2013 ATP Rome Preview
Rome is Burning
The final Masters before Roland Garros fired up today but my Editor couldn’t get his act together in time.
Internazionali BNL D’Italia
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
May 12-May 19, 2013
Prize Money: €2,646,495
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Roger Federer
3: Andy Murray
4: David Ferrer
5: Rafael Nadal
6: Tomas Berdych
7: Juan Martin Del Potro
8: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
First round matchups to watch:
Phillip Kohlschreiber vs. (14)Milos Raonic
Kohlschreiber is back in action this week after a week off and he will take on the dangerous but still inconsistent Raonic, who followed up semis in Barcelona with a 2nd round loss in Madrid. They have met just once: this year at the Australian Open where Raonic prevailed, but that was on hard courts. Peppo will have a good upset chance here on clay.
Fabio Fognini vs. Andreas Seppi
Both Fognini and Seppi are coming off bad first round losses in Madrid and this will be a rematch of their match in Monte Carlo, which was won be Fognini. They are the top two Italian players and are playing at home in Rome, so expect an electric atmosphere and some great clay court tennis.
Juan Monaco vs. Benoit Paire
Monaco and Paire have never met and both come off 2nd round losses in Madrid (to Anderson and Nadal respectively). They both have serious talent on clay but at times their game can disappear and their chances with it. Expect a close match and some fireworks.
(WC)Paolo Lorenzi vs. (16) Kei Nisihkori
Nishikori and Lorenzi have also never met, but Nishikori should be buoyed by his upset of Roger Federer and his run to the quarterfinals in Madrid. He has a lot of talent and can be a top 10 player soon enough if he can simply stay healthy. The veteran Lorenzi will be at home in Italy and is steady on clay, thus this has to be a bit of an upset alert.
Novak Djokovic was shocked by Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid, and really played quite poorly in that match. Dimitrov was good, but he was not at his all. As a defending finalist in Rome, he will look to recover against Martin Klizan or a qualifier. Then he could meet the sizzling Stanislas Wawrinka, who won Estoril and in Madrid runner-up. Wawa will need to get past a qualifier, then Alexandr Dolgopolov or Matteo Viola. If he is fatigued from playing so much tennis as of late, Dolgo could at least give him a test.
Madrid semifinalist Tomas Berdych will open against John Isner or Denis Istomin, then could get a rematch against Kevin Anderson, who he just beat in Madrid in 2 tight sets. Anderson just needs to get through Jurgen Melzer and Marin Cilic or a qualifier.
Madrid quarterfinalist David Ferrer will play Fernando Verdasco, who improved his form in Madrid, or Horacio Zeballos. Then he could meet Kohlschreiber/Raonic, a qualifier or Albert Ramos.
Madrid champion and 6 time Rome champion Rafael Nadal will look to continue dominating on clay against the Fognini/Seppi winner and then Jarkko Nieminen, a qualifier, Janko Tipsarevic or Viktor Troicki. None of them seem threatening in the slightest.
Roger Federer was shaky in a loss to Kei Nishikori in Madrid, and just seems shaky in general. He lost the number 2 ranking to Murray for now, and he really needs to start earning some points given the shortened schedule he is playing. Federer could play Radek Stepanek in a rematch of Madrid R2, or Potito Starace, who was formerly a solid enough ATP pro but has fallen off a cliff rankings-wise. After that Federer could be troubled by Tommy Haas, if Haas can beat Mikhail Youzhny and Gilles Simon/Filippo Volandri. Simon/Haas Round 2 would be a huge match.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a Madrid quarterfinalist, will play Jerzy Janowicz or a qualifier. After that, he’s looking at Richard Gasquet, who was shocked in the opening round of Madrid, Sam Querrey or Marcos Baghdatis/Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov lost to Wawrinka after shocking Djokovic, but still showed a lot of heart and talent in that one. He and Baghdatis played a great semifinal match in Brisbane this year on hard courts, won by Dimitrov in 3 sets, but Baghdatis is way out of form right now.
The new ATP number 2, Andy Murray, will take on Marcel Granollers/Nikolay Davydenko. He should then meet Nishikori/Lorenzi, while Jeremy Chardy and Feliciano Lopez are also options.Murray has consistently been shaky at best on clay this year, and Nishikori could cause him problems.
Juan Martin Del Potro has recovered from a virus that kept him out of Estoril and Madrid. Del Po will play a qualifier or Xaiver Malisse, then Paire/Monaco or Nicolas Almagro/Julien Benneteau. This is a brutal section of the draw.
Dark Horse: Tommy Haas
Haas was playing well in Madrid this week, though he fell in 3 sets to Ferrer, and in general he is fit, in form, and playing well on clay this year. If he can beat the mercurial Youzhny and then likely Simon, he would almost have to be the favorite against a shaky Federer. After that he should play Tsonga/Dimitrov/Gasquet, all of which are winnable, even if he is an underdog in them. In the semis, Monaco/Del Potro/Nishikori/Murray/Almagro/Paire are all reasonable opponents in a tough section. I have Haas as a finalist this week.
Djokovic d. Wawrinka
Anderson d. Berdych
Ferrer d. Kohlschreiber
Nadal d. Nieminen
Monaco d. Del Potro
Nishikori d. Murray
Tsonga d. Dimitrov
Haas d. Federer
Djoker should be fresher than Wawa, if nothing else. Anderson should be fresher than Berdych, who suffered a late collapse in his Madrid semi. Ferrer could lose to Kohlschreiber, but he would have to the favorite. Nadal should cruise, Monaco should best his countryman, Nishikori/Murray will be tight but an edge to the man from Japan. Tsonga/Dimitrov should also be close, and as mentioned, Haas should beat fellow veteran Federer.
Djokovic d. Anderson
Nadal d. Ferrer
Monaco d. Nishikori
Haas d. Tsonga
Djokovic is a favorite against Anderson. Nadal dropped a set to Ferrer, but then bageled him in the 3rd set, as the two Spaniards seem locked in a track against each other. Monaco is better on clay than Nishikori, and Haas-Tsonga should be a slugfest.
Nadal d. Djokovic
Haas d. Monaco
Nadal is better than Djokovic right now if he isn’t fatigued. Monaco has a better h2h against Haas (4-1), but they only met once in recent history (2012 on clay in Hamburg won by Monaco), and that doesn’t account for Haas current form.
Nadal d. Haas