Djokovic/Nadal ready for another Rome duel

This content was published 12 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

They may have been left feeling blue on the unusually quick surfaces of Madrid, but Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be keen to take their frustrations out on their opponents when they move on to Rome.

The Foro Italica has a special place in the hearts of both players with the pair winning all tournaments between them since 2004, and the traditional red clay provides both with perfect opportunities to go into the French Open with plenty of confidence.

Last year it was Djokovic who triumphed 6-4, 6-4 against Nadal in an entertaining final, the Serb at the height of his 2012 purple patch. He also won here in 2008 while Nadal was champion in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Neither man was too happy last week in Spain with Nadal beaten in three sets by Fernando Verdasco in round three before Djokovic lost out to Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals.

It certainly will not be an easy time for the two best players in men’s tennis with the great Roger Federer also in the equation, Britain’s Andy Murray fit again after a back injury and Spaniard David Ferrer ready to prove just why he’s an expert on clay.

The women’s draw appears to be an open field in common with plenty of other tournaments around the globe. Last year Russian Maria Sharapova won her first Internazionali BNL D’Italia with a straight sets win over Samantha Stosur in the final and is in good form having reached the final in Stuttgart, although she was beaten in straight sets by Serena Williams in last week’s Madrid quarter-finals.

Serena, winner here in 2002, will be in action of course alongside sister Venus, the 1999 winner, who has been handed a wildcard, while Victoria Azarenka will be top seed as she looks to recover after losing to Sharapova in Stuttgart.

Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani will be both keen to impress on home soil and the latter certainly has form to speak of going into the tournament. Errani was winner in both Barcelona and Budapest last month in what has been a highly successful clay court season so far for the Bologna-born home favourite.

The action is certainly hotting up as the clay court season reaches its climax and so is the climate with temperatures in Rome exceeding 30 degrees this week. It proves to be an energy-sapping week with the world’s best all in action.

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