Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic square off in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rome Masters.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a three set victory over Nick Kyrgios that took 31 games to decide. Nadal showed his classic fight after dropping the first set in his last match and pretty much dominating the rest of the way. Nadal has now won 15 of his last 16 matches, all of which have come on his favorite surface. Nadal is no longer making the countless silly errors he was in 2015, and he’s starting to look more and more like peak Nadal. Eight of Nadal’s last 10 wins have been decided in straight sets, and he seems to buckle down when needed. Nadal is a scary opponent heading into the French Open. Nadal hopes to reach the semifinals of the Rome Masters for the 10th time.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a three set win over Thomaz Bellucci, a match in which he lost the first set 0-6. Djokovic has certainly been shaky in his last two matches but continues to dig deep and find ways to win like he usually does. Djokovic has still lost just one match since the Indian Wells Masters and completely sucks the life out of an opponent whenever there’s an opening to take control of the match. There’s really not much more you can say about Djokovic, who seems destined for damn near every final with the way he’s played the last few years. Djokovic hopes to reach the semifinals of the Rome Masters for the seventh time.
These two have played 48 times, and Djokovic has won 25 of those meetings. The most recent match was in this year's Indian Wells Masters, a match Djokovic won in straight sets. Djokovic has beaten Nadal in six straight matches and Rafa’s last win came in the 2014 French Open. Nadal is 14-6 against Djokovic on clay court.
You guys know I don’t bet against Djokovic often regardless of the situation. However, Nadal is back in terrific form and is playing on his favorite surface. Nadal has also won 14 of the 20 matches against Djokovic that take place on clay. This seems like a good spot where Nadal can snap his losing streak to his rival.
I’m siding with Nadal to get the victory here.