TennisSection previews the 2021 Rome Open as Novak Djokovic (1) meets Rafael Nadal (2) in the Final on Sunday, May 16th, 2021.
Will Novak Djokovic be able to defend his title which he won last year here in Rome? Will Rafael Nadal get the better of Novak Djokovic once again on clay as he looks to claim his 10th title at this tournament at the 2021 Rome Open? This is a showdown between two of the three best players of all time, who will come out on top as the 2021 Rome Open Champion?
Novak Djokovic had to fight right down to the nail against the young Italian, Lorenzo Sonego, in the Semi-finals, beating him in 3 sets 6-3/6-7/6-2. The match was not so tight in the first set, but the quality in the second and third set was out of this world from both players. Lorenzo was being edged on by the crowd, and you could tell the lack of respect for Novak was betting to the Serb. Novak speaks fluent Italian so he understood a lot of the insults thrown at him. Djokovic will also have to recover fast having been on court for around 5 hours just yesterday playing two matches! However, we all know that Novak can play some of his best tennis when his back is against the wall, and he will be determined to beat his toughest rival in Rafael Nadal to claim his 5th Rome Title.
Rafael Nadal came through an easy two set victory against Reilly Opelka in the Semi-finals, winning against the big serving American 6-4/6-4. Rafael Nadal after the match said that it was not his most beautiful performance, but that is what matches are like against Reilly Opelka due to his massive serve not allowing opponents to maintain a rhythm when returning the ball. Rafael Nadal has had an incredibly tough draw this week, but has still been able to just drop one set, beating the likes of Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev, and Reilly Opelka. Now, Nadal meets one of his biggest rivals in Novak Djokovic and he will want to win at all costs to claim his 10th Rome Open title.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have met 56 times before, with Novak leading the head to head 29-27. The last time they met was in the Final of the 2020 French Open where Nadal absolutely destroyed Novak in straight sets 6-0/6-2/7-5. Novak was in probably the best form he had been in years on clay, and Nadal still made easy work of him. Here at the 2021 Rome Open, Novak sure has been good, but he has nowhere near been as good as Rafa who has shown his incredible fighting ability in a tough draw. Novak’s only tough opponent came in Tsitsipas, whilst Rafa never had a moment to relax. In this high bouncing conditions in Rome, I expect Nadal to get another win on clay against Novak, who will also be very tired from two long matches yesterday, under his belt as he claims his 10th Rome Open title.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Rafael Nadal to Win.