- Rafael Nadal will seek to defend his Italian Open title
- He’s won the tournament a record eight times
- He’ll face Novak Djokovic in the final for the fifth time
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic often are involved in tiebreakers in their chosen line of work, so this should be right up their alley.
Novak Djokovic is through to the #RomeMasters final and comes up against Rafael Nadal tomorrow for the 8th time in Rome.
They've met each others 53 times in the past. Djokovic leads 28-25 against the Spaniard. #ItalianOpen
— Ediye (@iamOkon) May 18, 2019
The two tennis superstars will clash in Sunday’s Italian Open final. It’s the fith time they’ll meet in the final of the tournament. BetOnline has established Nadal as the chalk to win the title.
Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal ATP Italian Open Final Odds
|Player||Moneyline||Spread||Total at BetOnline|
|Novak Djokovic||+2.5 (+100)||+159||O 22 (-121)|
|Rafael Nadal||-2.5 (+100)||-179||U 22 (+101)|
*Odds taken 05/18/19
The top-two ranked players in the world, no. 1 Djokovic and no. 2 Nadal have split four previous meetings in the Italian Open final, so Sunday’s match sets up as the tiebreaker.
Nadal Makes Amends
Still the most dominant clay-court player on the planet, this season cracks have begun to appear in the pottery of success that Nadal has molded upon his favorite surface.
He’s yet to win a tournament on a clay court this year. It’s the first time he’s reached this point in the month of May without a clay-court triumph since 2004.
Nadal owns open-era records for consecutive match (85) and set (58) wins, both established on clay-court surfaces. He’s 13-3 on clay this season, but until this event, had crashed out in the semifinals three tournaments in a row. He lost in both the Monte Carlo and Barcelona, tournaments where he was three-time defending champion.
Last week in Madrid, he fell 4-6, 6-2, 3-6 to Stefanos Tsipsitas. But Nadal avenged that defeat, whipping Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the Italian Open semifinals.
Novak Knows Rafa
Tsitsipas was seeking to become the second player to twice beat Nadal on a clay court during the same season. The only person to do that? Djokovic.
In 2015, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semifinals at Monte Carlo and in the quarterfinals of the French Open.
When it comes to the Italian Open, only Djokovic knows how to beat Nadal in the final. Nadal is 8-2 in the final of this tournament, losing to Djokovic in 2011 and 2014.
Djokovic is 4-4 in previous Italian Open final appearances. Along with his two wins over Nadal, he also beat Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and Roger Federer in 2015.
He is 8-1 on clay this season. Prior to this event, Djokovic won the Madrid Open.
French Dress Rehearsal?
In 2015, Djokovic entered the French Open holding the title in the other three Grand Slam events of tennis – the US and Australian Opens and Wimbledon.
He beat Nadal en route to the French Open title, ending the Spaniard’s 39-match winning streak at Roland Garros.
Djokovic came into that French Open off his Italian Open final victory over Federer.
Is It One Or Two?
Djokovic, who beat unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7(2-7), 6-3 in his semifinal, is the top-rated player in tennis. Nadal is no. 2. Nadal is the winningest Italian Open champion. Djokovic is no. 2.
Novak Djokovic through to the next stage of the Rome Masters..with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win over Diego Schwartzman from Argentina.
— THE SOWAH's®?? (@jamessowah) May 18, 2019
Overall, Nadal owns a 16-7 career edge over Djokovic in matches played on clay surfaces, including the last two meetings. But Djokovic has won three of the last five head-to-clashes.
Lately, it’s been a much more even affair when these two meet. Nadal won their first nine matches on clay. Djokovic finally bettered him in the 2011 Madrid final.
Revenge is sweet as Rafael Nadal sweeps past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Italian Open final, a week after losing to the Greek in Madrid pic.twitter.com/8AY9OxR0S0
— AFP Sport (@AFP_Sport) May 18, 2019
In tournament final matchups, Nadal’s won seven of 11 times.
Lately, though. Djokovic has proven to be the player to beat on all surfaces. He bettered Nadal in the Australian Open final and we like him to get the job done here as well.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.