Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka Hoping For Rejuvenation in Rome
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 ATP stop in Rome is a marquee Masters 1000 event, and the last major tuneup for many ATP players prior to the French Open. Here is your full preview, with predictions of this prestigious event.
Nadal’s QuarterEmbed from Getty Images
Rafael Nadal‘s most challenging opponent looks to be young Denis Shapovalov, who is still alive in Madrid. Shapovalov has posted a strong clay season and presuming he’s fit, he should upset the struggling Tomas Berdych, and then get past Daniil Medvedev or Robin Haase to reach round 3. Rafa needs to beat Damir Dzumhur or countryman Fernando Verdasco to reach round 3. Despite suffering his first loss in a long time in Madrid, Nadal should be favored into the quarterfinals.
Possible Madrid champion Dominic Thiem will be tested by Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils in his opening match. I’ll back Sam Querrey to beat Peter Gojowczyk and Lorenzo Sonego/Adrian Mannarino before falling to Thiem (or Monfils) in round 3.Embed from Getty Images
Dimitrov’s QuarterEmbed from Getty Images
Kei Nishikori hopes to snap a three match losing streak against veteran Feliciano Lopez, Grigor Dimitrov awaits in round 2 in a matchup that looks 50/50. I’ll go with Dimitrov to meet Philipp Kohlschreiber in round 3. Kohlschreiber opens with Karen Khachanov, Jack Sock or David Ferrer will follow. Based on form and upside Dimitrov over Kohli is my pick.
Novak Djokovic is just 6-6 this season, he should get past Alexandr Dolgopolov in round 1, then a qualifier in round 2, but his first big test will come against John Isner in round 3. Isner opens with a qualifier or Albert Ramos. I’m not confident but I’ll predict Djokovic into the quarterfinals given his relatively easy draw.Embed from Getty Images
Marin Cilic will face off with Ryan Harrison or Yuichi Sugita and should reach round 3, but I have Diego Schwartzman as the favorite in the section. Schwartzman should beat a qualifier, Richard Gasquet/Benoit Paire, and a struggling Cilic to reach the quarters.Embed from Getty Images
Madrid semifinalist Kevin Anderson will be favored against Aljaz Bedene or Gilles Muller while Stan Wawrinka returns to tour from injury against Steve Johnson. Wawrinka is an elite player, but fitness and form have been a major problem for him in recent months. I’ll back him against Johnson but Pablo Carreno Busta should beat Jared Donaldson, then Wawrinka (or Johnson) before falling to Anderson in round 3.Embed from Getty Images
Zverev’s QuarterEmbed from Getty Images
Still alive in Madrid, Alexander Zverev has put together a fantastic clay court season. Zverev will face a qualifier or Matteo Berrettini in round 2, then should await Kyle Edmund in round 3. Edmund will be favored against a qualifier and Lucas Pouille/Andreas Seppi, with Pouille a disaster right now. I’d expect fatigue to become a factor for Zverev, and I’ll go with Edmund in an upset.
Juan Martin Del Potro will have a big matchup against Borna Coric, presuming Coric defeats a qualifier in the opening round. I’ll go with Coric in a minor upset with David Goffin or Pablo Cuevas awaiting in round 3. Goffin faces Leonardo Mayer, while Cuevas duels with Marco Cecchinato. Coric over Goffin is my pick in round 3.Embed from Getty Images
Nadal d. Thiem
Dimitrov d. Djokovic
Anderson d. Schwartzman
Edmund d. Coric
Thiem just beat Nadal, but Nadal should still be favored. Djokovic doesn’t inspire confidence yet, Anderson has been solid on clay, and Edmund is my dark horse this week.
Nadal d. Dimitrov
Anderson d. Edmund
Nadal should be favored, while Anderson looks due for a solid week.
Nadal d. Anderson