5 Things We Learned From Rome
ATPWorldTour.com takes a look back at what we learned from the season's third and final Masters 1000 tournament on clay
1. Rafa Back On Top
Rafael Nadal is back at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. The Spaniard, who won his eighth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title on Sunday (d. Zverev), begins his 174th week at the peak of the mountain.
Nadal also remains alone atop the all-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles leaderboard. The Spaniard passed Novak Djokovic last month after winning his 11th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters crown to capture his 31st Masters 1000 title. And with his eighth Rome crown, Nadal now has 32 Masters 1000 titles to Djokovic's 30.
2. Novak Is Back?
Speaking of Novak, is the Serbian officially “back”? It sure seemed that way in Rome, where Djokovic has now reached 12 quarter-finals in 12 appearances.
In his seventh tournament of 2018, the former No. 1 made his first tour-level quarter-final and semi-final of the season before falling to Nadal. Djokovic, though, still leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 26-25.
3. Kei Is Back, Too?
Djokovic, who's on the comeback from minor right-elbow surgery, wasn't the only former Top 5 player who looked in mid-season form in Italy. Former No. 4 Kei Nishikori, on the comeback from right-wrist surgery, made his second Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season (Monte-Carlo final, l. to Nadal) before falling to Djokovic 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.
The Japanese right-hander dismissed Feliciano Lopez in straight sets before fighting off then-No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov in three sets. Nishikori then dropped only three games against German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
4. Zverev Hitting Best Level Yet
Last year, Alexander Zverev announced his presence at one of the biggest tournaments on the ATP World Tour by winning the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, his maiden Masters 1000 title. Twelve months later, Zverev is making a habit of reaching Masters 1000 finals.
The No. 3 player in the ATP Rankings has now made five Masters 1000 title matches – 2017 Rome, 2017 Montreal, 2018 Miami, 2018 Madrid and 2018 Rome – and he's won three of the prestigious titles, including the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open earlier this month (d. Thiem). The 21-year-old has more Masters 1000 titles than any active player outside the “Big Four” of Nadal, Roger Federer, Djokovic and Andy Murray. Zverev is also in first place in the ATP Race To London.
5. Goffin As Resilient As Ever
In 2017, no one had more come-from-behind wins on the ATP World Tour than David Goffin (14). This year, the Belgian is as resilient as ever.
The 27-year-old reached the Rome quarter-finals, his fifth quarter-final of 2018, and he had to come back to do it. In the second round, Goffin fell behind a set against home favourite and Gazprom Hungarian Open titlist Marco Cecchinato. But Goffin came back for his fifth come-from-behind win of the season, according to his FedEx ATP Win/Loss Record.