Clay court tennis is back in full flight as the first round of the 2020 ATP Italian Open in Rome continues. Seeded 13th, Milos Raonic will try to find his best tennis on a surface that doesn’t really suit his game. Meanwhile, 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato will see if he can channel some of that form that brought him so far on the Parisian clay. Who do you think will advance from Tuesday’s matches?
ATP Rome Day 2 Predictions
Marco Cecchinato vs Kyle Edmund
Head-to-head: Edmund 1-0
Kyle Edmund won their only meeting back in Nice in 2016 but it shouldn’t be of much importance coming into this one. While Marco Cecchinato is far from the form that brought him to a Roland Garros semifinal two years ago, the Italian is still a player whose variety makes it hard to battle him on a clay court. Cecchinato looked great in battling through the qualifying here, only dropping one set in three matches. For Edmund, it’s going to be a first clay match this season and it’s likely to be a rusty start.
Prediction: Cecchinato in 3
Joao Sousa vs John Millman
Head-to-head: First meeting
Joao Sousa has been massively struggling this year. Before this week, his only win this season was against world No. 811, Julius Tverijonas, in a Davis Cup rubber against Lithuania. He’s managed to get two victories in the qualifying campaign though but ultimately failed against Tennys Sandgren 3-6 0-6. Despite that lackluster performance, he still found his place in the main draw thanks to a lucky loser spot. But in the first round, he’ll meet a player who would much rather contest this on any other surface. John Millman’s game is really not well-suited to clay, he’s 0-4 in his career at the main draw of Roland Garros and only has one Masters 1000 win on the surface. This should be a great chance for Sousa to keep rebuilding his confidence.
Prediction: Sousa in 3
Dusan Lajovic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Head-to-head: First meeting
Even if you include exhibitions, Dusan Lajovic hasn’t won a match since February. The Serbian is usually a fantastic clay courter, as proved by his Monte Carlo Masters runner-up finish last year. But with his confidence in shambles, his game has also gone missing lately. A qualifier might seem like a good draw then but Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is certainly not some qualifier right now. Following a fourth-round run at the US Open, the Spaniard was able to keep up that form and score three impressive victories here already. His unusual game will not allow Lajovic to get the baseline rhythm he craves.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 2
Milos Raonic vs Adrian Mannarino
Head-to-head: Raonic 2-1
This certainly isn’t the favorite part of the season for both. Milos Raonic’s biggest assets of his serve and his forehand do significantly less damage on the dirt, and Adrian Mannarino’s flat shots can really struggle to penetrate the court in such slow conditions. Raonic holds a head-to-head win from Roland Garros four years ago though, and while it’s unlikely to be that straightforward as four years ago, he should be the one to take more out of the situation. His movement has been consistently improving and if he can get his shot selection right, he will be able to win rather comfortably.
Prediction: Raonic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.