Monfils vs. Djokovic
|Date & Time||Wednesday January 17, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils meet in the second round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a straight sets win over Donald Young that took 25 games to decide. In the victory, Djokovic won 79 percent of his first serve points and 71 percent of his second serve points. Djokovic came into the tournament with question marks, but he looked like Djokovic of old, dominating with his service game and giving himself 25 break chances. Obviously Young isn’t the best competition given his struggles, but if you had Djokovic winning this tournament, you have to be pleased with what you saw in the opener. Djokovic will be a player to keep an eye on as the competition increases. Djokovic has lost before the third round of a grand slam just once since 2009. Djokovic has won 10 of his last 13 matches on hard court.
Gael Monfils is coming off a straight sets win over Jaume Munar that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Monfils won 76 percent of his first serve points and 48 percent of his second serve points. Monfils hit 38 winners in his victory and converted on six of his eight break chances. Monfils continues what has been a really solid start to the 2018 season, as he’s fresh off winning the Qatar Open and has now won 10 of his last 12 matches overall. Assuming Monfils stays in this form and doesn’t return to his old antics, he’s a threat against anybody due to his power game and ability to spray winners from anywhere on the court. Monfils hopes to make the third round of a grand slam for the sixth straight appearance. Monfils has won eight of his last nine matches on hard court.
These two have played 15 times and Djokovic has won 14 of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 Nottingham Open, a match Novak won in straight sets. Monfils’ only win over Djokovic came in challenger play in 2004, their first meeting. Monfils has lost 10 of the last 11 sets against Djokovic.
This is going to be an interesting match, as Djokovic still doesn’t have a lot of play under his belt, and Monfils has been a different Monfils over the last couple of years. If Monfils stays focused and doesn’t give away cheap points, he’s going to make this match competitive. I’d consider taking the spread whatever it is. As for simply picking an outright winner, you have to side with Djokovic because of the head to head history. Glaring head to head numbers rarely change in this sport.
Monfils should win a set in this match, but Djokovic will advance.