds a long-standing rivalry against Marin Cilic, with the Croatian leading their ATP Head2Head series 6-2. However, they have not played since 2018, when Cilic triumphed in the Davis Cup.
Tsonga will be aiming to snap a three-match losing streak when he takes to court against Cilic and is looking forward to returning to a tournament he holds special memories at.
“I remember matches and good victories, especially the one against Roger [Federer],” Tsonga said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I have had extraordinary moments here, and everybody knows that. The view is beautiful, the weather is nice. It’s a very special moment, and it’s the beginning of the clay-court season, so it’s very good to spend time here.”
S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs A. Bublik (KAZ)
Former World No. 3 Wawrinka will compete at a tour-level event for the first time in 13 months when he faces Alexander Bublik in the first round on Court Rainier III.
The 37-year-old, who had two left-foot surgeries in 2021, has tasted success on the clay in Monte Carlo before, triumphing at the event in 2014 when he beat Federer in the final.
When discussing the past year in his pre-tournament press conference, Wawrinka said: “It was very long and difficult, more than a year. I thought I would be only a few weeks out. It lasted a whole year with many moments of doubt. It was extremely long and tough.
“I really needed to have the willpower to come back, to have the strength to go through rehab and everything, and I’m very happy to be here now.”
Wawrinka will be making his 12th appearance at the tournament, having accepted a wild card. It will be the first meeting between the 16-time tour-level titlist and Bublik, who lifted his first ATP Tour title in Montpellier in February.
B. Coric (CRO) vs  J. Sinner (ITA)
Since making his Monte-Carlo debut last season, #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner has lifted three-tour level titles, earned standout wins and climbed to a career-high No. 9 in the ATP Rankings.
The 20-year-old arrives at the third ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season off the back of a run to the quarter-finals in Miami, where he defeated Emil Ruusuvuori, Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios.
Meanwhile, Coric will be competing at just his third event of the season, after he returned from injury in Indian Wells in March. The Croatian is making his sixth appearance at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, with his best result coming in 2019 when he advanced to the last eight. Monday’s first-round clash will be the pair’s first meeting.
Best Of The Rest
Italian Fabio Fognini earned the biggest win of his career in Monte Carlo when he defeated Dusan Lajovic in the 2019 final to clinch his first Masters 1000 title.
The 34-year-old will play Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in the first match on Court Rainier III in what will be the first meeting between the pair. Fognini has flourished on clay throughout his career, with the best result of his season so far coming on the surface in Rio de Janeiro in February when he advanced to the semi-finals.
Seeded duo Diego Schwartzman and Pablo Carreno Busta will start their campaigns on Court des Princes against Karen Khachanov and Argentine qualifier Sebastian Baez, respectively.Schwartzman has lifted three tour-level trophies on clay and advanced to the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo in 2017. Meanwhile, Carreno Busta will be attempting to reach the last eight at the event for the first time this week, having fallen in the third round three times.
Other singles matches will see 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz play Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien, while American Sebastian Korda takes on Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.
In the doubles, sixth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah face Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen and seventh seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski take on Rohan Bopanna and Jamie Murray.
SCHEDULE – MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2022
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
F. Fognini (ITA) vs. A. Rinderknech (FRA)
[WC] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs A. Bublik (KAZ)
[PR] B. Coric (CRO) vs  J. Sinner (ITA)
[WC] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs M. Cilic (CRO)
PRINCES COURT start 11:00 am
S. Korda (USA) vs. B. van de Zandschulp (NED)
Not Before 12:30 p.m.
K. Khachanov vs  D. Schwartzman (ARG)
 P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [Q] S. Baez (ARG)
 H. Hurkacz (POL) vs [Q] H. Dellien (BOL)
SHORT 2 start 11:00 am
A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs. T. Griekspoor (NED)
A. de Minaur (AUS) vs [Q] B. Zapata Miralles (ESP)
[WC] P. Tsitsipas (GRE) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs A. Golubev (KAZ) / L. Sonego (ITA)
SHORT 9 start 11:00 am
 J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs S. Gille (BEL) / J. Vliegen (BEL)
[Q] J. Munar (ESP) vs. F. Delbonis (ARG)
[PR] A. Krajicek (USA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs A. Karatsev / J. Peers (AUS)
SHORTS 11 start 12:00 noon
R. Bopanna (IND) / J. Murray (GBR) vs  W. Koolhof (NED) / N. Skupski (GBR)
After Suitable Rest – T. Fritz (USA) / S. Korda (USA) vs. K. Krawietz (GER) / A. Mies (GER)