Wednesday’s lineup includes some of the biggest names of the sport. Following are the matches to look forward to
1) Roger Federer (3) vs Alexander Zverev
This undoubtedly will be the match of the day. In this first battle of King vs Kid, it will be interesting to see how resistive can Zverev be against Federer, playing his first clay court match in a month. Zverev stormed past 6-1, 6-4 against Dimitrov in the previous round, which only a few saw coming. The 19 year old has been playing some good tennis this year. On the other hand, Federer comes to Rome after having skipped Madrid masters as he was hampered by a back injury.
Prediction: Zverev might’ve won against Baby Federer, but it seems highly unlikely for him to win this encounter against the real Federer, because of the enormous experience Roger carries, no matter even if he is playing after a month. He sure will face some challenges from the German teenager but will not lose. A straight sets win for Federer is predicted.
2) Rafael Nadal (5) vs Phillip Kohlschreiber
The King of Clay begins hunt for an elusive 8th crown in the Italian capital against Kohlschreiber. The two play each other for the 15th time. The rivalry heavily favours Nadal, the Spaniard leading 13-1. He has had a excellent clay court season, thanks to his outstanding victories in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and a semifinal run at the Madrid Masters. Kohlschreiber also has had a pretty decent time on clay, winning title in Munich and making semifinals at Barcelona, losing to the eventual champion Nadal.
Prediction: It will be an extremely easy day at office for Nadal. Will sweep past Kohlschreiber in straight sets.
3) Novak Djokovic (1) vs Stephane Robert
Top seed Djokovic is fresh off his tournament victory in Madrid against Andy Murray. He looks to add one more masters series win to his already amazing season. He begins his campaign against the French qualifier in the second match on Centre Court. This is the first meeting between the two. Robert beat Bedene in two tiebreaks in his previous match.
Prediction: A no brainer, Djokovic to thump Robert in straight sets. A loss like the one in Monte Carlo seems highly unlikely to happen.
4) Andy Murray (2) vs Mikhail Kukushkin
The two are set to play each other for the fourth time. Murray has played some sensational tennis this year on clay. He lost to Nadal in semifinals at the Monte Carlo Masters but avenged it last week in Madrid. Then he pushed Djokovic to the limit in the finals.
Even though he failed to defend his title and slipped to number 3 spot in the rankings, the Brit seems better than ever on clay. He recently split with his coach of two years, Amelie Mauresmo. But with an easy draw, he will look to make yet another deep run. Kukushkin beat Coric in three sets in his last match.
Prediction: Murray to register a straight sets victory without much trouble, winning a 4th match against his opponent.
Milos Raonic (10) vs Nick Kyrgios
This will be an extremely high quality 5th meeting between the two. Both these players are in a very good form on clay. Both of them have great potential to threaten the top order. Both of them were quarterfinalists in Madrid a week ago.
They’ve played four times against each other, two wins apiece. Raonic had won their first and only meeting on clay, in 2014 at the French Open. But Kyrgios had the upper hand in their last two meetings. It will undoubtedly be one hell of a match if both of them play in their top form.
Prediction: Tough call, Kyrgios to win in three sets.
Dominic Thiem vs Joao Sousa
Guillermo Garcia Lopez vs David Ferrer
Roberto Bautista Agut OR Paolo Lorenzi vs Jeremy Chardy
Richard Gasquet vs Andreas Seppi
Nicolas Mahut vs Thomas Bellucci
Tuesday’s Round of 32 results-
Nishikori beat Troicki: 5-7 6-2 6-3
Pouille beat Gulbis: 3-6 6-4 7-5
Berdych beat Ramos-Vinolas: 6-3 6-4
Monaco beat Anderson: 3-6 6-3 6-2
-Vishakha Khandelwal [Vishakha is a Tennis Analyst for Sportz Cosmos. You can reach her at the gmail id : sportzcosmos]