tennis10sBalls.com

Ricky’s Tennis Picks For Rome, Nadal And Federer Both Playing

Switzerland's Roger Federer performs during a training session at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, 14 May 2019. EPA-EFE/ETTORE FERRARI
Switzerland’s Roger Federer performs during a training session at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, 14 May 2019. EPA-EFE/ETTORE FERRARI

 

 

By Ricky Dimon  @Dimonator

 

Another jam-packed schedule is on tap for Wednesday in Rome, where Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Dominic Thiem are all part of the schedule. Thiem has a tough test on his hands against nemesis Fernando Verdasco.

 

Ricky previews three of the best matchups and makes his predictions.

 

Jeremy Chardy vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in action against Swiss Stan Wawrinka during their quarterfinal match played at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 10 May 2019.  EPA-EFE/JAVIER LIZON corrige fotógrafo

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in action against Swiss Stan Wawrinka during their quarterfinal match played at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 10 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JAVIER LIZON corrige fotógrafo

Nadal is 0-for-3 through three clay-court appearances in 2019, so he will be eager for success at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia prior to his arrival at the French Open. The world No. 2 lost in the semifinals in Monte-Carlo (Fabio Fognini), Barcelona (Dominic Thiem), and Madrid (Stefanos Tsitsipas). On the bright side, conditions in Rome–where Nadal is a 56-6 lifetime with six titles–should suit him better than those in Masters.

Up first for the 32-year-old in the Rome second round on Wednesday is a third career matchup with Chardy, who trails the head-to-head series 2-0. Nadal cruised 6-2, 6-2 on the clay courts of Vina del Mar in 2013 and 6-3, 6-4 at the Cincinnati Masters two years later. Chardy is an even 12-12 for his 2019 campaign following Tuesday’s 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 defeat of fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The world No. 42 will have to serve amazingly just to be even sort of competitive, and even if he does Nadal will surely give him a free clay-court lesson from the baseline.

Pick: Nadal in 2

 

Joao Sousa vs. (3) Roger Federer

Federer has not yet played a match this week in Rome, but his unexpected appearance at this tournament is already off to a good start. That was the case when he watched Tuesday’s first-round showdown between Joao Sousa and Frances Tiafoe. After three hours of play, Sousa–who saved multiple match points–outlasted Tiafoe in a third-set tiebreaker. Thus Federer will be facing a fatigued Portuguese opponent for the second time in their careers on Wednesday. Their only previous contest came five years ago on the grass of Halle, where the Swiss scored a 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Madrid was supposed to be Federer’s lone French Open warmup event and it went well enough, as he fought off match points to beat Gael Monfils in the third round before losing from match point up against Thiem in the quarters. With a trio of clay-court matches already under his belt, a well-rested Federer should be way too good for Sousa in this one.

Pick: Federer in 2

 

(5) Dominic Thiem vs. Fernando Verdasco

Thiem and Verdasco will be facing each other for the fourth time in their careers on Wednesday. Surprisingly, Verdasco leads the head-to-head series 3-0–but Thiem can at least somewhat explain his shortcomings. The Austrian lost their first two meetings on grass and a hard court (2015 Wimbledon, 2017 Paris Masters) before getting bogged down by fatigue in the middle of an energy-sapping 2018 Golden Swing (6-4, 6-0 in Rio de Janeiro).

Will the tide turn in this one? It should, despite the fact that Thiem may not have absolutely 100 percent of his gas tank full. The world No. 4 has had three full days off from singles and two from doubles, having lost to Madrid title winner Novak Djokovic in a two-tiebreakers semifinal. Verdasco, meanwhile, is coming off a tough 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kyle Edmund on Monday. The 38th-ranked veteran is in decent enough form, but he may be overmatched on Thiem’s clay-court stomping grounds.

Pick: Thiem in 2

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *