ATP Rome Open-Day 4 Wawrinka, Nadal Shine

 The Italian Open was going into the fourth day of action. The day was packed with Grand Slam winners, top-ten players, and former top-ten players. With the Rome crowd showing up in droves, day four of the tournament was set up to be a fantastic day.

Nadal Cruises

After falling to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open, Rafael Nadal was back in action today in Rome. Nadal was opening his title defense against the big-serving American, John Isner. Coming into this match, Nadal was a big favorite, but Isner can be a tricky opponent if his serve is on.

Unfortunately for the American, Nadal had no issues handling the serve today. Nadal planted himself more than four feet behind the baseline and gave Isner a lot of trouble today. Nadal would look very sharp in his opening match, taking out Isner 6-3, 6-1. Nadal will take on Denis Shapovalov tomorrow.

Tsitsipas-Dimitrov Round 3

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov squared off today for the third time in less than a month. The first two matches happening at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Both matches were very easy wins for Tsitsipas and their Rome match looked like it could be very similar to the first two encounters.

Today’s match started much like the last two. Stefanos Tsitsipas took the first set, 6-3. After breaking Dimitrov to make the score 5-3 in the second set, this match looked to be done and over with. Dimitrov had other plans, however. He would win four straight games to take the second set, 7-5. The third match between these two would go to a deciding third set.

The third set was pretty standard to start. Dimitrov saved some break points early, while Tsitsipas saved a few match points toward the end of the set. Eventually, the set, and match, would have to be decided by a tie-break. Tsitsipas would jump out to a lightning-fast, 5-0 lead. Dimitrov would fight back to make it 5-4 before Tsitsipas would serve the match out to dispatch the Bulgarian.

Stan the Man Is Back

Stanislas Wawrinka has been working his way back slowly. He secured his first win in more than a year over the big-serving American, Reilly Opelka. It was a great win and moment for the Swiss great. Today, against Laslo Djere, Wawrinka had a chance to back that win up.

Coming into this match, Wawrinka knew he was the more talented and accomplished player but Djere was somebody who would beat Stan if he wasn’t sharp. Wawrinka came out firing, not facing a break point on his serve in the entire first set. The set would go to a tie-break where Wawrinka would prevail 10-8 after saving multiple set points.

In the second set, Wawrinka was not as sharp or clinical as he needed to be. Stan would have multiple break points on Djere’s serve but failed to capitalize on any of them. It was Djere, who began to pressure Wawrinka’s serve late in the second set, who would take his chance and break serve. Djere would take the second set, 6-3.

Djere seemed to have all the momentum going into the third set and solidified that momentum by break Wawrinka’s serve early in the third set. Wawrinka showed no signs of quitting, however. Stan would break Djere’s serve to get back on serve and get the match to 5-4. Djere fought off a few match points but eventually, Stan would convert one of his many match points and win the match.

This was a vintage Stanislas Wawrinka performance. To put together a couple of wins heading into the French Open has to do wonders for the confidence. Tomorrow, Wawrinka will take on Novak Djokovic in their 26th meeting. That should be a fun one.

Quick Hits

  • Alexander Zverev, coming off his Madrid Open final appearance, beat Sebastian Baez in two sets.
  • Karen Khachanov takes out Pablo Carreno-Busta in three tight sets.
  • Marcos Giron, who got in as a lucky loser, upsets Diego Schwartzman in two sets.
  • Alex de Minaur beat Tommy Paul in two sets.
  • Jenson Brooksby takes out David Goffin in two sets.
  • Marin Cilic upsets Cam Norrie in three sets.
  • Jannik Sinner overcomes Fabio Fogini in the all-Italian clash.