A lot of the big names come to play in Rome on Day 3 of the ATP Masters 1000 event. This tournament has only been won by men not named Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic twice since 2004; those players are Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev. Who, from these matches, has their eye on improving that record? Allow LWOT to guide you through these matches and the others that are also covered elsewhere.
ATP Rome Day 3 Predictions
Tallon Griekspoor vs Sebastian Baez
Head-to-head: Griekspoor 1-0
Back in the country that gave him so much success last year (back to back Challenger titles) Griekspoor needs some inspiration to improve his current form. Baez won the title in Portugal in his last tournament for his first ATP title so he is very much at the other end of the form scale. Baez has all the skills required to be a mainstay of the tour now, especially on clay, and he is the rightful favourite here. I think his movement and deceptively powerful groundstrokes will see him win too many rallies for Griekspoor to keep up.
Prediction: Baez in 2
Luca Nardi vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: First meeting
Nardi is an exceptionally exciting young talent for Italian tennis. At only 18 he has won two Challenger events already this season, albeit both of them in indoor hard conditions. However, Nardi also finished in the semifinals and quarterfinals on the recent clay Challenger events too. Unfortunately for Nardi it is hard to think of a player that will give you as few easy points as Cameron Norrie on the tour. Norrie got close to Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid and that turned out to be excellent form. Norrie will have his eyes on a deep run here and will have to edge this match first.
Prediction: Norrie in 2
Francisco Cerundolo vs John Isner
Head-to-head: First meeting
The Argentine made a deep run to the semifinals of Miami recently and qualified here with two tight wins including two tiebreaks. Cerundolo will probably have to continue that tiebreak form against Isner. However, the American is no longer at the peak of his powers and if Cerundolo is able to use his superior groundstrokes and movement to win enough points on return then he could get some joy against the big man. I expect Cerundolo to win this one.
Prediction: Cerundolo in 2
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head-to-head: 2-0 Auger-Aliassime
The Canadian showed some improvement on clay last week in Madrid, though conditions are much more suitable to his game there. The slower conditions here brings Davidovich Fokina back into it and his excellent movement and creative game is going to give Auger-Aliassime more trouble than some will expect. I have a feeling that Davidovich Fokina will be able to force errors out of the Canadian and take the match deep. From there it could be anyone’s match but I’m going to chance the upset by taking the Spaniard to come out on top.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 3
Botic van der Zandschulp vs Casper Ruud
Head-to-head: 2-0 van de Zandschulp
It is early days in their rivalry but the Dutchman is becoming something of a problem for Ruud. It was only two weeks ago that they met on clay in a match Ruud was expected to win. However, the Norwegian is not hitting the heights of last season at the moment and looks to be forcing it too much. There is little in their subsequent form since that last defeat to suggest that there will be a turnaround here. Ruud is going to be the player who has the more impressive career out of the two, but at the moment van de Zandschulp has his game in better order, even on the clay.
Prediction: van de Zandschulp in 2
Main Photo from Getty.