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Australia’s Nick Kyrgios plays the ball during his Mexican Tennis Open match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal, Feb. 27, 2019. (Rebecca Blackwell)
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios plays the ball during his Mexican Tennis Open match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal, Feb. 27, 2019. (Rebecca Blackwell)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis Tuesday: Abrams has 7 men’s singles picks in Rome – Medvedev v Kyrgios, Zverev v Berrettini, plus Wawrinka, Cilic, Tiafoe and more

Matches start at 5 am EDT.

By Neal Abrams

Published on :

Internazionali BNL d’Italia
Rome, Italy
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Rounds of 64 and 32

Daniil Medvedev over Nick Kyrgios
If the Nick Kyrgios who won Acapulco back in February shows up, not only will he beat Daniil Medvedev, but he’ll run through the tough draw here and take home the trophy, the title, and the 950,000 Euros given to the winner. If the Nick Kyrgios who played at Delray Beach the week before plays, he’ll be out before an hour is up. And if any other Nick Kyrgios is in Rome, Medvedev will struggle, but will win. It doesn’t matter how the Russian plays. It’s all up to Nick.

Sascha Zverev over Matteo Berrettini
Zverev is now ranked 5th in the world, having been supplanted at No. 4 by Roger Federer. Still, he’s a fabulous talent and a wonderful player, and when he plays on clay he is effective. The difference is that we mortals get to watch as he constructs points, whereas on hard and grass the points happen so quickly that it’s hard to catch up with his strategy and his shot-making. Berrettini is a very fine clay courter, but he’s not going to beat the fifth ranked player in the world on one of the world’s best stages. They played last year in Rome, and Zverev won in straight sets. I expect the same result here.

Stan Wawrinka over David Goffin
Last week Wawrinka brought out his guns and actually looked like the Stan of old when he beat Guido Pella and Kei Nishikori in Madrid. If he plays like that, he should have no trouble taking out Goffin. Goffin is solid, but not spectacular and not overpowering. With that combination I see Wawrinka moving on.

Marin Cilic over Andrea Basso
Cilic seemed to be playing well last week when he had to pull out of his quarterfinal matchup with Nole because of food poisoning. Here, he’ll take advantage of a really nice draw, because Andrea Basso is a 25-year-old hometown wild card who has very little experience on the Tour. Basso can serve, so I expect him to win games, but he doesn’t have enough to win sets.

Grigor Dimitrov over Jan-Lennard Struff
Dimitrov is one of the most talented players on Tour, yet is struggling through a very mediocre year in which he hasn’t seemed to be able to win back to back matches much. He’s only a pedestrian 9-6 for the year, and with his talent, that’s a real shame. Still, he is so talented that it’s hard to predict him to lose this match. Struff is a very tough German who is more of a fighter than an artist. If Dimitrov plays well, this will be over quickly. But if Struff gets his teeth in this match, it will be a down and dirty battle to the end.

Roberto Bautista Agut over Karen Khachanov
Khachanov won a first round match yesterday, one of very few that he’s taken in this calendar year. The ranking system is such a mess that this guy, who is a woeful 8-11 YTD is still ranked No. 13 in the world. He’s lost the last three matches these two guys have played, and RBA is the better clay court player. To make matters worse for the Russian, he didn’t make any friends out of the fans who saw him take out homeboy Lorenzo Sonego in three sets in the first round. The Italians will be rooting more against Khachanov than for RBA, but it’ll mean the same thing for the players as they struggle. When push comes to shove, RBA will take this contest and make some friends of the fans who will happily root him to victory.

Frances Tiafoe over Joao Sousa
Frances Tiafoe is learning how to play his game on the slow red European clay, and although he is not a big threat to the top players, he’s good for at least one really good match per tournament. This will be that match. Sousa, a 30-year-old veteran from Barcelona, beat the young Yank the only time they played, which was last year on the slop in Portugal. But Tiafoe is better now, and I think his game is better than Sousa’s now. I’ll go with the American here.