Day 4 of the 2019 Italian Open will feature the remaining second round matches, including the first appearances of top seeds Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem.
ATP Italian Open Day 4 Predictions
Roger Federer vs Joao Sousa
Roger Federer vs Joao Sousa
Head to head: Federer 1-0
We think it’s kind of clear against which types of opponents Federer might struggle against on clay. He has trouble with hard hitters and great retrievers. Although Sousa definitely doesn’t fall into the first category, he is pretty good at chasing down balls and surely can make it tough for the Swiss if he’s struggling to adapt to the slower Rome conditions. That said though, Federer has to get used to the surface at some point, and from then on it will be extremely tough for a player of Sousa’s firepower to keep up with the Swiss.
Prediction: Federer in 2
David Goffin vs Juan Martin Del Potro
Head to head: Goffin 3-1
Another injury stopped Del Potro from starting this year in a regular manner. After a brief run at Delray Beach in February, the Argentinian came back for Madrid where he lost a closely-contested (two match points wasted) encounter against Laslo Djere. The luck of the draw wasn’t too kind for him in Rome as he was drawn to face the winner of a clash between David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka. Somewhat surprisingly, the Belgian managed to win this match, storming back after losing the first set and only losing two games after that.
Although Del Potro’s forehand is still a force to be reckoned with, in the long run, Goffin is simply more match fit and it will be hard for the Argentinian to quickly shake off the rust. THis is one of the rare cases where it would have been better for Del Potro to actually play the first round and not get a bye into the second round, where a better opponent awaits.
Prediction: Goffin in 3
Rafael Nadal vs Jeremy Chardy
Head to head: Nadal 2-0
2019 has been one of Nadal’s worst clay court seasons so far. The Spaniard is yet to win a title this year and lost three straight semifinals in a row (to Fognini, Thiem and Tsitsipas). His aura of untouchability is no longer there and it might allow some players to play him with more confidence. Can Chardy benefit from that? The Frenchman had a pretty good run in Madrid, defeating Ramos-Vinolas and Schwartzman. He also held set points in the second set against Novak Djokovic. His forehand is very big and can be close to unbeatable when he’s on, so we wouldn’t count out him taking a set, but even if it goes the distance expect Nadal to be simply a much more consistent player.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Dominic Thiem vs Fernando Verdasco
Head to head: Verdasco 3-0
A very curious head-to-head, three different surfaces and three matches won by Fernando Verdasco. Their match on clay happened last year in Rio de Janeiro and ended with a second set bagel. However, with the form Thiem’s in now, having defeated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the last two weeks, it’s the perfect chance for him to take revenge. Verdasco does throw in a brilliant performance from time to time, but he’s a very confidence-driven player and with his current results, we don’t expect him to be too sure of his abilities.
Prediction: Thiem in 2
Novak Djokovic vs Denis Shapovalov
Head to head: Djokovic 1-0
Shapovalov finally managed to score a win this clay court season, coming out on top yesterday against Pablo Carreno Busta. The Canadian finds it hard to be patient enough on the red stuff and ends up mistiming his hyper-aggressive shots. However, if he can hold it together and patiently wait for a chance, he might be a dangerous opponent (reached a semifinal in Madrid last year). His only encounter vs Djokovic came at this year’s Australian Open, and it was the only set the Serbian lost in the whole tournament. Shapovalov fought his natural instincts there and played more defensively, which somehow made Djokovic start leaking errors. Is it the right tactic for tomorrow’s match? Probably not, and it’s doubtful whether Shapovalov can execute his shots well enough to trouble the last week’s Mutua Madrilena Open champion.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
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