By Ros Satar

  • Novak Djokovic [1] v Rafael Nadal [5]
  • Andy Murray [2] v David Goffin [12]
  • Kei Nishikori [6] v Dominic Thiem [13]
  • Lucas Pouille [LL] v Juan Monaco [PR]

ROME, ITALY – Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka were the big upsets as the quarter-finals were set in Rome – Featured matches & predictions

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

Kei Nishikori [6] v Dominic Thiem [13]

Thiem was first in to the quarter-finals with a straight sets win over Roger Federer. The Swiss, still looking hampered with the back injury that ruled him out of even starting in Madrid. After the match he admitted to journalists that he had treated this tournament as an ‘information’ tournament and not one he was looking to win.

As reported on the tournament website, Federer said: “I’m happy I was able to play and still feel about the same, like yesterday, not worse. That was most important. I feel like now obviously time starts ticking more towards Paris. Next 10, 12 days are really going to be important for me to recover, and then, make a plan.

“It doesn’t matter how I played. It was important that I didn’t have any setbacks and I was able to step on the tennis court and that I tried what I could with what I had.

“I’m going to have a meeting with the team this afternoon, just talk about the options we have: Do we stay in Rome, do we go to Paris, do we go back to Switzerland? You know, those are three options there. Should I rest, should I train, what can I do with physiotherapy?  I’m just happy I’m through the tournament now and I can look ahead.

“Clearly the way I’m playing right now is never going to be enough for any good run in Paris. This was an information tournament for me. Never a result tournament. I knew I wasn’t good enough for any result here.”

Thiem edged the first set tie-break after having been down a break, before breaking for a lead in the second set, holding on to the advantage and keeping his nerve to see the win through 7-6(2) 6-4.

As reported in ATPWorldTour.com, he said: “I’m very happy to be in the quarter-finals, it was a very tricky match today. Of course he was not 100 per cent, but still, he played some very good points. I think you cannot put it out of your head. It’s impossible, I think.”

You know what it’s like – no wins against Richard Gasquet and then two come along at once, as Nishikori beat the Frenchman for the second time in a row in the round of 16. He will fancy his chances against Thiem – he has one win over him albeit on grass. They both have a final to their name on the dirt already this year, with Thiem losing in Munich and Nishikori in Barcelona.

Prediction: Nishikori in three sets.

 

Novak Djokovic [1] v Rafael Nadal [5] – H2H: Djokovic leads 25-23

Once upon a time, not so long ago, this would have been the de facto final, and with Nadal getting more and more confidence as he goes, we could be foreshadowing some second week action in Paris. Djokovic was stunned (as was everyone watching) in the first set against Thomaz Bellucci with ‘bagel’ before normal service was resumed as he came back to finish off the Brazilian in three sets.

Things were not so straight forward for Nadal either, he was edged in the opening tie-break by Nick Kyrgios in one of the best matches so far in the tournament. Kyrgios was troubled with a hip injury but he continued to swing for the fences, and surely Kyrgios must feel confident of his chances in Paris with the semi-final of Estoril, quarter-finals of Madrid and the third round here.

Talking to ATPWorldTour.com, Kyrgios said: “It makes me feel confident. Obviously he’s the greatest of all time on this surface. For me, just when I was a bit younger, two years ago, we were always talking about playing Rafa on clay, and I always thought I’d get absolutely destroyed against him. Then to play him and compete out there, deep in the third, [a] three-hour match, it feels pretty good.”

Nadal said: “I’m playing well, I feel like I am playing at the right level. Today was an important victory for me, of course, against a very difficult opponent. And coming back after a tough first set that I had a lot of opportunities. I believe, after the first six games I think I had more chances than him, but I had couple of mistakes on those chances. And then on the tie-break I hit one double fault and then he played great.”

With both having a bit of a wobble in this round, this makes a fascinating contest with Nadal boasting one more bit of silverware to nibble, on the clay. We have seen that Djokovic has been vulnerable here, and Madrid saw Nadal defeated in his own (metallic cage of a) back yard by Andy Murray.

Expect them both to lift their game and for long rallies from the back of the court, and for this to be a long one.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.

 

Andy Murray [2] v David Goffin [12]

We recap Murray and preview his match-up with Goffin HERE

Play starts at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at 12pm (11am BST) – click HERE for full draws and schedules

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