• Nadal back in action at Rome Masters

    5/12/13 10:33 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal back in action at Rome Masters Rafael Nadal is a Rome title away from snagging the No. 4 seed at the upcoming French Open. Nadal headlines the second quarter of this week's draw along with David Ferrer and Milos Raonic.

    This would have been hard to believe just about three months ago, but Rafael Nadal's French Open seeding destiny is in his own hands. If Nadal wins the Internazionali BNL d'Italia this week, he will be seeded fourth at Roland Garros and assured of facing Novak Djokovic no earlier than the semifinals.

    According to the math, the fifth-ranked Spaniard has to capture the Rome title and David Ferrer cannot reach the semifinals. With the the two countrymen in the same quarter of the Rome bracket, the former cannot happen without the latter.

    Of course, both Nadal and Ferrer have work to do before a potential quarterfinal showdown--especially Ferrer. The world No. 4 may open against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco before a possible meeting with Milos Raonic and Philipp Kohlschreiber. One of the more intriguing first-rounder pits Raonic against Kohlschreiber with the winner likely to face Albert Ramos.

    Unlike the case in Madrid, where Nadal triumphed on Sunday, the crowd will be against him in his 2013 Rome debut. The fifth seed will battle the winner of an all-Italian showdown between Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini. Seppi made a memorable run to the quarterfinals last year thanks to thrilling three-set defeats of John Isner and Stanislas Wawrinka. Qualifier Ernests Gulbis is a potential third-round opponent for Nadal.

    Speaking of Gulbis, talk about some terrible luck for Jarkko Nieminen. The Finn would have surely preferred to face any qualifier other than Gulbis, against whom he is 0-4 lifetime (0-2 in 2013) and 0-8 in sets. But Nieminen has to go up against the Latvian one more time on Monday.

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what if Ferrer is outsed in 1st round, Rafa still has to win this to reach RG at Nr. 4?

Shireling , 5/13/13 12:27 PM

Shirling: Stop fretting about his seeding. If he is going to win RG he will do it regardless of his ranking! I and others have already postulated a SF meeting with Nole might even favour Rafa.

ed251137 , 5/13/13 1:07 PM

^^^I'm even worried Rafa will go hell for leather to win Rome and get himself up to #4! I would prefer he enters RG as #5 and gets Novak in the quarters as history has shown us that Novak takes his time to get to cruise control at RG and is more likely to be upset before the finals.......

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 1:15 PM

I don't think Rafa is that bothered about being seeded #4 at RG at all. Who is he scared of? He wasn't ready to play Nole in MC, his recovery has moved on since then.

nadline , 5/13/13 1:26 PM

At this point, I am very grateful Nole decided not to withdraw from MC. The MC defeat gave Rafa a look-in in terms of how his game shapes up post the long break against Novak, who is closest to Rafa on clay. This has given Rafa plenty of time to prepare.............

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 1:47 PM

Personally I'd prefer he meets Nole in the semis raher than in the QFs

Shireling , 5/13/13 2:11 PM

^^^Shireling, that's true, but anything less than the title for Rafa in any tournament is not good, on any surface. Ok, you get 240 points more for reaching the SF, but that's by the by.

nadline , 5/13/13 2:20 PM

I really dont care where Rafa is seeded, I just hope he wins!! Rafa is capable of many things, a fierce competitor, so reagrdless of what hand he's dealt he always rises to the occassion, baring injury!

Up, up and away, Rafa!!! One match at a time!

By the way, when is Rafa scheduled to play?

Monalysa , 5/13/13 3:11 PM

Rafa plays Wednesday

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 3:33 PM

Rafa is under pressure to defend his points in Rome and RG after which he's got 45 points to defend at Wimby and nothing until the end of the season.

nadline , 5/13/13 3:47 PM

nadline, what that means is after RG he cannot lose ranking points.
But as far as year end ranking or race to London is concerned, there is no advantage. He has to pile up at least 10000 points to get to number 1.

holdserve , 5/13/13 4:05 PM

Not easy when he missed a slam and other tournaments in January. Rafa never expressed much interest in the ranking as opposed to winning tournaments. Then again, should he manage once more to be number 1, even for a shorter stretch, that would be an awesome achievements, between Novak and the knees. Almost no ATP player regained the number one status once lost. Lendl (I believe), the Fed, Novak and who else?

chlorostoma , 5/13/13 4:38 PM

Shireling: You're right - I meant to say a QF (not SF) could favour Rafa. But there's nowt we can do about it except wait and see! Rafa has already stated he's not bothered by his ranking or where he is seeded. The only thing that is slightly bothering is if he has several tough matches this week there is only a week off before RG. But watching him yesterday I guess he's mastered how to pace himself.

ed251137 , 5/13/13 4:45 PM

That's the funny thing with Rafa, the normal thing is to worry about him over-playing but Rafa needs matches to get into his groove! I am confident his team know the right balance to strike.......


rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 5:09 PM

Sampras also regained number 1 after losing it temporarily.


Conspirator , 5/13/13 5:14 PM

@holdserve, 5/13/13 4:05 PM

It does matter if Rafa does as well after the clay season as he's done so far, because it means that the other top players who have a lot of points to defend will be losing points and Rafa will be able to move up the rankings before YE.

nadline , 5/13/13 5:52 PM

When Rafa spent three years as No.2 if he was asked if he was hoping to capture the No.1 spot he always said he was quite happy as No.2, adding it was a privilege to be second to someone as good as Roger. I believe he genuinely does not set great store by where he is in the rankings - what matters to him is competing and winning.

ed251137 , 5/13/13 5:54 PM

So Rafa will play the Fog in the 2nd round........

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 5:58 PM

holdserve, the reason Rafa has no been able to move up the rankings so far despite winning 5 titles to Federer's 0 is because he is defending a lot of points. If he keeps winning having defended his clay points, (fingers crossed), he will move up the rankings quickly.

nadline , 5/13/13 6:11 PM


The players are adding all their points to the Race and net points won to the 52 week rolling points. So Rafa's net after RG will be the same as his gross points except for 45 points at Wimbledon.

nadline , 5/13/13 6:16 PM

What a transformation in Foggy. He has been on quite a run this past few weeks.

ed251137 , 5/13/13 6:22 PM

The draw is pretty tricky for Rafa up till the quarters. He has tricky customers, The Fog to start with and then Gulbis possibly. Both will not give him rithym so he has to be extra focused on both occasions, very demanding......

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 6:29 PM

ed, did you see the Fog vs Seppi match? The way Seppi was playing, Fog should have won 0:0

nadline , 5/13/13 6:57 PM

It depends on which Gulbis turns up against Rafa. If the one who beat Neiminen today turns up, Rafa will eat him. Still, you can never take Gulbis for granted, he is able to trouble anyone on his day.

nadline , 5/13/13 7:01 PM

And the trouble is, Rafa "energizes" everybody who gets to play him. Everybody wants to beat him, it's considered such a fresher in one's cap to beat Rafa regardless of surface. Rosol became an instant celebrity after beating Rafa. Isner suddenly became a clay court favorite after troubling Rafa at RG. Gulbis himself became a household name after taking Rafa to 3 sets in Rome. As for Soderling......enough said.

Watch the Fog suddenly find his game on Wednesday...........

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 7:23 PM

Feather, not fresher...........IPad fail.....

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 7:25 PM

Rosol has replaced Tipsa.

nadline , 5/13/13 8:18 PM

Kohls beat Raonic in straight sets.

nadline , 5/13/13 8:28 PM


I was about to say the eaxct same thing................every one becomes inspired when they play Rafa!!

@ Nadline, I thought Rosol lost his qualifier, how comes he repalces Tipsy?

Monalysa , 5/13/13 9:21 PM

^^Rosol is a lucky loser, seriously.

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 9:25 PM

Could you believe that?! Rosol is in Rafa's quarter, replacing Tipsy as he got a spot as a lucky loser! Finally, Rafa gets an opportunity for revenge........that's if Rosol gets by Troicki!!

Monalysa , 5/13/13 9:27 PM

Troicki is not playing well at all these days, so Rosol has a good shot at beating him. How ironic is that! Rafa and Rosol possibly meeting at Rome? That will be a good change for Rafa to get his revenge.

Nativenewyorker , 5/13/13 9:45 PM

Rosol won't make it past Gulbis, if he gets past Troicki.......

rafaisthebest , 5/13/13 10:06 PM

Typo in my previous post. I meant to say that it will be a good chance for Rafa to get his revenge. I forgot about Gulbis. Yes, it's entirely possible that Rosol won't get past Gulbis.

Nativenewyorker , 5/13/13 10:20 PM

nadline that's exactly what I said. His not having to defend points after RG means he won't lose points. But if he wants to move up the rankings, he needs to win ranking points after the clay season. If he wants to be 1 or 2 ,he better aim for 10000 points.
If the others defend their points, he will have no movement up the rankings. He has to keep winning. True if he wins Rome and RG, he is assured of no. 4 ranking for a considerable stretch of the year, maybe even year end.
But Rafa needs to try for 1 or 2 if his knee holds up.

holdserve , 5/14/13 4:00 AM

Of course he has to keep winning.

nadline , 5/14/13 8:41 AM

As Rafa has said in the past: when you concentrate on winning, the ranking follows.

ed251137 , 5/14/13 10:11 AM

In preparation for RG, the outcome of a potential match between Novak and Rafa has a huge psychological importance, unless it is a very close match in which one barely manages to scrape the win.

Shireling , 5/14/13 12:26 PM

But could be opposite, making the loser EVEN MORE determined!

deuce , 5/14/13 1:40 PM

Any Idea if the Rome masters is being telecasted live in India?

atul1985 , 5/14/13 2:12 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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