Three Former Winners in Men’s Singles Field
How in the world have Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz only met one time?
That might change at the Italian Open, the last of the ATP 1000 events before the French Open. However, the top two ranked players in the world can’t meet before the final.
Rafael Nadal, a 10-time winner in Rome, is not in the field because of his hip injury that leaves his participation in the French Open very much up in the air. That is obviously dominating the tennis news cycle.
Another storyline to look at is that there are five seeded Americans in the field in a tournament where no U.S.-born player has reached the final since Andre Agassi won the 2002 championship. Can Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda or Ben Shelton make an extended run in a deep field of contenders?
For those making ATP Italian Open predictions, the only players to beat Alcaraz this year are Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie – and they can’t meet Alcaraz until the final.
Veteran Richard Gasquet is among those in action on the first day as he is favored to beat Yibing Wu according to the ATP betting odds.
When looking at the tennis picks, Alcaraz (+125) and Djokovic (+220) are the favorites in the French Open outrights.
First Quarter: Djokovic Will be Tough to Stop
Novak Djokovic’s quest to make it to the Italian Open final for the fifth year in a row and ninth time in the last 10 years could include an early matchup with Stan Wawrinka. The two veterans have met 28 times and that includes two previous meetings in Rome.
Wawrinka would have to get by No. 26 seed Grigov Dimitrov. A Dimitrov-Djokovic third-round match might be interesting. They met in the Australian Open, their first matchup in four years, and Djokovic was tested in each of the three sets.
A showdown between Djokovic and No. 13 seed Cameron Norrie in the fourth round could be worth keeping an eye on. They last met at Wimbledon in 2022, with Norrie taking the first set before Djokovic got rolling.
The highest seeded player in Djokovic’s portion of the draw is No. 7 Holger Rune. Felix Auger-Aliassme and American Sebastian Korda are players that Rune might need to contend with.
Rune is eyeing his second title of 2023 after winning the title at Munich. He also reached the finals in Monte Carlo thanks to wins over Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. Rune has a chance to meet either former Italian Open champion Andy Murray or veteran Italian Fabio Fognini in the third round.
The sportsbook will have Rune heavily favored in those matchups even if the crowd in Rome will likely be pulling for the opponent.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Rune
Second Quarter: Sinner Looks to Delight Home Fans
Casper Ruud, the No. 4 seed, might have to deal with some American players. No. 28 seed Ben Shelton would be a possible third-round foe with 16th-seed Tommy Paul potentially drawing Ruud in the fourth quarter.
Shelton topped Ruud the first time they met, a second-round match in Cincinnati in 2022, before Ruud won the rematch 6-2, 7-6 earlier this year in Barcelona.
The last three meetings between Ruud and Paul have come in Grand Slams and that included five-set wins by Ruud in the second round of the 2020 French Open and third round of the 2022 US Open.
No. 8 Jannik Sinner, looking to become the first Italian player to win the tournament since it became a Masters event in 1990, could run into No. 11 Karen Khachanov before reaching the quarterfinals. Each of the previous three meetings went the distance with Sinner winning in Melbourne and Miami in 2021.
Gasquet is also in this bracket and he could be a possible opponent in the third round for Khachanov.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Ruud vs Sinner
Third Quarter: Plenty of Challenges for Medvedev
This is one loaded bracket with No. 3 seed Medvedev, sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Taylor Fritz, 2018 Italian Open finalist Alexander Zverev and Hubert Hurkacz among the challengers. A showdown between Medvedev and Hurkacz would be intriguing considering that Hurkacz is second on the tour in service aces and Medvedev is the top returner on tour.
Hurkacz leads the series with Medvedev 3-2 and that includes a marathon match at Wimbledon in 2021 that was won by the hard-hitting, 6-foot-5 Hurkacz.
He also won in the quarterfinals in last year’s Miami Open and the Halle title match in 2022. They have never met on clay. Zverev is 2-0 against Hurkacz and that includes winning in three sets on clay in Madrid two years ago.
Fritz had won three matches in a row against Rublev in 2021 and 2022 before Rublev won in three sets in the semifinals at Monte Carlo earlier this year. There could be some tennis live betting action if this match takes place. To view the ATP Miami Outrights and place bets on the outright winner for the ATP Miami tennis tournament.
Zverev would get either Italian wild card Luca Nardi or David Goffin, a four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, early on with a potential matchup on the horizon with Hurkacz. They haven’t met since 2021. For the latest odds and to place your bets on the outright winner of the ATP Miami tournament.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Medvedev vs Fritz
Fourth Quarter: Another Alcaraz-Tsitsipas Showdown?
Alcaraz is coming off tournament titles in Barcelona and Madrid. He took down three top-20 players in Madrid as he won his fourth title in 2023.
CARLOS DOES IT AGAIN! 🏆 🔥 @carlosalcaraz wins his 10th title taking out Struff 6-4 3-6 6-3! @MutuaMadridOpen | #MMOPEN pic.twitter.com/o9Kg6OOmYk
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 7, 2023
He faced Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona final and they could square off in the quarterfinals.
Before that happens, he might need to meet up with No. 20 seed Daniel Evans or No. 15 Borna Coric. Evans and Alcaraz met in the semifinals in Barcelona. Alcaraz also had a semifinal matchup with Coric in Madrid and he won both of those matches in straight sets.
Tsitsipas reached the 2022 final in Rome. There are four Italians in the top half of the quarter along with 12th-seeded American Tiafoe. Expect the ATP Italian Open betting action to pick up if the homegrown players advance during the tournament.
Tiafoe topped Alcaraz on clay in the 2021 Barcelona event before they played a classic five-set match at the 2022 US Open won by Alcaraz.
Tiafoe has won three of the five meetings with Tsitsipas, including the last two matchups. Four of those meetings came on hard courts and the other was on the grass at Wimbledon.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Alcaraz vs Tsitsipas
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Way Too Early Predictions for Semifinals, Final
- Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Sinner
- Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Medvedev vs Alcaraz
- Final: Sinner vs Alcaraz