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Demon thrives, Bublik struggles: Mixed results for UTS players to begin Monte-Carlo Masters

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Bren Gray

The clay season is well under way on the ATP Tour, and those playing from the UTS Tour have had mixed results across the opening days.

While Alex “The Demon” de Minaur impressed, Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik found matters much tougher on the red dirt. Gael “La Monf” Monfils cashed in one of his nine lives and escaped from what looked like a certain loss against Aleksandr Vukic, but Jack “The Power” Draper wasn’t quite so lucky against Hubert Hurkacz.

The Demon, La Monf and G-Unit win

De Minaur continued his brilliant start to 2024, kicking off his clay season with an impressive 6-3, 6-0 win over Stan Wawrinka in just over an hour. While the Swiss veteran was competitive initially, The Demon’s speed and accuracy eventually overwhelmed him as he raced out to a second set bagel. 

La Monf wasn’t quite as convincing in his victory, though the Frenchman did show real resolve in his first round victory at the Monte-Carlo Masters. Dropping the opening set in a tiebreaker, Monfils did well to come back and level the match in the second. However, Vukic soon raced out to a 4-1 lead in the decider and it seemed like this was all over… Until it wasn’t.

Monfils showed his incredible fighting spirit, powering back into the match to win four games straight, eventually finishing off the set 7-5. He now faces No 4 seed and fellow UTS player Daniil “The Chessmaster” Medvedev in the round of 32. The pair have never met in UTS, but have played three times on the ATP Tour, with Monfils leading 2-1.

Grigor “G-Unit” Dimitrov also came through his first-round match unscathed, navigating a tricky 7-5, 6-2 win over Monancan wildcard Valentin Vacherot.

Bublik Enemy flops, Draper and Fritz also beaten

The Bublik Enemy, The Power and Taylor “The Hotshot” Fritz were not so lucky in their opening matches in Monte-Carlo.

Bublik was thoroughly defeated by Borna Coric 6-1, 6-1, with the Kazakh struggling to adapt to the change in surface and landing just two aces across the match. Fritz, on the other hand, was defeated by a red-hot Lorenzo Mussetti 6-4, 6-4, who will now go on to face Novak Djokovic.

Draper had the toughest loss of all the UTS players in the Monte Carlo draw, going down to Hurkacz in an epic three-setter. The Power managed to break the big-serving Pole an impressive four times, but also gave up his own serve three times. The result was a final set tiebreaker, which Hurkacz sealed in clutch fashion, 7-2.

Defending champion Andrey “Rublo” Rublev and Casper “The Ice Man” Ruud are both yet to play in Monte-Carlo this week. They, along with De Minaur, Monfils and Nick Kyrgios have been announced for the next UTS event in New York, on August 22-23.