The top eight seeds at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia ATP 1000 have advanced to the round of 16 at the Foro Italico in Rome. This is the third and the final Super Series before the French Open starting May 24 at the Roland Garros, Paris.
Novak Djokovic who won at Monte Carlo and missed the Madrid event last week had a three set win over former world no 9 Nicolas Almagro of Spain winning 6-1,6-7(5),6-3. He is on a 18 match win streak since loosing to Roger Federer at the Dubai Dutyfree final on February 28 and became the only player in history to win the first three Masters event at Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo. He is now 31-2 in 2015 and next plays the left hander Thomaz Belluci of Brazil who upset the 24th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets. Roger Federer, who suffered a second round loss to the Australian Nick Kyrgios, was upto the task against the Uruguyan Pablo Cuevas whom he beat in the final of the inaugural Istanbul Open ATP as he won 7-6(3),6-4 and next faces the South African Kevin Anderson.
Third seeded Andy Murray who won his maiden clay court title in Munich and then won the Madrid Open last Sunday continued his impressive form battling fatigue and the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4,6-3. Another Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga wasted 2 match points against the Belgian David Goffin who next plays Murray. Rafael Nadal who was runner up in Madrid and is still searching for a title on European clay leading upto the French Open which would extend his streak since 2005 was an easy 6-2,6-0 winner over the Turk Marcel Ilhan and now plays the lone American left in the draw John Isner.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the Barcelona Open champion defeated Jiri Vesley of the Czech Republic 7-6(3),7-5 and next plays the Serbian Victor Troicki who came from behind to beat the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in three sets. Tomas Berdych won his second round match against the local lad Matteo Donati 6-2,6-4 now faces the top Italian Fabio Fognini who upset the 9th seeded Grigor Dmitrov in three sets.
David Ferrer winner of Doha, Rio De Janeiro and Acapulco but who has done little on European clay beat the Estoril Open champion Richard Gasquet 6-4,7-5 and next faces the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez who has two titles in 2015 winning in Zagreb and Bucharest. The 2014 Australian Open and the winner in Chennai and Rotterdam this year Stanislas Wawrinka who scored a 4-6,6-3,6-2 win over the Argentine Juan Monaco and now faces the Austrian Dominic Thiem.
The line-up for the last sixteen with my picks mentioned first is :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Thomaz Belluci (-
Kei Nishikori (5) v. Victor Troicki (-)
Andy Murray (3) v. David Goffin (-)
David Ferrer (7) v. Guillermo Garcia Lopez (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) v. Dominic Thiem (-)
Rafael Nadal (4) v. John Isner (16)
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Fabio Fognini (-)
Roger Federer (2) v. Kevin Anderson (15)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]