10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s preview and picks for Day 3 in Rome, including Dimitrov vs. Wawrinka

The seeded players will start to take the court at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Friday, when second-round action gets underway. Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov are among those on a jam-packed schedule.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best matchups.

(Q) Thanasi Kokkinakis vs. (8) Jannik Sinner

Sinner is undoubtedly one of the top title contenders at the Rome Masters. He is 26-6 this year and is up to No. 8 in the rankings. The 21-year-old Italian’s six most recent results are title, runner-up, semifinals, runner-up, semifinals, and quarterfinals. With a significant home-court advantage in Italy, Sinner looks poised for more success in Rome following a 2022 quarterfinal effort.

Up first for Sinner is Kokkinakis, who has lost both of their previous encounters–but has been competitive. Sinner prevailed 8-6 in a third-set tiebreaker at the 2022 Cincinnati Masters and 7-6(2), 6-4 earlier this season at the Adelaide 250. It has already been a productive Rome event for Kokkinakis, who successfully qualified for the main draw and then benefited from a retirement courtesy of Jaume Munar. A huge step up in competition, however, will likely mark the end of the Aussie’s fortnight.

Pick: Sinner in 2

Stan Wawrinka vs. (26) Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov and Wawrinka will be facing each other for the 13th time in their careers. Wawrinka leads the head-to-head series 7-5 after taking five of their last six meetings; they have split their four clay-court contests at two wins apiece.

Although there is a sizable difference in ranking (Dimitrov is No. 33; Wawrinka is No. 84), Wawrinka should like his chances. The 38-year-old is playing just as well as Dimitrov is at the moment and he has always been great on clay. In fact, seven of Wawrinka’s 16 tour-level titles have come on clay–including Monte-Carlo in 2014 and Roland Garros in 2015. the French Open (2015) and Monte-Carlo (2014). The Swiss cruised past Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-4 in round one and with a match already under his belt he may be line for another victory.

Pick: Wawrinka in 3

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