The younger Zverev brother, at [10.5], is the market second favourite, but doesn't have the best clay data (just a 108.9% combined hold/break percentage in the last 12 months), and his 16-4 clay record in this time period indicates he won a ton of tight matches, as is often the case with him. I'm lacking matches and a bit of confidence on court. After his loss to Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Open, the Swiss player made a decision to skip the clay season again. The capacity 10,200-strong crowd were delighted when Lajovic won his first game for 1-1, with a smash victor, in a competitive second set.
Four consecutive holds opened the second set though Khachanov was having it his way during his service games, with Kokkinakis not being able to find answers to the Russian's consistent play. When the time comes to play, I need to be at my best.
"Seeded nine, Djokovic, who is struggling to pick up the pace after an elbow injury, could face Nadal in the semi-finals although just getting a win under his belt would be a relief for the 30-year-old who triumphed in Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2015".
Over the course of the near one-hour match, Djokovic kept compatriot Lajovic guessing with his disguised forehand drop-shots and powerful down-the-line backhands that brought rapturous applause from the crowd at the show court.
Nadal, notoriously known for his dominant presence on the court, is renowned for taking his time between points, as evident in being docked a first serve during his successful French Cup triumph past year.
Earlier on Monday, Japan's Kei Nishikori fought back from a set down to see off Czech 12th seed Tomas Berdych and reach the second round. He has not won a Grand Slam tournament since the 2016 French Open.
He was playing close to his best tennis despite calling for a medical timeout for his troublesome wrist.
"Hope I can put more matches on clay. I think it needs to be slightly balanced but I think it can be good for tennis to have something like that".
The 36-year-old is now on a five-match winning streak against the 16-time Grand Slam champion, though they haven't done battle on clay since 2013.
Ramos-Vinolas, who lost last year's final to Nadal, was leading by a set and a break at the time and went on to win 6-3, 6-3. Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call and then squared up to him as he continued to argue.
This will be his first meeting against the 21-year-old Khachanov, who is ranked No. 40.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.