Rafael Nadal faces potential opener against Jannik Sinner in Rome
A repeat of last year’s French Open quarter final could be on the cards as Rafael Nadal faces a potential opener against Jannik Sinner in Rome.
The nine-time Italian Open champion will await the winner of NextGen stars Ugo Humbert and Sinner, who will be hoping to set up a mouthwatering clash with Nadal in front of his home crowd.
Nadal, who enters Rome after a disappointing defeat to Alexander Zverev in Madrid, will be keen to avenge last year’s straight sets quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman with a tenth Italian Open title.
World No 1 and reigning Italian open champion Novak Djokovic will make his return after losing to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade a fortnight ago.
The Serbian will either face Taylor Fritz or British No 1 Dan Evans, who recently ousted Djokovic in straight sets in Monte Carlo, before a potential clash with Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.
Third seed Daniil Medvedev also faces a tough start to his Italian Open campaign with a possible meeting against compatriot Aslan Karatsev.
Dominic Thiem will face either Guido Pella or Marton Fucsovics in his opener, whilst Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet Alexander Bublik or Marin Cilic in the second round.
Alexander Zverev, who defeated Rafael Nadal for a third consecutive time in Madrid, will take on a qualifier or Adrian Mannarino.
The pick of the first-round ties is Casper Ruud against Denis Shapovalov, with Ruud reaching the semi-finals in Rome 12 months ago.
Fan favourite Gael Monfils, who is currently enduring a seven match losing streak, will make his return after his first-round defeat to Emil Ruusuvuori at the Australian Open.
— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) May 8, 2021