By Hanya El Ghetany
The tournament that has been dominated by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal over the last 10 years just started and I’m here to tell you a couple of ways Rome could pan out.
The first thing I like to look at are statistics. Since 2010, we’ve seen at least one member of the big three in the final. For five years, we’ve witnessed Djokovic and Nadal in thrilling finals with Nadal winning three and Djokovic winning two. In addition, Nadal reached two more finals beating Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer, and Djokovic reached four more finals, winning two against Diego Schwartzman and Federer and losing two to Andy Murray and Zverev. Unfortunately, looking at the draw we will not have the possibility of another Nadal and Djokovic final. However, if all things play out as expected, we might have them facing each other in the semi-finals. Djokovic’s road to the final includes R32: Aslan Karatsev ,R16: Stan Wawarinka/Laslo Djere, QF: Miomir Kecmanovic/Felix Auger Aliassime/Alexander Bublik/Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, then Nadal in the semi-finals. Nadal’s road to the final includes R32: John Isner, R16: Denis Shapovalov/Nicholas Basilashvili, QF: Casper Ruud/David Goffin/Sebastian Korda/Jenson Brooksby, then Djokovic in the semi-finals. On paper, Djokovic’s road seems a tad easier than Nadal. However, we never rule out the possibility of a Nadal and Djokovic semi-finals, in which case I see Djokovic winning and reaching the final. I don’t see the top bracket going any other way, especially in the case of Djokovic. Nadal might face some names that will be troublesome. Shapovalov might be competitive, but I don’t see Nadal losing this one. The crazy possibility I will bring you is Ruud beating Nadal in the QF and facing Djokovic in the semi-finals. I honestly don’t see another name causing trouble for these two. Do you think something crazy might happen?
TOP-HALF EXPECTED SEMI-FINAL POSSIBILITY: DJOKOVIC vs NADAL
TOP-HALF CRAZY SEMI-FINAL POSSIBILITY: DJOKOVIC vs RUUD
The bottom-bracket is where it gets interesting. There is one way this route could pan out which is the Italians getting their dream of having an Italian champion and the possible scenario where this could happen is Jannik Sinner showing up like a gladiator. Far-fetched, but still not impossible. With Carlos Alcaraz pulling out, Sinner’s potential troublesome meets will be Andrey Rublev, Grigor Dimitrov, Zverev then Djokovic in the final. Not an easy road, hence the need of gladiator Sinner.
One player who is always under-hyped by fans and does well is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who once again will face Dimitrov. Whoever wins this match will meet Rublev/Sinner in the quarterfinals.
Zverev’s road to the semi-finals is the easiest. He meets either Talon Griekspoor or Sebastian Baez in round of 32, then Alex De Minaur or Tommy Paul, My money is on the Australian and then possibly Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals.
BOTTOM–HALF EXPECTED SEMI-FINAL POSSIBILITY: TSITSIPAS VS ZVEREV
BOTTOM-HALF CRAZY SEMI-FINAL POSSIBILITY(1): SINNER VS ZVEREV
BOTTOM-HALF CRAZY SEMI-FINAL POSSIBILITY(2): DIMITROV VS ZVEREV
My far-fetched hope is to see Sinner or Dimitrov in the final. Tsitsipas will do as well. My prediction is that Djokovic will reach the final meeting one of these three players.
FINAL PREDICTIONS (1): DJOKOVIC vs TSITSIPAS
FINAL CRAZY PREDICTIONS(2): DJOKOVIC vs SINNER
FINAL CRAZY PREDICTIONS(3): DJOKOVIC vs DIMITROV
FINAL-POSSIBLY NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN-PREDICTION(4): RUUD VS (TSITSIPAS/SINNER/DIMITROV)
Let us know which scenario you like the best or seems the craziest to you.