Competitions will start in Rome tomorrow Internazionali BNL d’Italia, and we bring to your attention a preview of the tournament and an analysis of the grid, which will help you decide on your favorites and place bets on tennis.
Seeding leader in men’s competition was Serb Novak Djokovic… On the one hand, Novak’s clay season right now looks like a complete failure and disappointment: two tournaments, no titles, defeats to Evans and Karatsev, 180 points out of 1250 possible.
On the other hand, Djokovic did everything absolutely right. Nole finally realized that he didn’t need to take all the world titles and win every tournament to make history. Haters will come up with dozens of reasons not to pay attention to the records of the Serb, and after a while only the largest titles, rating records and statistics of personal meetings will remain in history. Nobody likes to lose, but it is better to lose at a less important tournament than at the “Helmet”.
As a result, this year Novak tested himself at the “home” tournament (Djokovic lives in Monte Carlo): he tested the body after a muscle strain, had a good (but not bright) match against the rapidly progressing Sinner and lost to the increasing Evans in the fight. A minimum of risks, a minimum of anxiety, a maximum of information: how the body reacts to real matches, how the transition to the ground went, how stretching works, what needs to be worked on.
Then Djokovic went to another “home” tournament – in Belgrade. Two victories on duty and a thriller with Karatsev. Here Novak laid out much more noticeably, but still there was no feeling that Djokovic would die on the court for the sake of victory (in Melbourne, such a feeling was in every match). Novak again outlined the problem areas for himself, tested the body and left to rest and work further.
What awaits Novak in Rome on his way to the final? Quite a nasty mesh. Evans, Dimitrov, Tsitsipas, Tim. Roland Garros is getting closer, so matches and practice are needed. But at the same time, you still don’t need to die on the court. Evans and Dimitrov do not look like the most dangerous rivals, Tsitsipas and Tim are much more serious. This will not be the last tournament before the “Helmet”, Novak will have the opportunity to get the right number of matches if required. The quarterfinals are the minimum program, but the semi-final now seems to be the maximum program. There are chances for the final, but Tim is good again and will only get better.
Perhaps the Austrian should be considered the favorite of the first half of the grid. His path to the finale: Fuchovic, De Minaur, Rublev, Djokovic / Tsitsipas.
The path of Tsitsipas: Bagel, Berrettini, Djokovic, Tim. In the quarterfinals, more will depend on Novak and his motivation.
Rublyov’s grid: Struff, Bautista-Agut, Tim, Djokovic / Tsitsipas. From the third round, the situation becomes dangerous. And Dominic does seem like an insurmountable obstacle.
The obvious favorite of the second half of the grid seems to be Rafa Nadal, if not for one but. The Spaniard was in one quarter with Sasha Zverev. More recently, these fears would have seemed ridiculous, and the situation would have looked like a verdict for the German, but now Zverev won the last three matches with Nadal (one – on clay, one – in the semifinals of “Masters”, one – at the Final).
Rafa has clearly not yet reached the peak of clay form, but in general, this level was enough for him for the quarterfinals of “Masters” and the ATP 500 title, so there is no reason to complain about detraining and injury. Zverev started the clay season poorly (defeat in the third round of Monte Carlo, defeat at Ivashka in Munich), and made a powerful breakthrough in Madrid). The only problem for the German is that he will have less time to rest. But it should be borne in mind that he did not play so many matches on clay. Nadal’s path to the final: Sinner, Ruud, Zverev, Schwartzman.
Also in this half of the grid starts Daniil Medvedev… His path to the final: Karatsev, Gurkach, Shvartsman, Nadal. A performance in Madrid, it seems, can put Daniel on a plus, but this is only if you take into account the terrible dirt story of the Russian. Yes, breaking a streak of six consecutive defeats is good, but these defeats did not just happen. It is still difficult for Danya to adjust his style to the ground (Kafelnikov generally argues that Medvedev simply cannot play on this surface), and the victory over the 49th racket of the world does not look like anything impressive (especially considering that Daniil flew further from Garin – strong primer, but not super top). Also embarrassing is the fact that Medvedev still breaks down in difficult situations. An inconvenient surface, unpleasant fans, an impudent opponent – all this can make him do stupid things and forget about the result. In Rome, there will be both rivals and coverage. So Medvedev can lose any of the matches, and Karatsev, as we remember, defeated Djokovic.
Not to be missed in Rome: Djokovic – Evans, Rublyov matches, Karatsev – Medvedev, probable Zverev – Nadal match.
Likely semi-finals: Tsitsipas – Tim, Shvartsman – Zverev.
Seed leader in women’s tournament to be Australian Ashley Barty… The most interesting moment seems to be that Barty got into one quarter with Arina Sobolenko – we can see a repetition of the Madrid final at a fairly early stage.
Barty’s grid: Trevisan, Mertens, Sobolenko, Svyontek.
Net: Sobolenko: Sorribes-Torrmo, Pliskova, Barty, Sventek.
Both girls have no particular reason to stumble before the quarterfinals (except for fatigue, of course), so it will be interesting. Whoever wins the Madrid final, the favorite of the Roman match will still not be clear. Barty is more stable, but Sobolenko’s flashes are brighter.
The second half of the grid looks less predictable. Rated Favorite – Naomi Osaka, but the Japanese woman again showed that she is not yet ready to take titles on clay. The grid is not the most difficult, but the stumble will be where: Kasatkina, Brady, Benchich / Serena, Kvitova / Halep.
Kasatkina can light up in a separate match, Brady is clearly not averse to taking revenge for the Australian Open finals, Benchich also flashes brightly in individual top meetings, Serena has something to dislike Naomi for, Kvitova can defeat any rival at all, and Halep says a lot about the desire to dominate on soil. This is not the kind of mesh that Osaka can go on the ground.
It is difficult to single out the real favorite of the second half: all the contenders have stumbled a lot this season too. It is worth paying attention to Bencic and Halep; you should not completely forget about Serena.
Not to be missed in Rome: Mertens – Kudermetova, Plishkova – Venus, Putintseva – Goff, Mugurus – Pavlyuchenkova, Konta – Ostapenko, Serena’s matches, Osaka’s matches.
Likely semi-finals: Barty – Sviontek, Halep – Benchich.