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Ricky’s preview and picks for the Rome Masters 1000

The road to the French Open with the third of three clay-court Masters 1000s. Rafael Nadal is still injured and remains out, but nonetheless the Internazionali BNL d’Italia field is stronger than that of both Monte-Carlo and Madrid. Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner are back in action after skipping Madrid, while Carlos Alcaraz is on course to make his debut in the Italian capital.
Here is my breakdown of the Rome Masters.

Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Where: Rome, Italy 
Surface: Clay 
Points: 1000 
Prize money: 7,705,780 Euros 
Top seed: Novak Djokovic 
Defending champion: Novak Djokovic 

Daniil Medvedev’s quarter is without question the toughest part of the draw–and not because of Medvedev. After all, clay is by far his worst surface. But his section is also home to Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Alexander Zverev, Roberto Bautista Agut, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and Emil Ruusuvuori. Rublev and Fritz are in especially impressive form at the moment, so Medvedev may not been line for a deep run this fortnight.
At the bottom of the bracket and in Medvedev’s half is Alcaraz, who withdrew from Rome in 2022 after winning the Madrid title but this time around seems to be ready to go for Rome after going back-to-back in the Spanish capital. It makes sense, as Madrid and Rome are now 12-day tournaments so players aren’t playing matches every day.

Djokovic will probably run into either Grigor Dimitrov or Stan Wawrinka in the third round and then Holger Rune in the quarterfinals. Casper Ruud is the top seed’s projected semifinal opponent based on seeding, but Ruud has been slumping so he is unlikely to make it that far. Sinner would be a more expected semifinal foe for Djokovic.

Quarterfinal picks: Novak Djokovic over Miomir Kecmanovic, Jannik Sinner over Cristian Garin, Taylor Fritz over Emil Ruusuvuori, and Carlos Alcaraz over Frances Tiafoe 

Semifinals: Sinner over Djokovic and Alcaraz over Fritz 

Final: Sinner over Alcaraz 

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