World number 18 Gael Monfils will be up against Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka in the first round of the Olympics men’s singles on Saturday, July 24. Get the live streaming options of this Gael Monfils v Ilya Ivashka match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Gael Monfils v Ilya Ivashka Head to Head
There has been just one previous meeting between these two players before this. It came at the 2019 Montreal Masters and Monfils had won it in straight sets.
Monfils 3-9 This Year
A newly-married Monfils will come into this tennis competition at this year’s Olympics hoping marital bliss will help him overturn the horrendous form run he has had to go through this season.
In fact since the pandemic break ended last season, Monfils has played 16 matches in all and won just three.
That’s right, a player who was number six on the ATP rankings suddenly went from being a star performer – he had won Montpellier and Rotterdam Open titles and made the semifinal Dubai just prior to the lockdown – to an also-ran.
Monfils will realise there are no points on offer at the Olympics but playing for France could ignite that spark that’s so woefully missing from his game. He will be gunning for his first hard court win for the season when he goes up against Ivashka.
Ivashka Improves to Career-Best This Year
By most standards it has been a solid season for Ivashka but more so for a player who was ranked 116th in March this year.
Since then, he has taken off in the right direction by first breaking through his previous career-best of 80th and pushing towards 63rd before coming into this competition at 66th.
The caveat here is this has been thanks to his performance on clay and grass, not so much hard court surfaces. A quarterfinal in Eastbourne and fourth round at Wimbledon certainly have helped.
This isn’t to say Ivashka hasn’t done well on hard court surfaces in the past though. On clay, his win-loss ratio has been 0.44 to 0.46 on hard court surfaces, making this an intriguing battle for him.
Monfils v Ivashka Prediction and Tip
Not so surprisingly, Monfils does not start off as a favourite in this one, with odds of 7/5 to win it as compared to his opponent’s 3/5. What could happen here is playing for pride rather than points or prize money could turn things around for Monfils and we could see him come through in this one.