Nadal Drawn In Djokovic’s Half

Rafael Nadal has a tough task if he is to lift an incredible 10th trophy at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, following the 2017 draw ceremony at the Jardin Exotique on Friday. The Spanish star, who is vying to capture a record 50th clay-court career crown, has been drawn in the same half as two-time former titlist Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal, who will meet Daniel Evans or Kyle Edmund in the second round, could face No. 14 seed Alexander Zverev in the third round, prior to a quarter-final against No. 8 seed Dimitrov. Nadal overcame Zverev in five sets in the Australian Open third round in January, while he has an 8-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Dimitrov, including a pulsating five-set win in the Melbourne semi-finals.

Nadal has won 28 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, second only to Djokovic, who has a record 30 pieces of Masters 1000 silverware. Nadal, who beat Gael Monfils in the 2016 final, won a record 46 straight matches at the prestigious tournament from 2005 to 2013 and is 58-4 overall.

View Monte-Carlo Singles Draw

World No. 1 Andy Murray, who has recovered from an elbow injury to complete in the Principality, will be hoping to replicate his successful clay form last year. The Scot has reached the Monte-Carlo semi-finals in 2009, 2011 and 2016. He will face good friend Gilles Muller or wild card Tommy Robredo in the second round, with a possible quarter-final against fifth seed Marin Cilic or ninth seed and 2015 runner-up Tomas Berdych.

World No. 2 Djokovic, who has a 28-8 record at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event – including titles in 2013 (d. Nadal) and 2015 (d. Berdych), will play Gilles Simon or Malek Jaziri in his first match. Thiem, who has won six of his eight ATP World Tour titles on red dirt, or No. 10 seed David Goffin loom in the last eight.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, who is in the same half of the draw as Murray, will challenge Mischa Zverev or Jiri Vesely in the second round. Seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a semi-finalist in 2013 and 2016, or No. 11 seed Lucas Pouille may pose a threat to the Swiss in the quarter-finals.

There are a number of #NextGen ATP players competing at the third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season. Alexander Zverev, who is currently at No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, faces wild card Andreas Seppi, Russian Karen Khachanov plays Nicolas Mahut, Daniil Medvedev challenges Feliciano Lopez and Borna Coric meets fellow wild card Jeremy Chardy.

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