The Best of the Day preview goes to the net with tennis tips for John Millman’s clash with Roberto Bautista Agut at the Monte Carlo Masters. 

Tennis Tips – Roberto Bautista Agut V John Millman

19:00 (AEST) @ Monte Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

History: Played 5: Bautista Agut 4 V Millman 1

Last Meeting: Australian Open, 2019 (R64): Bautista Agut d Millman 6-3 6-1 3-6 6-7 6-4

Final Thoughts: The clay-court season gets into full swing with the Monte Carlo Masters. Australian journeyman John Millman has a tough first-round match-up against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The pair faced off as recently as the Australian Open in January. Bautista Agut prevailed in an epic five-setter in the second round after Millman had clawed back from a two-set deficit.

The 29-year-old Millman has had a mixed run of form since. A quarter-final appearance at the Mexican Open – where he lost to third seed John Isner in a three-setter featuring three tie-breaks – was his only performance of note.

He was bundled out in the first round at Indian Wells and the Miami Open. The Brisbane native’s ranking has slipped to No.42.

Bautista Agut currently sits 25th in the world, and enjoyed a career-best charge to the Australian Open quarter-finals that also included wins over Andy Murray, Karen Khachanov and Marin Cilic.

The 31-year-old made a string of subsequent early tournament exits but will be heartened but last month’s quarter-final run at the Miami Open. He upset world No.1 Novak Djokovic before falling to Isner.

Bautista Agut has played at the last six Monte Carlo Masters, dipping out in the second or third round on each occasion. Millman is making his debut at the tournament.

Millman’s only win over the Spaniard in five meetings was their first clash – back at the Spain F7 Futures. That happened to be on clay, but Bautista Agut beat Millman in the first round of the 2017 French Open in four sets.

On 2019 form, rolling Bautista Agut shapes as a tall order for Millman. But he is nothing if not a dogged competitor and holds plenty of value with a sizeable head-start. A showdown against 11-time champ Rafa Nadal is the dubious prize for the winner.

Tip: Game Handicap – Millman +4.5 @ $1.91