ATP Rome Masters Day 5 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov

Rafael Nadal in action at the ATP Madrid Open.
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A blockbuster line-up is set for Thursday at the Foro Italico as third round matchups take place at the ATP 1000 level Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The schedule is headlined by the 10-time former champion Rafael Nadal who comes up against the flashy Denis Shapovalov. Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime are among the other top seeds in action on Day 5. Who will advance to the quarterfinals in Rome?

ATP Rome Day 5 Predictions

Alexander Zverev vs Alex De Minaur

H2H: Zverev 5-1.

The second seeded Alexander Zverev received a bye into the second round where he didn’t have things all his won way in a 7-6 6-3 win over Sebastian Baez. Meanwhile, Alex De Minaur has recorded a couple of straight set wins over decent opposition this week, a 6-4 6-1 opening round win over Dusan Lajovic was followed by a 7-5 6-4 win over Tommy Paul.

Zverev holds a dominant 5-1 head-to-head record over De Minaur. Zverev defeated the Aussie 6-2 3-6 6-2 on the indoor hard courts of Vienna last year in their most recent meeting. De Minaur’s sole win over the German was a 4-6 7-6 6-2 victory at the ATP Cup in 2020. All 6 of the previous meetings between the pair were on a hard court. Their first meeting on a clay court should bolster Zverev’s advantage in this matchup. The German is far more accomplished on the red dirt, especially in Rome where he is a former champion. Expect Zverev to be too powerful.
Prediction: Zverev in 2.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Marcos Giron

H2H: Auger-Aliassime 1-0.

The eighth seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime received a bye through to the second round where he claimed a hard-fought 4-6 7-6 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Marcos Giron has already won 4 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw. A 3-6 6-4 6-3 first round win in the main draw over Alexander Bublik was followed by an impressive 6-1 7-6 upset win over the 12th seeded Diego Schwartzman.

Auger-Aliassime defeated Giron 6-3 6-2 on grass in the Halle quarterfinals last year in the only previous meeting between the pair. Giron is having a good week in Rome but is again unlikely to have much success in this matchup. Auger-Aliassime is superior in all departments, especially on a slower surface where his heavier game will cause the American problems.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 2.

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Cristian Garin vs Marin Cilic

H2H: Cilic 2-0.

Marin Cilic and Cristian Garin each scored comfortable opening round wins over local wild cards to start the tournament. Things got tougher for the pair in the second round where Cilic upset the 9th seeded Cameron Norrie 5-7 6-2 6-1 and Garin defeated Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-4.

Cilic holds a perfect 2-0 record over Garin. The most recent meeting between the pair ended in a 3-6 7-5 7-6 win for the Croatian on the hard courts of Miami last year. Cilic previously defeated Garin 6-1 7-6 on the grass of Queens in 2019. A maiden meeting between the two of a clay court gives Garin his best opportunity in this matchup. If Garin can naturalize the Cilic serve, I’d fancy his chances from the back of the court. I’ll give the slight edge to the Chilean here.
Prediction: Garin in 3.

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Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov

H2H: Nadal 4-1

Rafael Nadal made a dominant start to his Rome campaign with a 6-3 6-1 win over John Isner. Meanwhile Denis Shapovalov has navigated his way past a couple of tricky opponents this week, a 7-6 3-6 6-3 opening round win over Lorenzo Sonego was followed by a 6-4 7-6 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Nadal has claimed four consecutive wins over Shapovalov ever since the Canadian stunned the Spaniard at the Rogers Cup in 2017. The most recent clash between the pair was at the Australian Open earlier this year where Nadal prevailed 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 to advance to the semifinals. The relentless pressure Nadal applies to the vulnerable Shapovalov backhand makes this a difficult matchup for the Canadian, especially on a clay court. Shapovalov managed to push Nadal all the way to a third set tiebreaker when the pair met in Rome last year, I doubt it will be that close on this occasion as Nadal seeks a convincing win.
Prediction: Nadal in 2

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