Nadal Handed Immediate Test In Rome Return
Spaniard shares bottom half of the draw with Tsitsipas
In his first appearance since the ATP Tour suspension in March, the nine-time titlist will need to be at the top of his game when he meets his countryman for the sixth time in their ATP Head2Head series (Nadal leads 5-0). Carreno Busta has made a strong return to the ATP Tour, reaching his second US Open semi-final earlier this week. The Spaniard also lifted his maiden doubles trophy at the Western & Southern Open last month.
Nadal and Carreno Busta most recently met in the third round of this year’s Australian Open, with Nadal winning in straight sets. If the 34-year-old gets past Carreno Busta, he could meet Western & Southern Open finalist Milos Raonic in the third round. Nadal shares the bottom quarter of the draw with eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and US Open quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev.
The five-time year-end World No. 1 enters Rome with a 13-3 record this year. At his most recent event in February, Nadal did not drop a set en route to his 85th tour-level trophy at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco.
Chasing his 10th title at the Foro Italico, the Spaniard will look to add to his 61-6 record at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Nadal is currently on a 10-match winning streak in Rome, having won the past two editions of the tournament. The 35-time ATP Masters 1000 winner won three-set battles against Alexander Zverev in the 2018 championship match and Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.
Djokovic will headline the top half of the draw in the Italian capital. The Serbian will open his bid for a fifth Rome crown against Salvatore Caruso or a qualifier. Djokovic could meet #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round. The four-time champion is joined in the top quarter by fifth seed Gael Monfils and 2008 runner-up Stan Wawrinka.
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas features in the bottom half of the draw alongside Nadal. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion will begin his title bid against Benoit Paire or Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner. Tsitsipas, who reached the semi-finals last year, shares the third quarter of the draw with seventh seed Fabio Fognini, US Open quarter-finalist Denis Shapovalov and 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Home favourite Matteo Berrettini leads the way in the second quarter. The fourth seed will face Jan-Lennard Struff or a qualifier in his opening match. Sixth seed David Goffin, 11th seed Karen Khachanov and this year’s Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro champion Cristian Garin are also present in Berrettini’s section of the draw.
Did You Know?
If Nadal triumphs for the third straight year in Rome, he will capture a 10th trophy at a single event for the fourth time in his career. The Manacor native owns 12 Roland Garros trophies and has won 11 crowns at both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Roger Federer is the only other player to have reached double digits at a single ATP Tour event in the Open Era. The Swiss owns 10 trophies at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle and the Swiss Indoors Basel.