Yikes! After withdrawing from Madrid due to a bad back, Roger Federer is in the Rome draw. However, the Swiss might have second thoughts about playing in the city where he’s never won. Because he’s not winning this year either.
Federer, the 2015 Rome runner-up to Novak Djokovic, will open the event against either Grigor Dimitrov or Alexander Zverev followed by a rested Dominic Thiem in the third round. Kei Nishikori awaits in the quarters before either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Without going too deep, I’d have to like Nishikori or Thiem to get through.
Two-time defending champion Djokovic is in the top quarter with Gael Monfils in his third round before a quarterfinal encounter with Rafael Nadal in what could be a rematch of the Sunday Madrid final. Nadal’s road, though, looks like Philipp Kohlschreiber, Milos Raonic and then Djokovic. And Rafa looked a little shaky today against Joao Sousa.
In the bottom half, Stan Wawrinka and JW Tsonga are the favorites in a wide open third quarter. Neither has been terribly convincing this clay season so maybe David Ferrer, who coming off injury, or home favorite Fabio Fognini can take advantage.
Andy Murray sets up to face Tomas Berdych again in his quarter (he just beat the Czech today in the Madrid quarters). Maybe David Goffin can upset Berdych, otherwise Murray should reach the semifinals.
And some of the earlier matches include Thiem-Dolgopolov, Bellucci-Monfils, Zverev-Dimitrov, Anderson-Lopez and second rounders like Federer-Zverev/Dimitrov, Murray-Coric, Wawrinka-Paire, Ferrer-Fognini and Raonic-Kyrgios.
So the top half is loaded, the bottom is anything but. So Murray, who had a good draw this week in Madrid, has to be happy and in good shape to lock up that No. 2 seeding at the French Open (Federer is defending his Rome final points).
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