Might the Rome Tennis Masters be the week when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet again? They just might. The draw is out and our two biggest tennis stars are seeded to clash in the semifinals. Federer and Nadal haven’t played since Roger’s win in Madrid last May.
Top seed Federer, who is playing his first clay event since his 2009 French Open title run, has a workable draw. It looks like the Swiss will open against Ernests Gulbis who should power his way through Marcos Baghdatis in the first round. Then perhaps Sam Querrey in the third round followed by Nicolas Almagro or Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. Gulbis has been hot and Federer hasn’t played so…?
Nadal’s section is loaded. In the second round he’ll likely see Phil Kohlschreiber, then Juan Monaco followed by Robin Soderling in what would be an incredible revenge match. Not an easy road at all but Nadal is the King of Clay, the defending champ and he comes into Rome more rested and ready then ever. He’s also won Rome four of the last five years.
Andy Murray has found himself with a very tricky draw, and that’s not good when your in the purple patch the Scot has been in. Murray will be tested immediately by either Andreas Seppi or Fabio Fognini (and the Italian crowd) before he runs into the David Ferrer in round three. In the quarterfinals he could clash with JW Tsonga or Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In the last section, Novak Djokovic could meet Jeremy Chardy in his opener, then Tomaz Bellucci followed by Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals. Djokovic has reached the Rome final the last two years, winning in 2008. He’ll have a tough go to make it a third time.
The fourth round seedings look like this: (1) Federer v. (15) Querrey; (11) Ljubicic v. (8) Cilic; (3) Nadal v. (16) Monaco; (10) Berdych v. (5) Soderling; (7) Tsonga v. (12) Ferrero; (13) Ferrero v. (4) Murray; (6) Verdasco v. (3) Youhzny; (14) Isner v. (2) Djokovic.
The quarterfinals seedings: Federer v. Cilic; Nadal v. Soderling; Tsonga v. Murray; Youhzny v. Djokovic.
The Top 8 seeds do get byes. Singles play starts up tomorrow.
Among the many withdrawals (sorry, I cannot keep up with them all): Del Potro (wrist), Robredo (back), Roddick (beach), Davydenko (wrist), Gonzalez (knee), Haas (hip), Nalbandian (hamstring), James Blake (knee), Gilles Simon (knee).
Let the fun begin.
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