Monte Carlo quarterfinal previews: Djokovic-Medvedev; Fognini-Coric

Monte Carlo quarterfinal previews: Djokovic-Medvedev; Fognini-Coric

Medvedev is one of the few players who can go toe to toe with the Djokovic backhand.

Novak Djokovic (ATP No. 1, UTR No. 1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (ATP No. 14, UTR No. 5)

Medvedev has posted strong results on faster courts, but this week we've learned that he can also play great tennis on clay. He lost just five games in his first two matches, then defeated the talented Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16, improving his record to 4-0 against the young Greek

Djokovic, of course, is an entirely different challenge, but the 23-year-old matches up as well as you possibly can expect. Medvedev has the advantage few other pros have: he can withstand Djokovic's signature two-handed backhand, and sometimes even control the backhand-to-backhand rallies.

Djokovic will look to use his heavy crosscourt forehand to pull Medvedev off the court to the forehand side. If he can do that, and redirect his backhand to the open court, he will be in good shape. Against a player like Medvedev, the clay will be Djokovic's friend, keeping the rallies longer and neutralizing some of the Russian's heavy shots.

Medvedev has had a great run in Monte Carlo, but that will likely come to an end against the world’s best player—who can also play pretty great tennis on clay.

Fabio Fognini (ATP No. 18, UTR No. 106) vs. Borna Coric (ATP No. 13, UTR No. 10)

After two taxing three-setters, Coric eased past Pierre-Hugues Herbert into the quarterfinals. Fognini followed up his retirement win in the second round with an impressive two-set win over Alexander Zverev. There's reasons to feel confident about both men, each of whom grew up playing on clay.

Fognini continues to thrive on the surface; seven of his eight singles titles have come on clay. I think Fognini has at least one more great match in the tank this tournament, and he'll be emboldened by his adoring fans in Monte Carlo.

UTR heavily favors Coric, and their clay-court specific rating is separated by .67 points—a big difference on a 16.5 point scale. But the gap will surely lessen after Fognini takes out Coric in a very physical, fun matchup. This is a match-of-the-day candidate.