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Medvedev’s section stacked in Rome draw, Sinner in Djokovic half

Novak Djokovic has returned after missing the Mutua Madrid Open and he is the top seed at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, seeking his seventh title at this event. Djokovic has played in the Rome Masters final an incredible 12 times, including in each of his last four appearances.

The Rome draw ceremony was held on Monday and the top-ranked Serb has a decent enough path to another trophy. He will get started against one of two in-form players in either Tomas Martin Etcheverry or Luca Van Assche. Familiar opponents Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka are potential roadblocks in the third round, while Holger Rune and Felix Auger-Aliassime are also in the top quarter of the bracket.

Djokovic and Jannik Sinner are on a collision course for the semifinals. Sinner is 26-6 this season and up to No. 8 in the world. Casper Ruud is in the Italian’s section, but the Norwegian has been struggling so Sinner is a more likely semifinal foe for Djokovic.

Carlos Alcaraz is the No. 2 seed at the bottom of the draw and he is making his Rome debut. The Spaniard triumphed in Madrid, just as he did last year–but this time he doesn’t seem to be skipping Rome. Alcaraz could face Jiri Lehecka in the third round, Borna Coric in the fourth, and either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Lorenzo Musetti in the last eight.

The quarter opposite Alcaraz in the bottom half is by far the deepest and most up for grabs. Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev is especially vulnerable on slow clay and he is in a section that is also home to Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Alexander Zverev, Roberto Bautista Agut, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and Emil Ruusuvuori. Medvedev’s opening match is likely to come against Ruusuvuori in advance of a potential fourth-round test in the form of either Hurkacz or Zverev.

Rome first-rounders to watch include Ruusuvuori vs. Ugo Humbert, Wawrinka vs. Ilya Ivashka, Richard Gasquet vs. Yibing Wu, and Andy Murray vs. Fabio Fognini.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.