The third round in Rome brings us a monster clash between Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Berrettini has been on fire the past three weeks, winning the title in Belgrade and reaching the final in Madrid, where he lost against Alex Zverev in a three setter last Sunday. The Italian started slow in Rome, having to work hard to get past Basilashvili in the first round (4-6 6-2 6-4). He had an easier time against Millman in his second game, winning 6-4 6-2).
Tsitsipas has arguably been the player to beat on clay this year. Stefanos played breathtaking tennis to win the title in Monte Carlo without losing a set, played a magnificent final against Nadal in Barcelona (although lost), and reached the Round 16 in Madrid, beaten unexpectedly by Ruud. This week he played one match, beating Cilic with ease in two sets.
Tsitsipas leads the H2H 2-0, bot no match was played on clay.
Listen, Berrettini showed a very high level lately and was super impressive in Madrid. But he isn’t looking quite right this week. He was very shaky against Basilashvili, couldn’t get into a rhythm for a long period of time, and could have easily lost that. He got a much easier victory in the second round against Millman, but the opponent did not pose a serious threat.
The Italian looks a bit tired after his final in Madrid last week, which was his second consecutive final. That’s not a surprise. The intensity of Sunday’s final against Zverev was very high. Facing Tsitsipas might be too much for Berrettini to overcome given how much tennis he played lately. Playing against the Greek is always challenging physically.
Tsitsipas is really playing lights out, and even in his defeat last week in Madrid, he wasn’t bad. It was quite a strange match – he was better than Ruud, and after losing the first set tiebreak it seemed a matter of time before he would break and take control – however, one bad service game suddenly ended it all. Ruud was lucky, he was struggling on his serve and not sniffing anything on the return.
I’m looking for Tsitsipas to bounce back in style this week, he has been pretty much flawless on clay, has more weapons and variety than Berrettini, and is the more rested player. I’m backing the Greek. Prediction: Matteo Berrettini – Stefanos Tsitsipas 5-7 3-6.