All the top seeds with the exception of Andy Murray who conceded his match have safely entered the quarter-final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome led by the world number one Novak Djokovic. Murray the winner of back to back events in Munich and Madrid cited fatigue and did not take to the court against the Belgian David Goffin who had earlier saved 3 match points against the Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga and now enters his first ATP 1000 quarter-final.
The top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic who won this event in 2008, 2011 & 2014 looked rusty in his three set win over the Brazilian left hander Tomas Berdych coming from behind to win 5-7,6-2,6-3 and will need to show improved form in his quarter-final clash against Kei Nishikori of Japan who had an easy 6-4,6-3 win against another Serb Victor Troicki. David Ferrer next plays the unseeded Goffin after a surprisingly easy 6-1,6-3 victory over fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez.
In the opening match of the day the seven time champion Rafael Nadal looked in ominous form as he completed a 6-4,6-4 rout of the lone American left in the draw John Isner. Nadal who won in 2005, 2006,2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2013 improved to 6-0 against Isner to set up a rematch of the 2014 Australian Open final against the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka who had a 7-6(3), 6-4 win over the Austrian Dominic Thiem. Roger Federer failed to serve out his match twice to the South African Kevin Anderson but quickly recovered his composure to register a 6-3,7-5 win to set up a meeting with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who was made to fight all the way by the Italian Fabio Fognini before winning 6-3,3-6,7-6(2).
The quarter-final line up to be played on Friday with my pick mentioned first along with the head to head record is:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Kei Nishikori (5); Djokovic leads 3-2
David Ferrer (7) v. David Goffin (-) : Ferrer leads 1-0
Rafael Nadal (4) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (8) ; Nadal leads 12-1
Roger Federer(2) v. Tomas Berdych (6) ; Federer leads 13-6.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have the additional incentive of avenging previous losses in grand slams against their respective opponents. Djokovic lost to Nishikori in the semi-final of the 2014 U.S. Open, Federer was beaten in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon 2010 and U.S. Open 2012 by Berdych and Nadal lost the 2014 Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka. They would be eager to erase that memory and Ferrer’s experience should prevail in the “Battle of the David’s” against Goffin.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]