It is becoming clear that many of big guns on the ATP Tour are warming to their task on the clay. Quarterfinal day had some excellent tennis and put us in position for two semifinals between four of the best clay court players in the world. Only two can emerge and face off in the final. Who will the victors be?
ATP Rome Semifinals Predictions
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alexander Zverev
Head to Head: 7-4 Tsitsipas
A second consecutive semifinal meeting for this NextGen pair. The match in Madrid last week went to three sets, but in reality Zverev was the more composed player and always looked like getting the better of the Greek.
That would’ve been a big disappointment to Team Tsitsipas as he had established himself last season as a pretty clear “best of the rest” behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the clay. He looked on course to assume a position in the top 4, with the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz, but too often in 2022 the Greek has thrown in an odd performance. His father, Apostolos, was again warned for coaching in that match. Albeit Tsitsipas was already a break down in the final set at that point, but it may be something to look out for here.
Tsitsipas has had to battle to this stage, winning a final set tiebreak against Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round and storming back from a set down versus Karen Khachanov. However, this seemed to work to play himself into form as he produced a better performance in beating Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the quarterfinal.
By contrast Zverev has not yet lost a set in Rome. He has been able to produce big tennis when he has needed it in tiebreaks and in the business end of sets. He will have to do so again here because you must think that Tsitsipas will come out fired up for this match to get a measure of revenge for last week’s defeat. The Greek had been unbeaten against Zverev on a clay court until then and I do still believe that Tsitsipas is the better clay court player so I will back him to come out on top here.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud
Head to Head: 2-0 Djokovic
Ruud is yet to win a set against the World #1 but has been close to doing so. This will be no foregone conclusion. The Norwegian is right on the verge of top class on every surface these days, but clay is still his #1 surface to play on and his movement and clean execution of groundstrokes make him a dangerous opponent.
However, it is clear that Djokovic is getting back to near his best. The sliding and movement is en pointe. The angles he is creating on his backhand in particular are magical. His fitness is back to where it was as well after being a concern a couple of weeks ago. His performances this week have been good, but he is turning up his tennis in the times when it matters, a classic Djokovic trait.
It is this trend that makes me want to side with the great Serbian in this match. It has been the case in their previous meetings that Djokovic just has that extra when needed and I think that will be the case once more here
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.