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Novak Djokovic vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas live from Monte Carlo Masters: Djokovic looks for confident opening victory

Hannah Wilks in News 13 Apr 2015
Novak Djokovic (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic is out to stamp his dominance on the clay-court season early at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round on Tuesday. 
It could be a good omen for top seed Novak Djokovic that he is starting his Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters campaign against the same player he beat to begin his successful Indian Wells campaign, Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

On the other hand, it’s questionable whether Djokovic needs any good omens. Such is the degree of dominance which Djokovic has established over the ATP World Tour that he is the bookmakers’ favourite to win this year’s Monte Carlo Masters despite the fact that he has only captured the title in Monaco once in eight attempts and is due to meet eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

Currently celebrating his 142nd week atop the ATP World Tour rankings, Djokovic holds in his hands the three biggest titles of the season so far – the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami – and is on a 13-match winning streak, his last loss coming to Roger Federer in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. But what he wants is the French Open title – the only Grand Slam that has escaped him so far – and the question that will dominate the next few months is whether or not he will get it.

Monte Carlo is the first major battleground of the clay-court season and, with Nadal slipping down in the rankings to world no. 5, Djokovic could meet his biggest rival of the coming weeks as early as the semifinals. The world no. 1’s draw certainly looks good, with projected third-round opponent Ernests Gulbis already departing at the hands of Andreas Haider-Maurer and the player seeded to meet him in the quarterfinals Marin Cilic, who is playing just his second tournament since a winless outing at last year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Speculation that Djokovic could capture his second Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title, after beating Nadal in the 2013 final, and erase memories of his defeat to Roger Federer in last year’s semifinals while hampered with a wrist injury does not seem premature.

But first things first, and the first challenge for Djokovic in Monte Carlo is Albert Ramos-Vinolas (formerly known as simply Albert Ramos), who booked his spot in the second round with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Robin Haase. 

A top-40 player back in 2012, Ramos-Vinolas comes into the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters ranked world no. 67 and looking to reach the third round for the first time in Monaco. A clay-court specialist who reached the Casablanca final back in 2012, Ramos-Vinolas’s best results this year have seen him reach the quarterfinals of Auckland in January (losing to talented young French player Lucas Pouille) and the third round of Indian Wells, defeating Viktor Troicki and Julien Benneteau before losing to Djokovic himself.

The meeting between Djokovic and Ramos-Vinolas at Indian Wells was a fairly straightforward 7-5, 6-3 victory for the world no. 1, actually a little bit tougher for him than was perhaps necessary with some focus problems apparent for Djokovic, and it seems reasonable to expect a similar if not more comprehensive score in Monte Carlo as Djokovic gets his feet under him and prepares for a concerted assault on the clay season.

Djokovic and Ramos-Vinolas are scheduled on court in Monte Carlo at 1.30pm local (12.30pm BST)

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Novak Djokovic vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas live from Monte Carlo Masters: Djokovic looks for confident opening victory

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