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Three Italian players, Matteo Berrettini, Andreas Seppi and Jannik Sinner, will be in action on day one at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Wildcard Berrettini has been in flying form in recent weeks and plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 31. The 23-year-old followed up his title victory at Budapest with a runner-up finish at Munich and enters his home tournament with high hopes of a deep run.
Standing in Berrettini’s way in the first round will be France’s Lucas Pouille, a semi-finalist at the Italian Open in 2016, who has been struggling with his form of late – the Challenger title at Bordeaux ended a run of six straight defeats for the Frenchman. The pair will meet in the second match on Grandstand Court.
Rising star Sinner will face Steve Johnson in the third match on Court Centrale in what is the Italian’s debut appearance at the Foro Italico. The 17-year-old has also been in impressive form this year, winning his first ATP match as a qualifier at Budapest, claiming his maiden Challenger title at Bergamo, reaching the final at the Ostrava Challenger as well as lifting the trophy at two ITF events.
Sinner will face a tough opponent in the experienced former world No. 21 Johnson, who has won multiple clay court titles, but the youngster will take comfort from the fact that the American hasn’t enjoyed much success on the clay courts at the Italian Open. He has exited in the first round on two of his three previous appearances here and fell in the second round in 2018.
Seppi, who is playing here for the 15th time, is looking to avoid a third straight first round loss in Rome when he faces the tricky Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in his opening match. The Italian trails their head-to-head 0-2 but the pair has never played on clay.
Other first round matches taking place on Sunday include No. 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili against Marton Fucsovics and Philipp Kohlschreiber versus Gilles Simon. A selection of doubles matches plus the second round of qualifying complete Sunday’s order of play.