ATP Tour: Italian Open | Selected Round of 32 Matches

Italian Open | Selected Round of 32 Matches

We take a look at the selected round of 32 fixtures from the ATP Tour's Mutua Italian Open taking place in Rome (Outdoor Clay) on the 14th and 15th of May 2019.

2019 ATP Tour
Internazionali BNL d’Italia
Italian Open | Masters 1000 Series
Foco Italico, Outdoor Clay, Rome Italy
Selected Round of 32 Matches | 14-15 May 2019

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Phillip Kohlschreiber (23/20) 
vs Marco Cecchinato (13/20)
The Phillip Kohlschreiber metronome continues yet another season of fiercely competitive action. In many ways, he reminds me of the recently retired David Ferrer. They are both fairly small guys who manage to punch far above their weight class. The industrious German has always shown an acumen for clay-court action. His durability makes him a dangerous opponent on any surface, but he has managed to reach twelve career clay-court finals, winning six of them: he won last season’s Bavarian International. He is coming off a strong performance over the similarly indefatigable Gilles Simon. He reached the semis in Auckland and has already picked up a victory over baseline dynamo Novak Djokovic this season. His last 16 showing at Indian Wells highlights his capacity to duke it out with much younger opposition.

Italian Marco Cecchinato has endured an interesting few years. He was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in 2016 that threatened to derail his career. He was ultimately acquitted on all charges and has been slowly rebuilding his career and image. The clay-court specialist really exploded onto the scene last season with titles in Hungary and Croatia. But it's his exploits in Paris that really captured the imagination. The Italian won his first ever match in the main draw of a Grand Slam at Roland Garros. He would unbelievably go on to knock out Novak Djokovic en route to a stunning semi-final showing. He already has a title this year, claiming the Argentine Open on clay. He also possesses semi-finals at the Bavarian International and Qatar Open this year. The 26-year-old is something of a wildcard and makes an interesting foil for the phlegmatic German.

This will be the first meeting between the two, which I found slightly surprising. Kohlschreiber is a wily customer and will prove a considerable opponent for Cecchinato, even in front of a highly partisan Roman crowd. But I think that the German’s hectic schedule may get to him and I fancy Cecchinato to get the job done.  

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Denis Shapovalov (52/10)
vs Novak Djokovic (1/10)

Denis Shapovalov is one of the NextGen players who at least seems to have a penchant for performing on the big stage. Everyone remembers the manner in which he burst onto the scene with that Canadian semi-final in 2017. He has reached a further two ATP 1000 semi-finals since, including on the dusky Madrid clay last season. His semi-final run at Miami earlier this year once again showcased his supreme talent. But things have gone slightly pear-shaped for the big-serving Canadian since that Miami performance. He entered this event on a four-game losing streak. So his straight sets victory over the formidable Pablo Carreno Busta would have filled him with inordinate amounts of confidence. Shapovalov seems to feed on momentum and will feel quietly confident going up against the undisputed World Number One. 

Four-time Rome Champion Novak Djokovic is coming off a triumphant display in Madrid that saw him draw level with Rafael Nadal on 33 Masters 1000 titles. He has publicly displayed his displeasure at what he perceives to be a Federer/Nadal bias in the media. The best way to correct any perceived slight is with his racquet. His form this season actually shares an interesting correlation with Naomi Osaka. They both won in Australia and woefully underperformed during the ‘Sunshine Double’. They have both found traction once again with the resumption of the European clay-court season. Djokovic is gearing up for a slam and as such his form seems to be peaking. But for all his recent brilliance in winning the last three slams, Djokovic has shown a distinct vulnerability in matches that he would never have lost three years ago. 

The two met for the first time earlier this year at the Aussie Open. While Djokovic won, Shapovalov was one of only two men-alongside Danil Medvedev- to take a set off the Serbian legend. I think that Shapovalov is well worth a shot in this market, especially when you consider Djokovic’s losses to the likes of Kohlschreiber this year. 

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets. 

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