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Fognini to face Tsonga in Rome opener

This content was published 3 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Italy’s Fabio Fognini, the No. 10 seed, has been drawn to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a mouth-watering first round encounter at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Fognini plays here on a career-high ranking at No. 12 having enjoyed the best week of his career last month when he defeated Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal on his way to lifting the trophy at Monte Carlo. The Italian will be hoping to recreate that kind of form in front of the home crowds at the Foro Italico this week but will face a tricky opener against the veteran Frenchman who is rediscovering his form following a lengthy battle with a knee injury.

Top seed Novak Djokovic, a four-time champion in Rome, awaits the winner of the first round match between Pablo Carreno Busta and Denis Shapovalov while Rafael Nadal will open his campaign against a French opponent as he plays the winner of the clash between Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy.

Roger Federer, the No. 3 seed, is back in Rome for the first time since 2016 and will play either Frances Tiafoe or Joao Sousa in the second round. He is in the same quarter as Fognini, Tsonga and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and the same half as the fifth seed Dominic Thiem, who defeated him in the quarterfinals in Madrid, and defending champion Nadal.

David Goffin will play Stan Wawrinka with the winner to play No. 7 seed Juan Martin Del Potro who returned to the Tour at Madrid last week after a two and a half month injury absence. Also in their quarter is 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato, who plays NextGen star Alex De Minaur in the first round, and world No. 1 Djokovic.

Italian wildcard Matteo Berrettini will play France’s Lucas Pouille with No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev waiting in the wings for the winner in the second round, while another home hope, Andrea Basso, who won through pre-qualifying to secure a wildcard into the main draw has a tough opener against the No. 9 seed Marin Cilic. Seventeen-year-old Jannik Sinner, the other recipient of the pre-qualifying wildcard, could meet Tsitsipas in the second round should he find a way past Steve Johnson.

Other notable first round matches include No. 13 seed Borna Coric against Felix Auger-Aliassime, Grigor Dimitrov versus Jan-Lennard Struff and Italy’s Andreas Seppi against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The draw took place on Court Pietrangeli on Friday evening with Tsonga, Lorenzo Sonego, Karolina Pliskova and Elisabetta Cocciaretto in attendance. The men’s main draw matches will get underway on Sunday.

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