Thursday was one crazy day at the 2019 Italian Open as most of the players had to endure two grueling clay court matches after not a single point was played on Wednesday due to rain. The athletes won’t get a day off though, as they need to come out on court again. Check out our ATP Italian Open Quarterfinal Predictions.
ATP Italian Open Quarterfinal Predictions
Rafael Nadal vs Fernando Verdasco
Head to head: Nadal 17-3
It will be a day of fascinating rivalries on Friday. This one, despite looking very one-sided, does have a lot of quality (their 2009 Australian Open semifinal is to this date often listed as one the best matches ever). It took the older Spaniard fourteen tries to finally defeat his nemesis on blue clay at Madrid in 2012. Not so sure whether Verdasco can get another win tomorrow though, as there’s just one word to describe Nadal’s performance yesterday: scary. The world No.2 lost a game against Chardy and then a game against Basilashvili. These two wins took him just two hours and ten minute,s and he won’t feel it that much in the legs. Verdasco, however, will find it tough to overcome the weariness after he had to scrape through Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov in two draining three-setters.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Diego Schwartzman vs Kei Nishikori
Head to head: Nishikori 3-0
For both men, the clay court season is usually the best time of the year. It wasn’t exactly like that in 2019 so far, though, as Nishikori has a sole Barcelona semifinal (lost to Daniil Medvedev) while Schwartzman had yet to win three matches in a row before this tournament. The Argentinian won all his matches in Rome in straight sets, including two Thursday against Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Matteo Berrettini. None of the previous matches in this rivalry ended in straight sets. A decent retriever exposed Nishikori’s poor form (Medvedev, Lajovic, Hurkacz) multiple times this year. We believe Schwartzman will also be better prepared physically and should take this match if it goes the distance.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 3
Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin Del Potro
Head to head: Djokovic 15-4
Another blast from the past rivalry. Del Potro had some great matches against the Serb, taking him down twice at the Olympic Games. However, on this surface it never really was close. Djokovic leads 3-0 and 7-1 in sets in clay court matches, and it’s hard to imagine him not improving on that. The recent Mutua Madrilena Open champion made very quick work of Denis Shapovalov and Philipp Kohlschreiber Thursday, and seems to be in amazing shape again. Meanwhile, the Argentinian is playing just his third tournament of the year after fracturing his knee last October. He got some match rhythm yesterday, defeating David Goffin and Casper Ruud, but even if his rocket forehand is firing, it would simply be a little foolish to expect him to be ready for the World no.1.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Roger Federer vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head to head: 1-1
It’s very hard to assess how Federer will do Thursday. The 37-year-old played an equivalent of a five-setter on Thursday. After comfortably getting through Joao Sousa, the Swiss found himself down a set against Borna Coric and ultimately had to save two match points to win in a deciding tie-break. To play two matches in a day at this age is toug,h but the most difficult thing comes when he’ll have to take the court once again less than 24 hours after the Coric marathon. I wouldn’t normally make this comparison, but it seems like Federer might meet his younger, harder-hitting self tomorrow. Tsitsipas has a more reliable backhand and although he’s nowhere near the Swiss when it comes to variety and shotmaking, it probably won’t really matter. The Greek finished his match against Fabio Fognini very late in the evening but will no doubt be much fresher than Federer anyway.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
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