ATP Rome 3rd Round Predictions: Djokovic-Dolgopolov, Janowicz-Gasquet, Gulbis-Nadal

1. Novak Djokovic v Alexandr Dolgopolov
Novak Djokovic
It could have been a rematch of 2013’s finest encounter to date, but Novak Djokovic was spared an Australian Open rematch with Stanislas Wawrinka as the Madrid finalist pulled out before his third round match.  Djokovic now takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov, another tricky opponent on his day.  Djokovic silently sailed into the third round with a very comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over Albert Montanes.  Djokovic has beaten Dolgo in their last two matches although their last one on the clay, saw Djokovic lose a set in Monte-Carlo.  Their first match-up at the US Open, which Djokovic won in straight sets witnessed an unforgettable first set tiebreak.  You never know what you’re going to get from Dolgopolov, especially in 2013, but I have Djokovic as my winner this week and this should be a straight sets win…

Prediction – Djokovic to beat Dolgopolov in 2 tight sets

2. Jerzy Janowicz v Richard Gasquet
The shirt-ripping, Jerzy Janowicz enjoyed his best win of the year as he took out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a tight two setter, 6-4 7-6(6).  His next challenge will be against another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, who came through against the dangerous, Grigor Dimitrov rather comfortably 6-4 6-4.  Gasquet struggled in Madrid, but seems to back to form in Rome where he is on course for a quarter-final with Roger Federer.  Of course, Janowicz will not be an easy match, but I think on clay, Gasquet is pretty useful.  He beat Janowicz, 6-1 6-4 at Indian Wells earlier this year and I predict another win for Gasquet…

Prediction – Gasquet to beat Janowicz in 2 tight sets

3. Ernests Gulbis v Rafael Nadal
A late addition to this preview is actually the star of the show as Rafael Nadal faces a big test in round three up against Ernests Gulbis.  The Latvian qualifier has kept up his very consistent form over the last couple of months and he completely destroyed Viktor Troicki, 6-1 6-1, who had one of the most hilarious tantrums you are likely to see this year.  Nadal was also swift in progressing to the round of 16, benefitting from an error-strewn effort from home favourite, Fabio Fognini to come through in straight sets, 6-1 6-3.  Nadal won their last encounter, a tight three setter in Indian Wells.  They have met once before on the clay when Gulbis peaked in Rome back in 2010 where he beat Federer and then pushed Nadal to 3 sets in the semi-finals  I think Gulbis could push Nadal to three again, but the Spaniard will come through in the end…

Prediction – Nadal to beat Gulbis in 3 sets

Best of the rest: ATP 3rd Round Predictions
Tomas Berdych to beat Kevin Anderson in 2 tight sets
David Ferrer to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in 2 tight sets
Juan Martin del Potro to beat Benoit Paire in 3 sets
Marcel Granollers to beat Jeremy Chardy in 3 sets
Roger Federer to beat Gilles Simon in 2 sets

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