Mercurial talents, near-flawless champions, and contrasting styles will all be on display on the fifth day of competition at the Rome Masters. As top players hone their form in preparation for the French Open, others search for confidence after recent hard court setbacks.
ATP Rome Masters Day Five Predictions
Ugo Humbert vs Denis Shapovalov
Head-to-head: Humbert 1-1 Shapovalov
Denis Shapovalov’s massive groundstrokes benefit from the added time a clay court provides. He already made the quarterfinals of the US Open where he was only stopped by the cool-headedness of Pablo Correno Busta. His power baseline game is a challenge for any player. He can crowd and overwhelm Humbert. The Frenchman has already dispatched two strong opponents in Kevin Anderson and Fabio Fognini, but a player with Shapovalov’s speed and power will be a tougher challenge and one likely too great for Humbert to overcome. Humbert won their most recent previous meeting on hard courts, but Shapovalov prevailed the only time the two met on clay.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 2.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Jannik Sinner
Head-to-head: first meeting
The ongoing mystery that is the career of Grigor Dimitrov has continued in 2020. At the US Open he looked like a world-beater against Tommy Paul, only to fall in five sets to Marton Fucsovic. So far in Rome, Dimitrov has found his footing again, blitzing past Yoshihito Nishioka for the loss of only one game. Jannik Sinner ground his way past an out-of-sorts Stefanos Tsitsipas, but if Dimitrov keeps his form, he should power past the less experienced Sinner without too much trouble.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 2.
Diego Schwartzman vs Hubert Hurkacz
Head-to-head: Schwartzman 0-1 Hurkacz
A match that many expected in the third round of this year’s US Open is finally taking place. The contrast in styles – power hitting Hurkacz against retrieve and grind Schwartzman – should make the contest a fun watch regardless of outcome. Hurkacz’s weapons will be slightly nullified by the slower surface, and Schwartzman, whose game is a natural fit for the clay has gotten as far as the quarterfinals of the French Open. In that 2018 match, he became the only player to win a set off Nadal in that entire tournament. Schwartzman lost to Hurkacz in their only previous match earlier this year at the ATP Cup. That match was on hard courts and Schwartzman still managed to push Hurkacz to three sets. With the clay in his favor, Schwartzman will eke out a tight victory.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 3.
Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic
Head-to-head: Djokovic 0-1 Kraijnovic
The only player on the planet who has beaten Novak Djokovic this year is himself. Krajinovic is good, but Djokovic has been on a tear. His signature brand of clean-hitting and exceptional movement was on full display until his ejection from the US Open. Krajinovic is not the kind of player who will test Djokovic’s fitness in a grueling clay-court grind. Djokovic’s laser returns and swinging serves will keep him ahead in the score and calm on court. Krajinovic did well to beat Felix Auger Aliassime and Marco Cecchinato both in straight sets, but Djokovic’s combination of experience and skill will be too much for the younger Serb.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2.