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Italian Open 2024

Rafael Nadal’s projected path to Italian Open 2024 final

Published at :May 8, 2024 at 6:54 AM
Modified at :May 8, 2024 at 6:55 AM
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Shashank Tripathi

Rafael Nadal is a 10-time Italian Open champion.

Rafael Nadal, the most successful singles player in the Italian Open’s history is set to start another campaign at Foco Italico in 2024. Nadal missed the whole clay season last year due to a hip injury, which required surgery and recovery. However, he played his last campaign in Rome two years ago, in 2022, where he was eliminated in the third round by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

Nadal has won 10 singles titles in the ATP 1000 event, which is four more than Novak Djokovic who has been the second-most successful player in the competition history. The Spaniard made his full return to action in April at the Barcelona Open, where he lost against Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the second round.

Nevertheless, only a week later, he defeated the Aussie in the second round of the 2024 Madrid Open. Nadal was having a decent time in the Spanish capital before he lost to Jiri Lehecka in the fourth round. Moving ahead, the 37-year-old has started attending practice sessions in Rome as he’s set to step on the clay court before the 2024 French Open.

Hence, without further ado, let’s take a look at the projected path of Rafael Nadal to the final of the Italian Open 2024:

Rafael Nadal’s projected path to Italian Open 2024 final

Round of 128: Qualifier

Rafael Nadal will commence his campaign in Rome against a qualifier. Some well-known qualifiers in the draw are Brandon Nakashima, Diego Schwartzman, and Richard Gasquet.

Round of 64: Hubert Hurkacz

In the second round, Rafael Nadal will face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who has been seeded seventh in the competition. In July 2021, Hurkacz eliminated Roger Federer from Wimbledon 6-3, 7-6(4)), 6-0 to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

After the match, the Swiss legend had his third knee surgery, which eventually forced him to retire from the game. Meanwhile, Hurkacz is highly likely to face Nadal in his first match at the Italian Open but beating the Spaniard won’t be an easy task for the Pole, as he’s still dangerous on the red soil.

Round of 32: Thiago Seyboth Wild

Thiago Seyboth Wild became a well-known name in the tennis world after he stunned Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev in the first round of the 2023 Roland Garros in a five-set marathon. He also reached the third round of the Madrid Open, where he lost against Carlos Alcaraz. However, playing against Rafael Nadal would be a different experience for the 24-year-old Brazilian.

Round of 16: Holger Rune

Last year’s runner-up, Holger Rune, has been suffering from injuries and fitness issues since last year. The Dane took some time off from tennis because of a back injury. Since his return, the 21-year-old has failed to catch up with the pace of the tour.

Notably, Rune has reached the quarterfinals at the Monte Carlo Masters and the semifinals at the Munich Open. This year, Rune has played 28 matches across all competitions, where he has lost 10.

Quarter-final: Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev is one of the most powerful and technical players on the tour; however, he has never managed to reach his full potential. The Russian won his maiden clay title at the 2023 Italian Open, as he’s expected to face Rafael Nadal in his route to the ultimate title defence.

However, he sustained a hip injury during his Madrid Open quarter-final against Jiri Lehecka, which forced him to retire from the match.

Thus, if Medvedev fails to recover, his chances of title defence will be in danger. Ideally, the Russian would be preparing himself for the upcoming Roland Garros, and his priority would be his health instead of the Italian Open 2024.

Semi-final: Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas

Andrey Rublev’s story of winning the Madrid Open 2024 was magical. The Russian entered the ATP 1000 event after being eliminated in the first match at the Miami Open, the Monte Carlo Masters, and the Barcelona Open. In the Spanish capital, he displayed great composure and determination to record resounding wins over Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz and Felix Augur Aliassime.

Therefore, Rublev has picked up form at the right time, and that has made him a hot favourite for the ATP 1000 title.

On the other side, Stefanos Tsitsipas got the best possible start to his clay season. He won the 2024 Monte Carlo Masters and also reached the final of the Barcelona Open a week later. However, he was stunned by Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in the second round in the Spanish capital.

Moreover, the Greek tennis star also recently had a breakup with former WTA World No. 2 Paula Badosa. Interestingly, Nadal leads 7-2 over Tsitsipas in their head-to-head record.

Final: Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev

In the final, Rafael Nadal can face his arch-rival, Novak Djokovic. The Serb will be playing his first match since the 2024 Monte Carlo Masters semifinals, where he lost against Casper Ruud. Hence, Djokovic is expected to play fresh tennis as he has played limited matches this year.

Apart from Djokovic, Alexander Zverev can also be Rafael Nadal’s rival in the final match of the tournament. The last three appearances between Nadal and Zverev have taken place on clay courts as Nadal leads 2-1. However, scenarios have changed as the German has maintained himself in the top 10 in the last few years and he will be a worthy opponent for the King of Clay if he manages to reach the final.

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