The master tournament in Rome is the last major preparation tournament for Roland Garros. The second grand slam of this year starts on Sunday, May 28, but will go ahead without the injured Rafael Nadal. A new generation of top tennis players has been knocking on the door of the global top for some time and will show in Rome that they are ready to take over from the old guard.
For years Rafael Nadal reigned supreme at Roland Garros, winning no fewer than 14 titles. That era seems to have come to an end. The now 36-year-old Spaniard has been struggling with physical setbacks for several months and the chances of Nadal returning to the tour at a high level seem slim. Carlos Alcaraz is widely regarded as his successor and is living up to that status with a number one ranking and an impressive preseason on gravel. Still, things did not go well for Alcaraz in Rome. In the third round, he was the defecten by the relatively unknown Hungarian Fabian Marozsan.
The Rome Masters tournament shows a clear reflection of the balance of power at the moment. Novak Djokovic is struggling with his form and was beaten in the round of sixteen by Holger Rune. The young Dane is an absolute contender for the overall victory in Paris and can cement that status by claiming the title in Rome. To do so, he must first deal with Casper Ruud in the semifinals. The 24-year-old Norwegian has so far had a steady season and is rightly in fourth place in the world rankings. Ruud can also be added to the list of contenders for the Roland Garros title.
Medvedev surprisingly strong
Stefanos Tsitsipas is someone we keep in mind every tournament. The Greek reached the final in Barcelona, in which he lost to Alcaraz, and in Madrid the quarter-finals were the finish line. At 24, Tsitsipas is still a youngster and many years of success still lie ahead. In the semifinals, the world number five will play Daniil Medvedev.
And that may come as a surprise. Medvedev hates playing on gravel, but seems to be getting better at it on the ground brick. Alexander Zverev was put aside in two sets and the Russian's game is looking better and better. It will therefore be a very interesting showdown on Saturday with Tsitsipas and we can get ready for a dazzling Roland Garros where the contenders can finally be counted on more than one hand.
Odds final winner Rome
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