The European clay court swing is well underway as the march to Roland Garros aka the French Open is on. There have been two Masters 1000 events that have been played. Andrey Rublev won the title in Monte Carlo. While Carlos Alcaraz lifted the title again in Madrid. Alcaraz became the first man to win back-to-back titles in Barcelona and Madrid since you guessed it, Rafael Nadal.
The young Spaniard is coming into his own as the tour heads to Italy for the final Masters 1000 event before Roland Garros. Even with Novak Djokovic returning to action, Alcaraz is the favourite to win the Italian Open aka Internazionali BNL d’Italia. as the action gets underway in Rome on Tuesday.
Last year, the phenom from Spain did not play this event last year and is coming in fine form. Right now early lines have Alcaraz has the favourite to win Roland Garros. And why not his all-court game is sensational. He has so many weapons in his toolbox. It will be hard to stop this kid, especially on this surface.
Like with Monte Carlo and Madrid, Nadal will be missing from action in Rome. His status for Roland Garros is up in the air. Nadal usually plays in one clay court tournament before Roland Garros, however, this year the “King of Clay” reign in Paris could be coming to an end. Another player missing from the tournament is the hometown boy Matteo Berrettini. Berretini is recovering from an injury and wants to be healthy for Roland Garros.
Coming off back-to-back titles has Carlitos the favorite to win the Italian Open. And this should come as no surprise to anyone. However, there will be some stiff competition as the tournament begins.
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First-round action gets underway on Tuesday in Rome. The Italian Open runs from May 9th through May 21st
This event mirrors the conditions that will be in Paris. Madrid was high above sea level, this is back at sea level. Players love this event coming into the French Open.
While Carlos Alcaraz is the favourite to win as we stated earlier, there is stiff competition once the tournament begins. For starters, Djokovic made the finals at the Italian Open 12 titles winning the title six times. Djokovic faced off against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final last year. Inside the Djokvoic quarter are Holger Rune, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Cameron Norrie to name a few. Most expect Djokovic to get to the quarters as he comes off an elbow injury. And a matchup looms for Djokovic between either Grigor Dimitrov or Stan Wawrinka.
Alcaraz has Stefanos Tsitsipas in his quarter and will be his most likely opponent. However, as we saw Borna Coric gave Carlos Alcaraz all he could handle and more in the Madrid semifinals. Other includes Frances Tiafoe and Lorenzo Musetti. You know Tsitsipas wants to get back to the final, but does he have the answers for the young Spaniard?
Another player in the running could be Daniil Medvedev. But we know his love/hate relationship with the clay. His quarter is jam-packed with star power like Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Alexander Zverev, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Other notable players to make a deep run are Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, and Karen Khachanov. Let’s not forget a qualifier could make a run as we saw in Madrid.
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