Monfils vs. Nadal
|Date & Time||Sunday January 22, 2017, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Monfils +250 / Nadal -300 -- Over/Under:
Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils meet in the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a five set win over Alexander Zverev that took 49 games to decide. In the victory, Nadal won 73 percent of his first serve points and 62 percent of his second serve points. Nadal has been classic Nadal during this tournament, as the will and determination is still there to get the job done. Nadal is serving extremely well, getting no less than 70 percent of his first serves in play. If this is the Nadal we’re going to see all season, the sport of tennis is in great shape for 2017. Nadal hopes to make a grand slam quarterfinal for the third time since the 2015 season. Nadal has won five of his last six matches on hard court.
Gael Monfils is coming off a straight sets win over Philipp Kohlschreiber that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Monfils won 76 percent of his first serve points and 38 percent of his second serve points. Monfils has dropped just one set this tournament and should have a major rest advantage over Nadal who just played a five set contest. Monfils looks like he carried last year's consistency over to this season and is focused on finishing matches quickly rather than getting cheers from the fans. When Monfils is this dialed in and is motivated to win matches, he’s one of the more dangerous players in the field. Monfils hopes to make his third grand slam quarterfinal since last season. Monfils has won seven of his last nine matches on hard court.
These two have played 14 times in the past and Nadal has won 12 of those meetings. The most recent match took place in the 2016 Monte Carlo Masters, a match Nadal won in three sets. Monfils’ last win over Nadal came in the 2012 Doha Open. Nadal has won the last four meetings against Monfils.
Monfils is more focused and more dangerous than he’s ever been, as he no longer plays simply to entertain the crowd and is more concerned with winning matches. The problem is Monfils still has minor drops in his game from time to time and that’s just enough to give Nadal the victory. Nadal is a machine who wants to win so badly he just finds ways to win. You have to beat Nadal to beat Nadal. I’m not sure Monfils is capable of doing that on the big stage.
I’ll take Nadal in a competitive match.