Juan Monaco and Lucas Pouille meet in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rome Masters.
Juan Monaco is coming off a monster three set upset over Stan Wawrinka that took 32 games to decide. Monaco has now beaten two straight top-20 players and hopes he can continue his improbable climb. Monaco has really struggled the past couple of seasons but is coming off a title in Houston and was a top-10 player back in 2012. Monaco is clearly riding a wave of momentum and would love to get back in the semifinals of a big tournament. It’s been awhile since Monaco has had success in a big tournament. Monaco has made the semifinals of the ATP Masters Series twice, which came in the 2012 Miami Masters and 2010 Shanghai Masters.
Lucas Pouille is coming off a straight sets win over David Ferrer that took 17 games to decide. Pouille has probably been the biggest surprise this tournament, and his convincing victory over a top-10 player should really turn some heads. Pouille is still trying to find some consistency at just 22 years old, but he is coming off a finals appearance in Bucharest and has won six of his last eight matches when you include qualifying. Pouille seems like he’s putting things together after beating Ferrer twice since Miami and upsetting Richard Gasquet in the Monte Carlo Masters. This is by far the furthest Pouille has ever made it in a big tournament.
These two have split their previous two meetings in the past with Pouille winning the most recent match in the 2015 German Open. Monaco won the other meeting in the 2014 French Open. This will be the third time these two meet on clay court.
When two guys are coming off big upsets, I usually tend to side with the guy who has more experience in these tournaments. Beating a highly ranked player can create a major letdown spot. While not a ton of appearances, Monaco has played in the quarters before and should be able to control his emotions a little more.
So, in an unlikely quarterfinal appearance, I like Monaco to advance.