As the tennis season rolls on towards the second Grand Slam, the ATPs top stars will head to Italy this week for what should be a gripping Rome Masters.
After last week’s entertaining Madrid Masters event, the anticipation for the French Open is rapidly increasing and the Italian Open should be another brilliant tournament.
The road to France is really hotting up.
The Road To Roland Garros
With this being the final tournament before the French Open, those involved with the Italian Open will be determined to build some momentum and rhythm ahead of that Grand Slam.
The likes of Murray, Nadal, Wawrinka, Federer and Djokovic will all be ready to perform in Italy. The most notable absence will be that of Juan Martin del Potro, who is nursing a wrist injury.
Britain’s Andy Murray will be considered an outsider for this event, but the Scottish star will be desperate to get a good week under his belt here. The British number has a bye to round two, where he will meet the winner of Lopez or Granollers.
Murray suffered a disappointing third-round loss to, world number 47, Santiago Giraldo in Spain and will hope for a more positive showing in Italy. However, he could be set for another early exit in Rome.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will also return after withdrawing from Madird due to an arm injury.
Favourite Nadal Out For Another Title
Defending champion Rafael Nadal is aiming to defend his title with what would be a record-breaking eighth success in the Italian capital.
The Spaniard is an absolute machine on clay and lifted the Madrid Masters on Sunday, despite putting in a below par performance against an injured Nishikori in the final. The world number 1 has reached the last five finals, winning four, and will be looking to continue his personal progress as he attempts to find a return to his very best in time for the French Open.
Nadal’s win in his home country guarantees that he will enter the French Open as the world number 1, he’ll be aiming for a ninth title there. The Spaniard will be fully expected to complete his preparations for Roland Garros in style.
Rome Masters Betting
Unsurprisingly, world number 1 Nadal is the odds on favourite (4/5, Bet365) to defend his title with yet another victory on his favoured surface.
The King of Clay is still some way short of his very best, but it is hard to argue against his credentials in Italy. The timing of this event makes it a hugely important event within the tennis calendar and Nadal should have a great chance of claiming another tournament win.
As for the round 1 matches, we’re going for the following treble:
With the top seeds not playing until the second round, it’s hard to get too involved with the first-round action. However, if Nishikori does take to court on Tuesday then it may be worth backing Gulbis.