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Musetti Sets Up Clash With Opelka In Rome

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

With Hubert Hurkacz retiring in the second set on Monday, Lorenzo Musetti set up a second-round clash with Reilly Opelka at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

“It’s going to be the first time playing against him,” the Italian wild card said. “I just know that he serves so good and he’s so tall. I will try to return as best as I can and try to focus on my service game.”

Against Hurkacz on Monday, Musetti saved 2/2 break points and hit 13 winners to just two errors in the first set. He was leading 6-4, 2-0 when Hurkacz was forced to stop.

Just 19 years old, Musetti made huge waves in Rome last year when he reached the third round as a qualifier with wins over Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka. He followed up the breakthrough week with his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Forli and his first ATP Tour semi-final in Sardinia. The teenager has appeared in nine ATP Tour events, five of which have been in Italy where he’s 11-4.

“It’s always incredible playing here in Rome,” Musetti said. “It’s a fantastic site here in Foro Italico. Even without a crowd, tonight was really fun.”

The #NextGenATP star has had continued success this year with a third round appearance in Miami and a semi-final run in Acapulco that saw him pick up his first Top 10 win (Diego Schwartzman). He enters this week at a career-high No. 82 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Opelka snapped a six-match losing streak by beating Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-5 for his first win since the Australian Open in February. The American hit 18 aces and faced zero break points in the 66-minute victory.

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Ram: 'Sport Has A Very Special Power To Unite'

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

In commemoration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, American doubles standout Rajeev Ram, who was born to Indian immigrants, wrote an essay about his proud roots as an Asian-American.

The 37-year-old discussed how much tennis connects people from many backgrounds and cultures, condemned hate crimes and more.

Ram, who won two ATP Tour singles titles and has lifted 20 tour-level doubles trophies, currently plays full-time doubles alongside Joe Salisbury. They have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in each of the past two seasons.

Read this excerpt below from Ram’s essay penned for

Sport, and specifically tennis, is an amazing thing. It creates the most pressure-packed, drama-filled, real-life reality-TV situations possible. Players playing as individuals, with a partner of same or opposite gender, or on a team vying for a common goal and asking their bodies and minds to continue to stretch seemingly unstretchable limits. But more, sport also has a very special power to unite, and grants a very special privilege to those who play it as its highest level to utilise their respective sport as a platform for doing good… For speaking out and reaching out…. To touch and enhance lives.

As a professional athlete, that is both a unique opportunity and an awesome responsibility.

May is AAPI Heritage month, and being a member of this group and seeing daily all the injustice going on, I feel it’s so important to stand up and speak out against this injustice. I am a proud Asian-American and I believe we are all created equal and deserve to be treated that way regardless of race. Being specifically of south Asian descent, unfortunately hate crimes are nothing new for people of my heritage. The reality is that these people are some of the most selfless, good-natured individuals who have built their lives from the ground up in a completely foreign culture all with the benefit of their future generations in mind. I consider myself so fortunate because I was able to see this sacrifice and perseverance first hand from my parents as well as the constant reminder of how important it is to be a nice, kind and tolerant person.

Through my experiences in this great game, I’ve seen time and again how the lines of a tennis court can so perfectly connect people from all countries and races and beliefs. I consider myself very lucky to have been playing tennis for as long as I can remember and for the last 15-plus years to do it as my profession.

Visit to read Ram’s full essay.

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Djokovic Discusses ‘Inevitable’ Future Rankings Shift

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Following Alexander Zverev’s triumph at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday, Novak Djokovic took a moment to address the recent success of younger ATP Tour stars ahead of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

The World No. 1, who is bidding to capture his sixth title in the Italian capital this week, was asked in his pre-tournament press conference about the recent generational shift in power on the ATP Tour. The past four ATP Masters 1000 champions, Daniil Medvedev, Hubert Hurkacz, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, are all former #NextGenATP stars.

“The results are showing that [there is a shift in generations],” Djokovic said. “These guys are playing every week more or less. There are guys like Tsitsipas, Zverev, Matteo Berrettini [and] Andrey Rublev that are winning against all of us and playing a lot and building their ranking points.

“Medvedev as well, of course, [is] challenging for the top spots. Dominic Thiem, of course, has been there for many years. It’s inevitable that it’s going to happen. The change in the [FedEx ATP] Rankings is coming. Whether it’s going to happen in a month or a year or whatever, I don’t know.”


While Djokovic is aware that the younger players on the ATP Tour are starting to enjoy more frequent success at the top of the sport, the Serbian was given a big opportunity to reminisce about the greatness of his own generation on Monday.

The 36-time Masters 1000 champion shared a practice session with former World No. 1 Andy Murray, who is training in Rome in preparation for his return to the ATP Tour. Djokovic and Murray have contested 36 ATP Head2Head encounters (Djokovic leads 25-11), including two clashes at this event (1-1). Djokovic outlasted Murray in an epic 2011 semi-final at the Foro Italico, before Murray gained revenge in the 2016 championship match.

“I was very happy to see [Andy]. I haven’t seen him in a while, and it was great to hit with him,” Djokovic said. “I thought he played very well on the court. He moved well, considering it’s clay, which is not the best surface for his hips. Considering what he has been through lately, I think it seems like he’s been feeling well on the court.

“That’s what he’s saying, and that’s [how] it appears on the court itself. We had a nice chat and had a few laughs on the court as well. It was just great. It brought back the old times when we spent a lot of time on the court together, whether it was training or playing against each other.”

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic practised together at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday.

Djokovic enters Rome with a 3-2 record on clay this year, following his third-round exit at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Evans) and his run to the Serbia Open semi-finals (l. to Karatsev).

The five-time champion will open his Rome campaign against Taylor Fritz, whom he beat in a dramatic five-set encounter en route to his ninth Australian Open title in February. In comparison to previous European clay swings, Djokovic may be short of match practice ahead of that clash, but the top seed is confident he can raise his level and return to his best form.

“I didn’t play so great in Monaco and Belgrade, but I’m hopefully going to change that here in Rome and then [I have] another week in Belgrade before Roland Garros,” Djokovic said.

“Four tournaments before Roland Garros is, I think, enough in terms of match play. I’m building my fitness and I’m building just my game slowly, step by step in order to peak in Paris. That’s definitely where I want to play my best.”

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Preview: Karatsev To Battle Medvedev In Rome

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia will see Daniil Medvedev and Aslan Karatsev face off in a highly anticipated night match.

On Monday, Karatsev beat Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(2), 6-4 to improve his season record to 20-6. Medvedev is 18-4 this year, but 1-1 on clay and 0-2 in his previous Rome appearances.

Though it’s their first meeting, Medvedev and Karatsev helped Russia win this year’s ATP Cup. With Medvevdev and Andrey Rublev playing singles, Karatsev was delegated to the doubles court.

“Aslan, I’m not joking, was a secret weapon for doubles,” Medvedev said in February. “He didn’t manage to show it because we didn’t have a 1-1 match, but he was our secret weapon.”

Russia’s secret weapon would reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open as a qualifier with wins over Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov. He followed up his breakthrough run with an ATP 500 title in Dubai and a final showing in Belgrade. Since starting the year outside of the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, the 27-year-old has established himself inside the Top 30.

“I think nobody can understand. I’m honest. I think only he can try to explain at least what’s going on,” Medvedev said about Karatsev in Miami. “In Dubai, I watched his matches. He was playing definitely I would say Top 10, Top five level. He beat some amazing guys in amazing ways there. Hopefully, he can keep the momentum going throughout his career. Four Russians almost in the Top 20 is unbelievable.”

Russia’s Karen Khachanov is ranked No. 24, while Karatsev is No. 27. Although he is up to World No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Medvedev has yet to find his footing on clay. After testing positive for COVID-19 in Monte-Carlo, he lost in the third round of Madrid to Cristian Garin.

Novak Djokovic will play Taylor Fritz following Madrid finalist Matteo Berrettini’s match with Nikoloz Basilashvili. Djokovic last competed in Belgrade, where he lost against Karatsev in the semi-finals.

“I didn’t have too many matches,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t play so great in Monaco and Belgrade, but I’m hopefully going to change that here in Rome and then another week in Belgrade before the French.”

Also on Tuesday, Grigor Dimitrov will have his hands full against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and eighth seed Schwartzman will play Auger-Aliassime. Italian wild card Lorenzo Musetti will take on Reilly Opelka as he looks to back up his breakthrough third-round run from last year.


CENTER COURT start 10:00 am

WTA – [WC] M. Trevisan (ITA) vs [DA SR]
WTA – Y. Shvedova (KAZ)
First Round
[9] M. Berrettini (ITA) vs N. Basilashvili (GEO)

[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs T. Fritz (USA)

Starting At 6.00PM
WTA – [16] J. Konta (GBR) vs J. Ostapenko (LAT)

GRAND STAND ARENA start 10:00 am

[Q] A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) vs [16] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 
L. Sonego (ITA) vs [14] G. Monfils (FRA)

WTA – [12] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

WTA – A. Kerber (GER) vs [Q] A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 7:00 pm

A. Karatsev (RUS) vs [3] D. Medvedev (RUS)

PIETRANGELI start 10:00 am

WTA – [LL] S. Stephens (USA) vs M. Keys (USA)

WTA – V. Kudermetova (RUS) vs [14] E. Mertens (BEL)

K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [11] P. Carreno Busta (ESP)

[8] D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN)

[Q] F. Delbonis (ARG) vs [12] D. Goffin (BEL)

COURT 1 start 10:00 am

[10] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [Q] T. Paul (USA) 
[13] D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs [Q] K. Majchrzak (POL)
[WC] L. Musetti (ITA) vs R. Opelka (USA)

After suitable rest – [WC] L. Sonego (ITA) / A. Vavassori (ITA) vs A. Mannarino (FRA) / B. Paire (FRA)

COURT 3 start 10:00 am

WTA – [LL] L. Siegemund (GER) vs N. Podoroska (ARG)

WTA – [Q] B. Pera (USA) vs [Q] T. Zidansek (SLO)

Alternate vs L. Kubot (POL) / F. Skugor (CRO)

A. de Minaur (AUS) / J. Struff (GER) vs [3] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK)

[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [WC] F. Fognini (ITA) / L. Musetti (ITA)

COURT 4 start 10:00 am

J. Millman (AUS) vs D. Lajovic (SRB)

[Q] R. Carballes Baena (ESP) vs [Q] C. Norrie (GBR)

[WC] M. Cecchinato (ITA) / S. Travaglia (ITA) vs [7] W. Koolhof (NED) / J. Rojer (NED)

[8] K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

[Alt] M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Middelkoop (NED) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)

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Demoliner/Medvedev Eliminate Murray/Soares In Rome

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Marcelo Demoliner and Daniil Medvedev recovered from a set and a break down on Monday to upset sixth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-4 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Demoliner and Medvedev trailed 6-3, 4-3 on Court 4, but they quickly recovered and dominated the Match Tie-break to reach the second round after one hour and 41 minutes. The Brazilian-Russian tandem also caused an upset at last week’s Mutua Madrid Open, where they overcame Miami and Monte-Carlo finalists Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski.

Demoliner and Medvedev will attempt to reach their third ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final as a team this week. The pair advanced to the last eight at back-to-back clay-court Masters 1000 tournaments in Monte-Carlo and Madrid in 2019.


Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar needed a 30-point Match Tie-break to defeat Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6, 7-6(5), 16-14. The Delray Beach and Marbella champions saved five match points during the Match Tie-break, before they converted their third opportunity to reach the second round after one hour and 39 minutes.

Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald saved all six break points they faced to beat Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded duo won 86 per cent of their first-serve points (30/35) to move past the Madrid quarter-finalists in 71 minutes.

John Peers and Michael Venus claimed a 7-6(7), 7-6(4) win against Austin Krajicek and Oliver Marach to earn their place in the second round. Peers and Venus, who saved a set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break, are making only their third 2021 appearance as a team this week.

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Sinner Sets Up Nadal Blockbuster In Rome Second Round

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Jannik Sinner set up a blockbuster second-round clash against Rafael Nadal, the nine-time former champion, at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Monday afternoon.

The #NextGenATP Italian recorded his 20th match win of the season by moving past Ugo Humbert of France 6-2, 6-4 in 90 minutes on Center Court at the Foro Italico.


The 19-year-old will now meet his training partner in Australia three months ago. The pair met for the first time in October last year in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, which Nadal won 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1.

Sinner overpowered Humbert with his returns to gain an early break in the third game. Humbert tried to match the World No. 18 from the baseline but was unable to find a way back in the one-sided first set.

Humbert was gifted a 2-0 lead in the second set, courtesy of a double fault, but Sinner immediately responded in a run of four straight games for a 4-2 advantage. The Italian hit 14 winners and won 13 of 15 points in rallies over nine shots.

Elsewhere, 2016 semi-finalist Kei Nishikori got off to a strong start in both sets to beat home favourite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4 in 80 minutes. The Japanese star lost just five of his first-service points (23/28) and he will now play Spanish No. 11 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round.

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Karatsev Claims Milestone Win In Rome

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Aslan Karatsev became the third player to reach 20 wins this season on Monday with a 7-6(2), 6-4 victory against Miomir Kecmanovic at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Karatsev dropped just seven points behind his first serve (31/38) and saved two of the three break points he faced to advance after one hour and 42 minutes. The Russian holds a 7-3 record on clay this season, highlighted by his run to the Serbia Open final (l to Berrettini).

The Dubai champion has joined FedEx ATP Race To Turin leader Stefanos Tsitsipas and Monte-Carlo runner-up Andrey Rublev on the list of players to achieve 20 or more wins this year. Tsitsipas and Rublev are tied at the top of the leaderboard with identical 27-7 records in 2021.

2021 ATP Tour Wins Leaderboard

Rank Player Wins
T1 Stefanos Tsitsipas 27
Andrey Rublev 27
3 Aslan Karatsev 20
T4 Jannik Sinner 19
Alexander Bublik 19

Later in the day, Jannik Sinner and Alexander Bublik will attempt to join Karatsev on 20 wins this year. Sinner will meet Ugo Humbert on Center Court, while Bublik will face former World No. 3 Marin Cilic on Pietrangeli.

Karatsev will meet ATP Cup teammate and third seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round. The 27-year-old owns a 4-3 record against Top 10 opposition this year, which includes his three-hour, 26-minute semi-final victory against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic last month in Belgrade.

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Fritz To Play Djokovic After Evans Win In Rome

  • Posted: May 10, 2021

Taylor Fritz bounced back from a slow start on Monday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia to break a three-match losing streak.

The American won five straight games from a 1-3 deficit in the first set en route to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Briton Daniel Evans, the recent Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters semi-finalist.


“I was really frustrated to give away the early break,” said Fritz. “He played two pretty good points, then I missed two forehands. I thought I was hitting the ball really well right from the beginning. I just told myself not to get too upset about it, as I was playing well. Dan has been playing well lately, beating Novak in Monte-Carlo, so it’s great to get a strong win. I am going to try my best [against Djokovic].”

The 23-year-old Fritz, who reached the last four at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari (l. to Sonego), is now 11-9 on the season and will play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the five-time Rome champion, in the second round.

“We played twice on clay in 2018, in Monte-Carlo and Madrid,” said Fritz, looking ahead to the Djokovic match. “I got beaten pretty bad those two times. I feel better prepared to play him now, after the match in Australia.”

Djokovic beat Fritz 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 in the Australian Open third round in February.

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