Some photo’s from yesterdays match against Almagro.
Today it’s doubles time! #alleznicoetmika
The fans in Monte Carlo don’t have to miss Nico’s presence yet in Monte Carlo. He put up a great fight against Nicolas Almagro, making it to a tiebreak in the first set and creating some breakchances during the match. Unfortunately the spanish Nico took the tiebreak with 7-3. It’s a bit cruel in the end, Nico had in two sets together 4 chances on the Almagro serve, but couldn’t use one of those chances. Almagro got 2 breakchances and used one of them in the second set to make the only break of the match.
Only the first set lasted one hour, and the whole match was 1 hour and 36 minutes. Nico can be proud, we think, he put up a great fight against a player who feels good on clay courts. It’s just a shame that we can’t see if it really worked like Nico was talking about before, because there was no camera coverage. (In this article, you can read how Nico thinks about clay courts and what it takes him to play on them. Says he likes them more and more, and thinks he can play well on them http://www.lequipe.fr/Tennis/Actualites/Mahut-veut-dompter-l-ocre/457519 ) Feel free to correct if we got it wrong, it takes a lot of concentration to try and read french. ;)
So, there’s 45 rankingpoints for reaching till this second round to be added in singles, but in doubles the tournament starts tomorrow. The court of action is court two again, but this time with Mika by his side. The duo of Youzhny and Mirnyi are the opponents in this round. If they win tomorrow, it can be the second seeds Peya/Soares or, maybe even more interesting with Italy around the corner, against Bolelli/Fognini in the quarterfinals. Let’s hear it for Monte Carlooooo!
The quest in Monte Carlo continues tomorrow with a match against another Nicolas. Third match on court 2 is the match between Nico and Nico Almagro. Almagro is currently world number 20, but the head to head might surprised you. They played 2 times before, once back in 2004 in a challenger in Besancon, France. This doesn’t exist any more nowadays, but Nico was too strong in straight sets, winning with 6-2 6-4. Years later, in Indian Wells 2008, Nico was again the winner in a match that lasted nearly 2 hours: 7-6 6-2. But those two matches were on hardcourt, and Monte Carlo is clay, so interesting how this will go. With Almagro just back from Houston it’s not impossible to win this match, what do you think? :)
As for doubles, Nico and Mika are still not on the order of play to play the doublesmatch against Youzhny and Mirnyi. They were the winners yesterday against Klaasen/Butorac.
Then a small note regarding rankings, in doubles hasn’t changed a single thing, they’re still ranked 5, so in the race for London. In singles is Nico on number 40, one spot lower than last week. This is because Guillermo Garcia Lopez had a good week in Casablanca last week, and rose to spot 38.
The clay season has begun with a long, tough match on the Monte Carlo clay today. Nico played Dominic Thiem, in a match of 2 hours and 7 minutes. It looks like Nico needed some time to get used to Thiems game, but he pulled through in the end.
The first set went to Thiem with one break early in the set. Nico had 5 chances to get the break back, but didn’t get the chance to use them. The second set was an even bigger fight, Nico got broken in his first game, but managed to get it back and play strong to win the set. Only in this set got Dominic 9 breakpoints on Nico’s serve, but the frenchman kept his cool and faught off 8 of them. One new break was enough to catch the set with 6-3.
In the third set was Nico the one ruling the set, using 2 breakpoints and serving strong in his own games. Two hours and 7 minutes later, we’ve got the first win since Rome 2008, in a clay masters event. Reason for a big smile, and to focus on the next round. This will be against the winner of Nicolas Almagro (who lost the Houston final today to Fernando Verdasco) and Paul Henri Mathieu, who comes out of the qualifying event. Almagro is still not in Monte Carlo, and that first round match is not on tomorrows schedule. Fair enough to think that Nico will play the second round on wednesday.
Two pictures of todays match are with this post, don’t you just love the color of clay? ;)
Allez Nico, let’s keep it up in Monte Carlo!
There is news from the Monte Carlo front! The draws are made today. Let’s start with the singlesdraw:
In the first round waits a qualifier from Austria, Dominic Thiem. This young gun has a wildcard and is currently ranked 81 in the world. Not bad if you remember he only turned professional in 2012. Nico has played him one time before, last year in the qualifying tournament of Bucharest. Nico won that match in straight sets. But of course this is a year later so you never know. Maybe Nico should read the facebook of Thiem, for his gameplan, because this is what Thiem wrote today: He is a great serve-volley-player but that’s not the easiest tactics on clay. So if I return well and serve well and can force him into long rallyes I have my chances.
So Dominic Thiem wants to play rallies with Nico, what a shame that the tv coverage starts on monday, so we can’t see this match. It will be fourth match on center court tomorrow, with the first one starting at 11 am. The match will probably be at the end of the afternoon, or maybe early evening.
In case Nico wins this, he can play the next round against someone with the same name. Almagro plays a qualifier first, and then possible against Nico in the second round.
Regarding the doublesdraw: Nico and Mika are in the bottom half of the draw, as sixth seeds. They don’t have to play the first round, it’s a bye, so in the second round they get Butorac/Klaasen or Mirnyi/Youzhny. Possible they’ll get a quarterfinal against the second seeded Peya and Soares.
Allez Nico!! Nous sommes derrière toi. ;)
The first clay tournament still has to start for Nico, but other lists do come out already. The entrylist for the tournament in Nice for example, and guess who is on the list to play this tournament? ;) This means we’ve got the following schedule for the whole clay season to come:
14-20 april: Monte Carlo, Monaco (singles and doubles with Michael Llodra)
21-27 april: Bucharest, Romania
5-11 may: Madrid, Spain (singles and doubles with Michael Llodra)
12-18 may: Rome, Italy
18-24 may: Nice, France
From 25th of may: Roland Garros (singles and doubles with Michael Llodra)
So far there’s 3 tournaments on clay where Nico won’t be playing with Mika, but hopefully he will play with other people, to keep eye on the road to London (and to see him more often of course… ;) )
We’re going to Paris to cheer him on during Roland Garros. And, sooner, we’ll spend the Easter weekend in Bucharest, hopefully crowned with at least one match from Nico there. It’s about time to feed this blog with live pictures of Nico on clay!
While some players battled for their countries in the several Davis cup ties last weelemd, others are preparing themselves for the European clay season. Nico is starting his season in Monte Carlo, with the Rolex Masters there. He’ll be playing both singles and doubles, the last of course with partner Michael Llodra.
Last year Nico tried to qualify for this tournament, but he lost in the first round to Philip Petzschner. This year this won’t be a problem, with the ranking of 39 is Nico already in the maindraw. In doubles they’re sixth seeds, hopefully more points to add for the road to London!
Rankingwise nothing has changed this week, it’s still 39 in singles. The difference with the number 38 is only a few points, not impossible to even get a better ranking after Monte Carlo.