The oldest match-up in R1.
Stepanek has generally been a bit too cunning for Nieminen - leads the series 5-3, and 3-1 on clay. It has been nearly two years since they last met on the dirt, though.
In my mind, irrespective of their head-to-head on this surface, slow Monte Carlo clay should actually give Nieminen his best chance.
Nieminen has had a month off after struggling with injury during IW and Miami. Stepanek quite the opposite - winning doubles in Miami with Paes, before then contesting a marathon Davis Cup weekend against Serbia, a week ago.