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Ricky’s picks for Monday in Rome, including Tiafoe and Rublev matches

Third-round action at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia wraps up on Monday and there are some all-seeded showdowns on offer. Frances Tiafoe awaits Lorenzo Musetti and Andrey Rublev is facing Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(18) Lorenzo Musetti vs. (12) Frances Tiafoe

The Italian men have played pretty well at the Rome Masters so far, with three still alive. One of them is Musetti, who opened with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over countryman Matteo Arnaldi. The 18th seed is a mediocre 12-11 in 2023, but recent momentum includes an upset of Novak Djokovic on his way to the Monte-Carlo Masters QFs followed by a SF result in Barcelona.

Up next for Musetti is Tiafoe and the head-to-head series is all tied up at two wins apiece (1-1 on clay). Clay may be thought to favor Musetti, but Tiafoe is putting together a respectable clay-court resume. The world No. 12 captured the Houston title earlier this spring and he has twice finished runner-up in Estoril. No matter that Musetti has home-court advantage; Tiafoe always thrives in festive atmospheres.

Pick: Tiafoe in 3

(6) Andrey Rublev vs. (27) Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

It will be a rematch of one of 2023’s most absurd matches when Rublev and Davidovich Fokina meet again. At the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February, Davidovich Fokina was up a set and 6-1 in the second-set tiebreaker but Rublev saved all five match points and somehow forced a third. The Russian ended up winning 1-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(3).

Rublev also got the job done 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 at Roland Garros in 2020–their only other encounter. He should like his chances again, as his current clay-court swing includes his biggest-ever title in Monte-Carlo and a runner-up showing at the ATP 250 in Banja Luka. Davidovich Fokina is also in fine form, so this should be one of the best matches of the day.

Pick: Rublev in 3

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