By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds: Rafael Nadal. Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic
- Defending Champion: Alexander Zverev
- British interest: Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie (Qualifying)
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
MADRID, SPAIN – In a refreshing change after Madrid, the focus shifts from endless discussion about Rafael Nadal to whether Alexander Zverev can defend his maiden Masters title in Rome.
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Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
 Rafael Nadal
After what had been a dominant swing thus far through the clay, it all finally came undone for Nadal in the Madrid quarter-final – just a day after he broke John McEnroe’s 34-year-old record for the longest winning streak on a single surface.
Of course coming back down to sea-level means he will enjoy a little more control over the ball – something he called out as a potential issue in his pre-tournament press conference and when he lost.
Will it change anything as we lead into Roland Garros? Most likely not and we may as well start writing our puff pieces on his record breaking stint, but just maybe people will now have hope of a breakthrough.
Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: BYE
- R2: Damir Dzumhur (Tied at 1-1)
- R3: Tomas Berdych  (Nadal leads H2H 19-4)
- QF: Dominic Thiem  (Nadal leads H2H 6-3)
- SF: Grigor Dimitrov  (Nadal leads H2H 11-1)
- F: Alexander Zverev  (Nadal leads H2H 4-0)
 Alexander Zverev
Zverev got through most of the Madrid Masters truly under the radar – often scheduled late and therefore not in a main press conference, he was left to get through the door quietly, with German efficiency.
With big points on the line next week, his advance to the semi-finals in Madrid at the very least afford him a tiny buffer coming into a big week, but of course he has nothing to defend at all in Roland Garros so he may still emerge from the clay court swing slightly ahead.
Zverev’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: BYE
- R2: Matteo Berrettini (First meeting)
- R3: Lucas Pouille  (First meeting)
- QF: Juan Martn Del Potro  (Del Potro leads H2H 2-0
- SF: Marin Cilic  (Zverev leads H2H 4-1)
- F: Rafael Nadal  (Nadal leads H2H 4-0)
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 Grigor Dimitrov
What started out looking as a relatively steady start to the clay court season with a Monte Carlo semi-final and a Barcelona quarter-final in the bag cam a bit unstuck in Madrid, as Dimitrov was ousted by Milos Raonic – who has been suffering with more injury woes.
With the exception of one run to the semi-finals in 2014, Dimitrov’s latest run-outs in Rome have been uninspiring to say the least, and the last two years he has not even got past his opening round. This time he does have the benefit of a bye, but needs to pick up some form – but his draw looks the hardest of all the top seeds, on paper at least.
Dimitrov’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: BYE
- R2: Kei Nishikori (Nishikori leads H2H 3-1)
- R3: jack Sock  (Sock leads H2H 3-2)
- QF: John Isner  (Isner leads H2H: 2-1)
- SF: Rafael Nadal  (Nadal leads H2H 11-1)
- F: Alexander Zverev  (Zverev leads H2H 2-1
 Marin Cilic
Newly married, and back to business, the big-serving Croatian made it to the quarter-finals last year and will be looking to get some dirt in his shoes this week before preparing for Roland Garros.
Cilic’s Path to the Final
- R1: BYE
- R2: Yuichi Sugita (First meeting)
- R3: Diego Schwartzman  (H2H tied 1-1)
- QF: Kevin Anderson  (Cilic leads H2H 6-1)
- SF: Alexander Zverev  (Zverev leads H2H 4-1)
- F: Rafael Nadal  (Nadal leads H2H 5-2)
The Internazionali BNL d’Italia takes place between 13-20 May (BST +1 hour).
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