This set of matches in the second round in Rome present a variety of match ups and styles of tennis. Young talents such as Andrey Rublev, Pedro Martinez, and Hubert Hurkacz are playing to earn their rankings with a good run. The Canadian duo of Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic are looking to capitalize on good form post-quarantine and play on a surface they are not the most comfortable on to prepare for the French Open. Diego Schwartzman will use his excellent return game on the slow clay and has the potential to make noise this week, Many matches even this early in the tournament will be competitive and sure to make for an interesting tournament.
Pedro Martinez vs Denis Shapovalov
Head-to-head: first meeting
Martinez is a young clay court specialist who played well early in the season on the dirt and looked good in his round one win. Shapovalov did not have much time to get ready for the clay but did not miss a step in the first round by making quick work against talented clay courter Guido Pella. Shapovalov could be hurt with his big ground strokes with as slow as the courts are playing in Rome, but his ability shown in round one and he still has the game to win points where he can really wind up on his backhand. Martinez is a good player and will keep it interesting but Shapovalov will take the match.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 3
Diego Schwartzman vs John Millman
Head-to-head: 1-0 Millman
Schwartzman is looking to make a good run here in Rome after a disappointing quarterfinal exit last week. Millman is coming off a good win in a tight match against Joao Sousa, but lost in the first round last week on a surface he is not very comfortable on. Schwarzman has had success on all surfaces, but some of his best wins and two of his three career titles have come on clay. Millman is a big match player so he is sure to bring his best tennis, but he plays much better on hard courts. Schwartzman will use his fitness and strong return to wear down Millman and win fairly easily.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 2
Hubert Hurkacz VS Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: first meeting
These two young guns face off for the first time looking to make a rare deep run on clay. Hurkacz had an impressive first round win against Dan Evans, but historically has struggled on clay with just a 6-12 career record at tour level entering Rome. Clay is also far from Rublev’s best surface, but he had a .500 record and one title on the surface. Rublev had a short time to transition to clay, but like several other players in the draw looked unaffected in a straight set first round win. Hurkacz is also coming off an ugly straight set loss in Austria and his past struggles on play do not give him much of an edge against the talented Rublev.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Milos Raonic vs Dusan Lajovic
Head-to-head: 1-0 Raonic
This match will probably be the most competitive of this set. Raonic is a great player and the high bounce off his big serve is tough to defend. Lajovic is most comfortable on clay and his one career title was on the surface. The slow courts in Rome can also allow him to return deeper as many player have been doing to counter Raonic’s big serve. Raonic however has been in great form after quarantine and although his statistics are worse relative to other surfaces are still strong. This match will be a good fight but Raonic’s experience and drive to get back to where he was will give him a slight edge in the likely tiebreakers.
Prediction: Raonic in 3