- The top quarter of the Rome draw went to form, so No. 1 Novak Djokovic will meet No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas
- It will be their first meeting since a dramatic five-setter in the semifinals of the 2020 French Open
- Djokovic is a slight favorite, but Tsitsipas is the more in-form player. We look at the odds for an upset
If it feels as though Novak Djokovic’s rival Rafael Nadal has been meeting all the young guns on clay this spring, it’s because he has.
Now, it’s Djokovic’s turn, as he faces 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Rome quarterfinals (Friday, May 14, around 8:30 am EDT)
Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
| Novak Djokovic||-1.5 (-122)||-155||O 22.5 (-129)|
| Stefanos Tsitsipas||+1.5 (-105)||+125||U 22.5 (+102)|
Odds as of May 13
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Tsitsipas Pushes Djoko to Five Sets in Paris
When they last met, in Paris last October, Djokovic had a match point to finish off the match in straight sets.
Fighting to get into that elusive first Grand Slam final, Tsitsipas evened it at two sets all before fading in the fifth.
Tsitsipas is still seeking that major final. But he comes into this one with something he didn’t have last fall – his first Masters 1000 title.
How is Djokovic’s Form? Hard to Tell
The world No. 1 was a bit crotchety during his opener against Taylor Fritz. He tried to serve out the match in an increasing downpour, but was broken.
The chair umpire heard all about it.
Rain has picked up in Rome ☔️
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 11, 2021
They called play right then and came back a number of hours later to finish up.
His second match against qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was over in just 70 minutes, 6-2, 6-1.
Djokovic took a tough loss in Monte Carlo, skipped Madrid and took another tough loss to 2021 revelation Aslan Karatsev in the semis of Belgrade.
But the Serb has always been a big crowd pleaser in Rome, in part because he speaks the language.
He is the defending champion, the 2019 finalist, and won it four other times earlier in his career.
Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Head-to-Head
|33 (May 22, 1987)||Age||22 (Aug. 12, 1998)|
|Belgrade, Serbia||Birthplace||Athens, Greece|
|82||Career ATP Singles Titles||6|
|No. 1 (July 4, 2011)||Career High Ranking||No. 5 (Aug. 5, 2019)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 5|
|$147,820,035||Career Prize Money||$14,025,249|
|14-2||2021 Won/Loss record||29-7|
Tsitsipas Quietly Moving Through
After his breakthrough Masters 1000 victory in Monte Carlo, Tsitsipas backed it up with a run to the Barcelona final. He lost to Nadal.
That the tank was somewhat on empty for his third tournament in a row in Madrid was understandable. He lost to eventual semifinalist Casper Ruud in the third round.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 6, 2021
But with nearly a week to rest and recharge, he looks fresh again.
It’s no surprise Tsitsipas was third on the list of pre-tournament favorites – behind Nadal and Djokovic, but ahead of Dominic Thiem and Madrid champion Alexander Zverev.
Tsitsipas did to Madrid finalist Matteo Berrettini in the third round what Ruud did to him in Madrid – took advantage of a player for whom the turnaround was a little too quick.
Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Match History
|2020||Roland Garros (SF)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1||Djokovic|
|2020||Dubai (F)||Outdoor Hard||6-3, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2019||Paris Masters (QF)||Indoor Clay||6-1, 6-2||Djokovic|
|2019||Masters Shanghai (QF)||Outdoor Hard||3-6, 7-5, 6-3||Tsitsipas|
|2019||Masters Madrid (F)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2018||Masters Canada (R16)||Outdoor Hard||6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3||Tsitsipas|
Tsitsipas Has a Shot, but Djokovic Should Prevail
The Greek star hasn’t beaten Djokovic in awhile. But he can take heart from his performance in Paris. Because this is best-of-three sets. And he knows he can win two sets against Djokovic on clay.
Still, he hasn’t had the eye of the tiger this week – yet. With so much clay-court tennis already in the body, he doesn’t want to burn out too quickly before the French Open.
Djokovic has a big week next week as he returns to his home club – again – to host another ATP event. As well, a documentary team will be on hand chronicling his life.
He may be looking ahead a little bit. Although he does know how to win in Rome. And as of Thursday, the fans are back and will support him.
The total games hit plus-money at 23.5 – and that will easily happen it it goes three sets. Which is likely (+125 at Bet365).
Best Bet: Djokovic in three sets (+310)