11th seed David Goffin of Belgium will have a second straight Spanish opponent across the net in Fernando Verdasco in their second round match at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Both men had routine opening round wins with score lines that featured a bagel. Each will vie for a spot in the round of 16 in the eighth of the draw that has opened up after the withdrawal of David Ferrer.
Entering the tournament as the 11th seed, world number 13 David Goffin is coming off a strong North American hard court season which saw him reach consecutive semifinals in Indian Wells and Miami, the other player to achieve this feat being world number one Novak Djokovic. In his opening round match against 23rd-ranked Feliciano Lopez, the Belgian did not face much problems as her dismantled his Spanish opponent 7-5, 6-0.
Having needed a wildcard to enter the main draw this year, Fernando Verdasco who is a former finalist here eased through his opening round match over newly-crowned Marrakech champion Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-0, 6-3.
This will be the fourth match-up between both players with Verdasco leading the head-to-head 2-1. He won their solitary clash on the red dirt with the win coming at the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open. The Belgian however won their most recent meeting at the Cincinnati Masters last year.
Although Goffin trails the head-to-head, it is worth noting that both Verdasco's wins came before Goffin's rise in the rankings in 2014. Both men should not be taken lightly on this surface given each of them has won at least a title on it. The 32-year-old Verdasco clearly has greater experience of the pair and has the greater momentum on this surface given he reached the second round of the clay court tournament in Houston last week and thus has more matches than Goffin who has just one to his name (excluding matches played during Davis Cup duty against Croatia earlier in February).
However, given Goffin's terrific results and consistency during the last month in America, he could be riding high on confidence and it makes it hard to see him crash out early in a big tournament like this. Verdasco should be able to take a set and offer some resistance but other than that, Goffin should see himself win back-to-back matches for the first time in Monte Carlo and advance to the round of 16.
Prediction: David Goffin in three sets