2021 Italian Open Masters Men’s Preview and Predictions
It was a great week of tennis in Madrid. Zverev captured the title, beating Nadal, Thiem, and Berrettini along the way. Can we establish him as the favorite at Roland Garros? Not so fast. Although it was a great win for him, there are other intangibles that need to be considered before we anoint him as a favorite over Nadal.
For one, Madrid’s altitude and fast clay favored the tall German this week. It is common knowledge that Nadal does not perform as well in the altitude of Madrid. Also, for players like Tsitsipas, who have been in great form on the clay, an off week is to be expected. How all these players will perform in Rome will tell us a lot more about favorites going into Roland Garros. Here are five players I expect to make some noise in Rome:
Matteo Berrettini: 9th seed
Matteo has been playing some outstanding tennis this clay-court season. He followed up his win in Serbia with a nice run to the Madrid final, where he gave Zverev all he could handle. This week will be very exciting for Matteo, as he’s playing at home. An Italian has not won this title since Adriano Panatta in 1976.
Alex Zverev: 6th seed
What a run Zverev just had in Madrid. His continued success is a testament to his commitment to the game. Zverev is now a contender everywhere he goes. Madrid is a big title, and now he will want to back this win up with a strong showing in Rome.
Stefanos Tsitsipas: 5th seed
After a win in Monte Carlo, and a finals appearance in Barcelona, Tsitsipas went down quietly to Casper Ruud in Madrid. No need to panic though, Stefanos is having an incredible season, and a minor setback in Madrid will not slow this train down. Expect Tsitsipas deep into the draw in Rome.
Rafa Nadal: 2nd seed
After a strong showing in Barcelona, Nadal will be happy to be playing at sea level again. He’s had incredible success in Rome, picking up 9 titles during his career. Rome will be a strong indicator of Nadal’s form going into Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic: 1st seed
There hasn’t been much noise from Djokovic so far this clay-court season. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to go quietly into the Roman night. Novak loves playing in Rome, and he’s the defending champion. He could easily have a nice run to the title if the stars align just right.
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