Preview: Semifinalists Wanted In Rome | ATP Tours

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 Preview: Semifinalists Wanted In Rome |  ATP Tours

Friday is the day of the quarterfinals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, with four standout matches set in the men’s singles and doubles competitions. Four of the top 5 individual seeds remain, led by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, with Chile’s Cristian Garin the only unseeded player in the bottom eight.

On Center Court, fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Jannik Sinner in an Australian Open rematch before Casper Ruud takes on Denis Shapovalov and Djokovic takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime. Second seed Alexander Zverev will open the game against Garin at the Grand Stand Arena, where the Italians of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini close out the day against eighth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies of Germany.

See Singles Chart | See Doubles Table | See Complete Program

[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [10] Jannik Sinner (ITA)

Tsitsipas saved two match points in his first-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov and won another three sets against Karen Khachanov on Thursday as he seeks his second ATP Masters 1000 title of the season. His third-round win improved his season record to 29-9, overtaking Carlos Alcaraz for the ATP Tour wins lead in 2022.

Sinner, who has won three matches to reach the quarterfinals, is not far behind at 24-5. The home favorite is playing in the Rome quarter-finals for the first time and will need to reverse a lopsided loss at the Australian Open to move forward.

The Greek, who will overtake Rafael Nadal to claim No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday, posted a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Sinner in the Melbourne quarterfinals and has a record of 3-1 in his ATP Head2Head. The other two meetings in Rome in 2019 and 2020, were one for each, with Sinner taking the second matchup in straight sets.

“Every match is a different story,” Tsitsipas said when asked about his record. “We have met on clay, but each game has its own story to tell. I know for sure that he will come out playing free and he will be very motivated to do well in front of his home and crowd. I am going to have to deal with this and also with my tennis at the same time.

“My job is to go out there and play tennis. Of course, he has a little bit more support, which is normal. He’s going to have some things going for him. But in the end I need to play good tennis and really prove myself in the court”.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SER) vs. [8] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)

Djokovic and Auger-Aliassime meet for the first time on Friday, and the Serb needs a victory to secure his permanence atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He currently sits second to Daniil Medvedev in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, having lost the 600 points he defends from his final race in Rome a year ago.

Auger-Aliassime, who entered Roma at a career-best No. 9, has improved one place in the Live Rankings by reaching the quarter-finals and would rise to No. 7 with the title. After earning a three-set victory against Monte Carlo finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match, the Canadian edged out Marcos Giron in the round of 16.

Djokovic has lost just nine games in his two Rome matches, looking good against Aslan Karatsev and Stan Wawrinka. In addition to playing to maintain the No. 1 ranking ahead of Roland Garros, he is also two wins away from his 1,000th career win.

Although they haven’t met in the thick of the competition, the Serb is familiar with the 21-year-old and his game. “I’ve known Felix for quite a few years,” said Djokovic, who reached at least the quarterfinals in his 16 appearances in Rome. “He’s established, a Top 10 player, so he’s up there. He’s as hard-working on the Tour as he looks and he’s a good guy. His whole game is improving. He is getting better on clay. I know the game of him and what is expected.”

[5] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. [13] Denis Shapovalov (CAN)

Ruud won his only previous ATP Head2Head meeting with Shapovalov in the 2021 Geneva final last May. The Norwegian is regaining his form on European clay, as he bounced back from a first-round elimination in Madrid with wins against Botic van de Zandschulp and Jenson Brooksby. A semi-finalist in both Monte-Carlo and Madrid last season, the Norwegian went on a 4-4 run following his surprise run to the Miami hard-court final in March.

Shapovalov bounced back from a set down against an injury-hindered Rafael Nadal on Thursday, earning a measure of revenge after missing two match points in a 2021 Rome loss against the Spaniard. “Casper is extremely difficult,” anticipated the Canadian. “I’ve only faced him once and he outplayed me. He’s an opponent with almost no weaknesses, so it’s going to be another challenging match for me.”

[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. Cristian Garin (CHI)

In the only men’s singles match at the Grand Stand Arena, Zverev and Garin meet for the first time since the Chilean defeated Zverev at home in the 2019 Munich quarterfinals.

Zverev, the 2017 Rome champion, beat Sebastian Baez and Alex de Minaur in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. He was happy with his performance against the Aussie on Thursday, but said he still needs to work on his serve, which caused him problems in his run to the final in Madrid last week.

Garin scored his first two wins in Rome in dominant fashion, but had to go the distance to knock out Marin Cilic in the round of 16. The 25-year-old is a five-time ATP Tour champion, with all of his titles coming on clay. He is seeking his first title in 2022 after a slow start to the season that included a five-game losing streak, emphatically ending with a run to the semifinals in Houston in April.

By reaching the quarter-finals in Rome, Garin rose nine places to No. 36 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He reached a career-high No. 17 in the ATP Rankings in September 2021.

Double

In addition to the Bolelli/Fognini vs. Krawietz/Mies at the Grand Stand Arena, three more doubles quarterfinals will be played on Court 1. In the only meeting between the top seeds, the Croatian duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will face Madrid champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski.

And in what promises to be an entertaining battle between two unlikely quarter-finalists, the first couple of John Isner and Diego Schwartzman will take on the last-minute backup duo of Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara, who traveled to Rome early on Wednesday to take their place in the draw.

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