ATP Rome Masters Day 5 Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Novak Djokovic in action at the ATP Rome Masters.

It will be another busy day at the Foro Italico on the fifth day at the ATP Rome Masters. A number of star names are set to be in action and, as ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Denis Shapovalov vs Rafael Nadal. But who will advance to the quarterfinals?

ATP Rome Masters Day 5 Predictions

Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Federico Delbonis

Head-to-head: first meeting

There have been a few speedbumps in Felix Auger-Aliassime’s young career, but it is all part of the learning process. Now under the guidance of Toni Nadal, the Canadian could spring to life as the leader of the next generation of players. Of late, Auger-Aliassime has been extremely unlucky with the draws he has received, with his three defeats on the clay having come at the hands of Cristian Garin, Stefanos Tsitispas, and Casper Ruud – some of the toughest opponents around on this surface.

However, he has hit a purple patch in Rome. After an first-round victory over Filip Krajinovic, he stunned last year’s finalist Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday. Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent will be another Argentine in Federico Delbonis.

Delbonis is without a tour-level win on hard courts but has an astonishing 19 wins on clay this year including a straight-sets demolition of David Goffin on Wednesday. This should be an evenly matched contest, but Auger-Aliassime’s ability to absorb Delbonis’ powerful groundstrokes and redirect the ball back with aggression could unsettle the Argentine.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 2
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Roberto Bautista Agut vs Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 3-3 Rublev

This will be the third meeting between Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev already in 2021, with the pair having split the first two. Bautista Agut took the first in Doha in straight sets, and Rublev responded last month in a Monte Carlo classic. But Rublev had the misfortune of catching the ‘Nadal curse’ at the Principality (one can beat Nadal, but not win the tournament) as he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Despite that, Rublev has made the transition from hard to clay courts look relatively easy, even if he has found it difficult to sustain his extraordinary level from the early part of the season. He will certainly step on to court as the favorite here, despite Bautista Agut’s well-earned reputation for grinding tennis. The slow conditions should help the Russian, giving him time to unwind his big groundstrokes with the balls bouncing up into his strike zone.

Prediction: Rublev in 3
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Dominic Thiem vs Lorenzo Sonego

Head-to-head: Thiem 1-0 Sonego

Dominic Thiem’s recovery against Marton Fucsovics in the second round was impressive with the Austrian staring defeat in the eye in the second set. He had to recover from a set and a break down to win an absorbing encounter 3-6 7-6 6-0. Since returning from a mid-March sabbatical, Thiem has looked energized. He has recharged his batteries and overcome the niggling injuries that had seemed to be hampering his movement. But Lorenzo Sonego has been in fine form himself in recent weeks, winning the title in Cagliari last month.

It was a major milestone as he became the first Italian man to win an ATP title on home soil since 2006. But his participation at the ATP Rome Masters was almost in doubt. Sonego reportedly suffered a finger injury bumping on the door of his house and subsequently pulled out of Madrid.

Fortunately, Sonego recovered and he has scored two good wins to reach the third round of the Italian Open for the first time. Unfortunately, that could be as good as it gets for the disciplined Italian baseliner. Thiem is exuding a sense of calm and belief that we haven’t seen from him for quite some time and is playing himself into some form ahead of Paris.

Prediction: Thiem in 2
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Novak Djokovic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Head-to-head: first meeting

World #1 Novak Djokovic progressed past Taylor Fritz in another dramatic match, with his patience put to the test by the chair umpire Nacho Forcadell and the tournament organisers. Djokovic’s frustration hit breaking point at the umpire’s inability to suspend the match while the rain was pouring. The players were eventually sent off the court while the score was 5-5 in the second set and on the resumption, Djokovic was able to close out the match in a second-set tiebreak.

He will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in the last eight. The mercurial Spaniard has been a regular practice partner of Djokovic and is seeking a second top 10 win of his career – one which would surely rank as the finest of his young career. But it is very tough to imagine Davidovich Fokina causing the Serbian too much trouble here. Despite Djokovic’s limited appearances on the dirt this year, he still retains the ability to disrupt and smother his opponents with penetrating but seemingly risk-free groundstrokes.

Prediction: Djokovic in 2

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