Rome R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Almagro, Del Potro vs. Edmund

Rafael Nadal will begin his bid for a fourth consecutive clay-court title when he opens in Rome against fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro on Wednesday. Juan Martin Del Potro and Kyle Edmund are also in second-round action.

(4) Rafael Nadal vs. (Q) Nicolas Almagro

Nadal and Almagro will be squaring off for the 16th time in their careers when they meet again in round two of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday. The head-to-head series stands at 14-1 in favor of Nadal, who is 10-1 at his compatriot’s expense on clay. Almagro’s lone victory came via a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 decision three years ago at Barcelona, but the much more heralded Spaniard has since reeled off four wins in a row.

Speaking of strings of successive wins, Nadal is a perfect 15-0 on clay this season and has lifted three straight trophies in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid. The world No. 4 improved to 34-5 overall in 2017 when he defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6(8), 6-4 in last Sunday’s Madrid final. Almagro is no stranger to tough second-round draws at Masters 1000 tournaments; he lost to David Goffin at this stage in Monte-Carlo and to Novak Djokovic in the last 32 in Madrid (7-5 in the third set after leading 3-0). The world No. 73 evened his record at 8-8 this year by knocking out Italy’s own Andreas Seppi 7-6(6), 6-3 on Monday. Almagro is in fine form and Nadal struggled in his opening matches in both Monte-Carlo and Madrid, so this should be competitive–but it also won’t result in an upset.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 8-10 games

Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Kyle Edmund

Del Potro currently registers at 34th in the rankings, but a win over Grigor Dimitrov on Monday and at least one top 32 player (Roger Federer) withdrawing from the French Open means the Argentine is already in good shape for a seed at the season’s second Grand Slam. That is quite an accomplishment because Del Potro has played sparingly to preserve the health of his left wrist, but he has played well in his limited appearances. The 2009 U.S. Open champion is 8-4 this year (2-0 on clay) with a semifinal showing in Delray Beach and third-round finishes in Indian Wells and Miami.

Up next for Del Potro is a first-ever meeting with Edmund, who advanced on Monday by beating Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-4. The 53rd-ranked Brit took a set off Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Masters (no other opponent managed that feat), but he also got blown out by Thiem in Barcelona and suffered an awful loss in Estoril to Portuguese wild card Joao Domingues. Edmund’s lack of consistency is such that he will not have the upper hand in this battle of big forehands.

Pick: Del Potro in 2


65 Comments on Rome R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Almagro, Del Potro vs. Edmund

  1. Delpo got his forehand going on one of his signature brilliant rolls to take the 2nd set vs Dimitrov. It was a fun match. Grigor played great but Delpo was just steadier when it mattered most.
    Delpo in 2.
    Rada in 2. But Almagro is playing himself into pretty good shape. His serve might win him 5-7 games.

  2. Davis Ferrer clocks up his 700th win by beating Feliciano Lopez in 3 sets in Rome, making him the 4th man on the ATP tour to achieve this.

    Congratulations to Daveeed

    • Gotta love Daveeed! He’s featured over on the ATP site in a “My Master’s 1000” segment. Pretty much all he does is talk about Rafa. I hope he pulls out of his current tailspin, but either way he’ll have a great life.

  3. See Nadal winning in 2 6-4, 6-2. It’s going to be great season because Nadal will be world number two if he wins french and Rome (doesn’t even need Rome). If Nadal does become world number two and does well in Wimbledon and the US open Nadal will be number one. Even if he doesn’t do well and Murray fails he will be world number one. He’s the odds on favourite to end the year both world number one and year-end number one

          • The difference is that Andy could finish world number one but the player with the most points of the year will be year end number one

            • Olly, the two are the same so it is impossible for Andy to finish at #1 unless he gets the most points of the year. Just to help you understand,may I ask how you think world #1 is calculated?

        • Joe Smith says AT 10:03 PM:”The rankings and Race to London coincide at the end of the year.”

          The ATP Rankings (the 52-week rolling rankings) and the Race to London become identical on the Monday following the Paris Masters, i.e. BEFORE the WTF (that is held in London).

  4. DelPo in 2 (was going to say 3 but Ricky convinced me to go with 2)

    Rafa in 2 losing 8-10 games. While Rafa has almost always won their matches they’ve often been tight sets if my memory serves.

  5. I hate it when Rafa faces clay court specialists because he grinds but hopefully tomorrow Rafa will be aggressive and win 6-0, 6-0!!!or pack up and go home to prepare for RG. He must make up his mind, it is ok to lose at Rome, it is not ok to grind to a win in a 3 hour match ….La Decima at RG hangs in the balance. I guess I am really nervous. In 2008 when Rafa was at his invincible best on clay and was awesome at RG (where not only did he not lose a set, he bageled the GOAT!!!), he lost his first match in Rome to Ferrero. Was that a smart move or was it happenstance?

    • Mary, in 2011 rafa had played even more matches reached the final of all tournaments after the ao, taken beatings at the hands of novak and still managed to do well at the french and beyond. Rafa should be fine unless he is carrying some niggle. All of the big 4 like to play when they are winning.

      rafa would surely have withdrawn rather than playing half heartedly at rome. No point ceding the mental edge he has over the field by not keeping the foot on the accelerator. In fact winning rome may win him a few sets in roland garros with the opponent losing the plot in the locker room itself

    • Badly blistered foot, as I recall, as in a total lack of skin on much of his foot. Guess you could call that happenstance.

  6. I am not thrilled to see Rafa facing Almagro. I don’t want to see a three hour slugfest. Rafa doesn’t need that.

    I am thinking that Rafa should get the win in 2 sets, losing either 5-7 or 8-10 games. I am hoping that Rafa will come out sharp and not struggle the way he did against Fog.

    • Yep, atul, Rafa was completely in control… this clay he loves…hope he has nice and short wins in Rome!

      Vamos Rafa!

  7. Poor Almagro! I hate to see players getting injured. Rafa looked seriously concerned about Almagro.

    Hope Almagro is healed for RG…it would be such a shame after only recently coming back from injury time off.,,

  8. Sorry that Almagro is injured yet again. Rafa would have won that match anyway. Hope Nico recovers quickly because he’s not ready to retire yet. Injury is always just round the corner for all of them.

  9. BTW the world no 1 and defending champion, lost yesterday and there is not a single article on A Rafa loss at a 250 will be plastered all over and Bodo would do an article prophesing a demise

    • vmk1, just shows who makes the headlines, definitely not the current #1. I am convinced that all the commies have a spreadsheet of all Rafa’s ups and downs the way they spill out facts about who has taken a set off him, who beat him 7 years ago where and when, who broke his serve, who saved match point against him, even going back to 2005. It’s amazing.

      I sent Mark Petchey a tweet the other day saying there should be a forfeit box and commies should put £10 in it every time they mention any of the above.

  10. Was Almagro alright at the start of the match and did he injur himself during those three short games? Or did he appear to be hurt already when they started playing?

  11. Hope Almagro recovers in time for the FO; he’s starting to play some good tennis, I wish him well.

    I also hope Rafa is ready for the next test ie either Sock or Vesley.

  12. Honestly, I was hoping Rafa gets a walkover or somrthing at some stage in Rome to get some rest. So glad in that sense!

    What happened to Nico though? Wish him a speedy recovery.

    • Yes, what happened, and when did it happen? Looking at Almagro’s face it seems to hurt a lot 🙁

  13. Almagro hurts his knee when he jump with his left leg to strike a FH…and he felt something immediately after that…maybe a bad movement before he strike that FH because he landed on his right leg after he made that shot….

    • You can actually see already on youtube a good part of the actual exchanges and the moment when Almagro gets hurt. It doesn’t look spectacular at all, but he seems to be almost immediately immobilized.
      Shows how disaster can strike out of nowhere… that’s why one can never pencil in the winner of a tournament in advance, even if a certain player is the overwhelming favorite…

    • I just heard about what happened in Rafa’s match. That’s why I didn’t see him playing!

      Sorry to hear about Almagro’s injury. I am not surprised that Rafa tried to help him.

      I hope that Almagro recovers soon.

      So Rafa essentially got a walkover, for all intents and purposes. Not what he would have wanted.

      • But maybe he could take a positive from it in that he now gets more rest? He obviously never wants to see a friend get injured, though.

        • Rafa does not want to see anyone get injured ever! High empathy quotient. Just the way he’s wired.

          Feel really bad for Nico. Not one of my faves but to get hurt just when he’s starting to play well again after a couple of years of struggling? Ouch indeed! Hope it’s not too serious and that he’ll recover in time for RG.

        • Kevin,

          Oh I do agre with you that Rafa has to play one less match. For those of us who were a bit worried about him playing in Rome, one less match is good.

          I just know that Rafa would prefer to play. No one ever wants to advance due to another player getting injured. Rafa knows all too well what that feels like.

          I hope that it’s not serious. From the videos Almagro looked to be in a great deal of pain.

          I am watching Sock/Vesely now. Rafa’s. Ext opponent will come out of this match. These two are locked in a tight battle in the third set.

  14. Sock finally holds. Big missed opportunity for Vesely. Now the pressure is on him to hold to force a tb,

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