The Rome Open 3rd round of the men’s singles event has been completed. Today all 4 quarter final matches will be played on Campo Centrale beginning at 1pm local time in Rome. There is a possibility of all 4 semi finalists being Spanish, with 3 of them being left handers.
All of the 8 players remaining are in form this year, setting up a great day of tennis. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the only player who has not won an ATP singles title this year. However, the 25 year old Frenchman has recorded his best clay court results in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments this year. He has made the quarter finals for the first time at both Rome and Monte-Carlo and will be looking for his first clay court Masters 1000 semi final appearance.
The first match on is No.2 seed Novak Djokovic against No.6 seed Fernando Verdasco in a repeat on the 2010 Monte-Carlo Open semi final. The 1.88m Djokovic holds a 5-3 lead in their head to head matches but will be hoping for a better result than last time.
The Serbian lost 6-2 6-2 to the 26 year old Verdasco who is also 1.88m tall. Djokovic won Rome in 2008 and made the final last year, he looks to be improving his form and confidence. The 2008 Australian Open champion will hope to take advantage of the fact that Verdasco will not be in peak physical condition.
Verdasco showed signs of slowing up in his last match, including deciding not to run at all for a few of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez’s drop shots. Djokovic battled back from being 4-2 down against Tomaz Bellucci in both sets yesterday to come through and looks by far the fresher player.
Verdasco is hot on the clay this year having made the final at Monte-Carlo, then winning Barcelona last week. Verdasco will be hoping to ride his wave of form into another personal best, making the Rome semi finals after twice losing at the quarter final stage, in 2009 and 2005.
The 2nd match is between No.7 seed Tsonga and 28 year old Spaniard David Ferrer. Ferrer leads the ATP Tour with most match win in 2010 at 28 and leads the tour with most clay court match wins this year with 21. The 1.75m Ferrer achieved his best result in Rome in 2005 when he made the semi finals and on form, will be the favourite to equal that result.
When Tsonga plays it is usually with great enthusiasm and passion, so this match should be very entertaining. The 2008 Australian Open runner-up has never played No.13 seed Ferrer before, but with Tsonga’s power and flair he is just the type of player who can give Ferrer headaches.
The 3rd match of the day is between No.3 seed Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka. Nadal holds a 4-0 record against the 25 year old Wawrinka and will be expected to win in straight sets.
Nadal’s opponent made the final in Rome in 2008 by beating Marat Safin, Andy Murray, Juan Carlos Ferrero, James Blake and Andy Roddick one after the other. The 183m Swiss certainly knows how to cause on upset in Rome.
Wawrinka is on a roll again after making quick work of one of the hottest players on tour for the past year and the man who defeated Nadal at the 2009 French Open, Robin Soderling in the round of 16.
Pictured above is 28 year old left hander Feliciano Lopez just after making contact with the ball with his backhand volley. The 1.88m Spaniard plays the youngest player remaining in the draw, 21 year old Ernests Gulbis in the final singles match of the day beginning at 8:30pm in what should be an intense battle with a lot of great shot points. Both players like to go after their shots, which sets the stage for some interesting and aggressive tennis on the clay.
Lopez defeated Gulbis in their only previous encounter 6-2 6-4 in Stockholm, Sweden last year. Lopez has already achieved his best result here in Rome, as has his opponent, so both players will be hellbent on making the most of this great opportunity to make a Masters 1000 semi final.
The following are the results from yesterday:
- (2) Djokovic d. Bellucci 6- 6-4
- (6) Verdasco d. Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
- Gulbis d. (WC) Volandri 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
- (7) Tsonga d. (Q) Giraldo 6-3 6-4
- Lopez d. (11) Ljubicic retired
- (13) Ferrer d. (4) Murray 6-3 6-4
- Wawrinka d. (5) Soderling 6-3 6-2
- (1) Nadal d. Hanescu 6-3 6-2
The men’s quarter final singles draw is:
- (1) Federer Ernests Gulbis v. Feliciano Lopez (8) Cilic
- (3) Rafael Nadal v. Stanislas Wawrinka (5) Soderling
- (7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v. (13) David Ferrer (Murray)
- (6) Fernando Verdasco v. (2) Novak Djokovic
The player’s name that is bolded is OCA’s prediction of who will win each match. The player’s names who have a line drawn through them, are the seeded players who have been eliminated from that spot in the draw.
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Rome. For more details click-> Rome 2010: April 24 – May 8.
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