There might not be fans, but the play at the ATP Rome Masters is still a lot of fun to watch. The king of clay, Rafael Nadal, takes to the court on Wednesday in Rome for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Who will win and who will fall short? Read on to find out!
ATP Rome Masters Day 3 Predictions
Matteo Berrettini vs Federico Coria
Head to Head: 1-0 Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini starts his Rome campaign against Federico Coria. Berrettini is playing his first official match this season on clay, but does have some exhibition experience during the pandemic, including a couple wins over Roberto Bautista Agut. Federico Coria did well to qualify for Rome and got a huge first round win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
Berrettini comfortably won a clay court Challenger matchup between the two. His game is far too big for Coria to handle. He should be able to control the court with his serve and forehand. Berrettini will move on to the round of 16.
Prediction: Berrettini in 2
Marco Cecchinato vs Filip Krajinovic
Head to Head: 4-3 Krajinovic
After qualifying for Rome, Marco Cecchinato pulled out a tight match over Kyle Edmund today. The Italian used his variety to puzzle Edmund and set up a match with Filip Krajinovic. Krajinovic comfortably took down Felix Auger-Aliassime in his first round match.
Krajinovic leads the head to head 4-3, but Cecchinato is up 3-2 on clay. This should be a tight match. Expect Krajinovic’s consistency from the baseline and depth/weight of shot to be just a little too much for Cecchinato to handle. Krajinovic advances.
Prediction: Krajinovic in 3
Marin Cilic vs David Goffin
Head to Head: 4-3 Goffin
Marin Cilic came back from a set deficit to beat Alexander Bublik in the first round of Rome. Cilic served very well in that match, having not been broken all match and not facing a break point in the last two sets. David Goffin is playing his first match in Rome after a round of 16 appearance at the US Open.
Goffin leads the head to head 4-3 (not including an exhibition), but Cilic won the only match on clay, having beaten Goffin at 2017 Rome. Goffin’s baseline-centric game suits clay a little better than Cilic’s game. Cilic is certainly not a clay courter, but having already played a match in Rome, that will give him a slight edge at the beginning. However, once Goffin gets adjusted, he should be able to get into more Cilic service games than Bublik, sliding past Cilic into the round of 16.
Prediction: Goffin in 3
Pablo Carreno Busta vs Rafael Nadal
Head to Head: 5-0 Nadal
There’s no accolades that feel appropriate enough to describe Rafael Nadal on clay. The 12-time French Open champion is a menace on the surface and no one else comes close to him. This will be Nadal’s first match since the start of the pandemic, including exhibitions. Pablo Carreno Busta, on the other hand, is coming off of a US Open semifinal where he was one set away from the final. Given that he was injured towards the end of the US Open and has a short turnaround, it will be interesting to see the energy level he brings.
Nadal leads the head to head 5-0 and is 3-0 on clay. Carreno Busta has only won one set against Nadal. While Nadal might be a little rusty given the lack of match play, he should be able to get readjusted quickly on clay. In addition, Carreno Busta might not be 100% due to the physically-taxing US Open. But, let’s be honest, even if he was 100%, he isn’t beating Nadal. Nadal has an extremely heavy lefty forehand that provides massive challenges for opponents. His speed and variety are also unmatched and provide him with huge advantages on clay. There’s really nothing I can say here that will do the Nadal game justice on clay. It’s probably best to just say this: Nadal will win this match very easily.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Main Photo from Getty.