Rafael Nadal is looking to claim his third straight ATP Italian Open title. Photo by @rnadalacademy (Twitter).

  • No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal is looking for his 10th Rome Masters title
  • No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic is playing after his US Open disqualification in the fourth round
  • Read below for analysis and a betting prediction for the tournament

The first clay court tournament of the year has been shifted from its usual time slot and begins Monday, September 14th, immediately following the US Open.

Nine-time Rome Masters Champion Rafael Nadal is coming back to tennis action, and will be playing his first tournament in seven months. Nadal’s last appearance in an ATP event came in Acapulco, Mexico back in February.

Italian Open Men’s Singles Odds

Seed Player Odds at DraftKings
2 Rafael Nadal (ESP) -134
1 Novak Djokovic (SRB) +200
3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) +1400
10 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) +2500
4 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) +4000
7 Fabio Fognini (ITA) +4000
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) +4000
Alex De Minaur (AUS) +5000
6 David Goffin (BEL) +5000
13 Milos Raonic (CAN) +5000
9 Andrey Rublev (RUS) + 5000
Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (ARG) +5000
11 Karen Khachanov (RUS) +6000
Marin Cilic (CRO) +6600
Borna Coric (CRO) +6600
16 Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) +8000
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) +8000
5 Gael Monfils (FRA) +8000
12 Denis Shapovalov(CAN) +8000

King of Clay looking for 10th Italian Open title

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal decided not play the 2020 US Open and will be looking for his 10th Rome Masters title. With a first round bye for both Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta, the Spaniards will face each other in the second round.

Busta is just coming off a semifinal loss in five sets to Alexander Zverev at the US Open. Currently ranked No. 27 in the world, Busta has never won a set from Nadal and is 0-5 in head-to-head meetings.

If Nadal defeats Busta to advance, he faces a potential match up with Canadian Milos Raonic in the round of 16. Two weeks ago, Raonic lost in the final of the ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati event, falling in three sets to Novak Djokovic.

The King of Clay may be further tested with a potential match-up against Italian Fabio Fognini, who is coming back from ankle surgery and has yet to win a match since the 2020 Australian Open.

Should he continue to advance, the 19-time Grand Slam champion could face either Andrey Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz or Diego Schwartzman. Although the Argentine Schwartzman is 0-9 against Nadal, he did manage to push him to four sets at the 2018 French Open.

Next Generation star and World No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece could be a possible opponent in a semifinal showdown. The Greek youngster managed to beat Nadal on clay at the 2019 Madrid Open.

Tsitsipas will have his work cut out for him early on, having to face the winner of Jannik Sinner vs Benoit Paire in the second round and then a potential showdown with 2014 Rome Masters 1000 semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

Novak Djokovic returns after US Open disqualification

Serbian sensation Novak Djokovic is attempting to redeem himself after being disqualified at the US Open. The World No.1 sparked quite the controversy when he accidentally hit a line judge with a ball during his fourth round match against Busta. Before the disqualification, Djokovic won the first 23 matches he played in 2020.

The 17-time Grand Slam Champion will be looking for his fifth Rome Masters title and may be tested by Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16. He has yet to play the young 20-year-old from Montreal in an ATP event.

ATP Italian Open – Last Five winners

Year Champion
2019 Rafael Nadal
2018 Rafael Nadal
2017 Alexander Zverev
2016 Andy Murray
2015 Novak Djokovic

Another possible fourth round clash could be Frenchman Gael Monfils against three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. The Rome Masters 1000 is the first tournament for Monfils since the COVID-19 outbreak, while Wawrinka played in an ATP event in Prague at the end of August. Wawrinka beat Djokovic last year at the US Open and also bested him in the final of the 2016 French Open.

Fourth seed Matteo Berrettini is also in Djokovic’s half of the draw. Although the Italian lost to Djokovic 6-2, 6-1 at the 2019 ATP Finals, Berrettini is sure to make an impression on the clay courts.

The favourite to win is Nadal, however the tournament may prove to be quite entertaining with a potential Djokovic-Nadal final. Following last year’s victory, Nadal is 3-2 head to head over Djokovic in Italian Open finals.

 

 

This year’s US Open finalists Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev have respectively withdrawn. As well, top players Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev will also not be making an appearance at Foro Italico sports complex.

Picks: Rafael Nadal (-134), Stefanos Tsitsipas (+1400), Stan Wawrinka (+2500)

 

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