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Corona ATP Weekly Slice: Nadal Solidifies Lead; Djokovic Returns

Corona ATP Slice

Tap into the essentials of the week ahead and re-live the highlights of the past week with Corona ATP Weekly Slice, as we serve up an executive summary of what every fan should know, along with a look at the best in social media.

LOOKING AHEAD

Who's Playing This Week?
Seventeen of the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, led by World No. 1 and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal, will contest the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. World No. 2 and two-time titlist Novak Djokovic is the other former winner in the field. The duo accounts for the past nine titles captured at the Foro Italico (since 2005).

Internazionali BNL d'Italia (Rome)
This Roman tournament is the third of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 contested on clay. High fashion, fine food, fabulous shopping and celebrity musical performances have made it one of the most glamorous stops on the ATP World Tour.

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Defending Champion – In 2013, Nadal entered the tournament ranked No. 5 and went on to earn his tournament-record seventh title (2005-'07, ’09-10, ’12-'13). He has reached the final eight times, finishing runner-up to Djokovic in 2011. The only time he didn’t reach the final was in 2008 (l. to Ferrero in 2R). Nadal seeks to improve on his 41-2 record in Rome in his 10th straight appearance.

The Battle For No. 1 – Nadal is guaranteed to remain No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings through Rome, having amassed 12,900 ranking points, including those retained after defending his Madrid title. Djokovic will have 11,030 points going into Rome and has to defend 180 earned last year. Djokovic will have 11,850 points if he takes the Rome crown.

Novak Is Back - The 26-year-old Djokovic, who withdrew from Madrid with a right wrist injury, is back in Rome for the eighth straight year. The Serb has a 24-5 record, always reaching the quarter-finals or better. The right-hander won the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and '11 (d. Nadal). Three of his losses have come to Nadal (’07 QF; ’09, ’12 final).

Rafa's Title Streak - Nadal is trying to keep his streak of having won at least two European ATP World Tour clay court titles coming into Roland Garros. For the past nine years (from 2005-13), Nadal has won two-more European clay titles, including the Madrid, Rome sweep in 2010 and last year. Since 2005, Nadal has also won Rome or Madrid seven of the past nine years (except ’08, ’11).

Bryans Closing in on Century Mark – The World No. 1 pairing of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan is closing in on 100 titles on the ATP World Tour. They have 98 titles together (Mike has 100 overall, Bob 98). Their 24-match winning streak ended in the hands of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the Madrid final. The 36-year-old twins are three-time winners in Rome (2008, ’10, ’13).

Potential Milestones (Match wins as of 12 May 2014)
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is three victories away from reaching 300 match wins. On clay, Lleyton Hewitt is at 98 wins, close to joining Roger Federer as the only active players to win at least 100 matches on clay, grass and hard courts.

Rome– Singles
Andreas Seppi - 246 wins
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 298 wins

Rome – Doubles
Rohan Bopanna - 199 wins
David Marrero - 149 wins
Max Mirnyi - 649 wins
Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi - 199 wins

Emirates ATP Rankings Movers
Kei Nishikori 9 (+3 spots) - career-high
Ernests Gulbis 17 (+3 spots) - career-high
Roberto Bautista Agut 28 (+17 spots) - career-high
Santiago Giraldo 36 (+10 spots) - career-high
Igor Sijsling 53 (+6 spots)
Dominic Thiem 61 (+9 spots) - career-high
Lukasz Kubot 63 (+15 spots)
Julian Reister 91 (+21 spots)

Birthdays
15 May - Andy Murray (27)
15 May - Leonardo Mayer (27)
16 May - Grigor Dimitrov (23)
16 May - Lukasz Kubot (32)
17 May - Guido Pella (24)
17 May - Stephane Robert (34)
18 May - Kevin Anderson (28)
18 May - Michael Llodra (34)
18 May - Tatsuma Ito (26)

Player To Watch: Fabio Fognini Fognini
Fabio Fognini, 26, is the top Italian in the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 15. The Sanremo native has a 3-6 career record in his home country tournament, reaching the second round in 2009, ’12-13. This season, Fognini has earned one clay-court title, in Vina del Mar (d. Mayer), and reached two other finals on the surface, in Buenos Aires (l. to Ferrer) and Munich (l. to Klizan).

Overall there are six Italians in the main draw, not including possible qualifiers. Italian No. 2 Andreas Seppi was a quarter-finalist two years ago. Wild card Filippo Volandri is making his 14th straight appearance (14-13 record) and his best result was the semi-finals in 2007. The last Italian winner was Adriano Panatta in 1976 (d. Vilas).

How To Watch
Watch Rome coverage beginning Monday, 12 May, with 39 matches across the week.
Watch Live Powered by Tennis TV | TV Schedule

WEEK IN REVIEW

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Video of the Week
Rafael Nadal nearly does himself an unusual injury as he chases down a rifled forehand from Jarkko Nieminen in the Madrid third round.

In Case You Missed It...

Madrid - Singles: World No. 1 Nadal captured his 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title as he fought back from a set and a break down against Kei Nishikori to win the Mutua Madrid Open trophy. The Spaniard had turned the match around to lead 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 when Nishikori was forced to retire with a back injury.
Nadal: "This is a very important victory for me."

Madrid - Doubles: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic captured their 26th ATP World Tour team title Sunday as they defeated World No. 1 pairing Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Nestor: "Today we played amazing. I think that's the most important thing, playing well on the big occasion."

Tidbits
Nadal• Nadal received Madrid’s highest honour, named Honourary Citizen and Adopted Son in a special ceremony at Cibeles Palace, leading a week of off-court appearances for players in the Spanish capital. More...
• Federer and wife Mirka are celebrating the arrival of their second set of twins. More...
• As Marin Cilic and Ernests Gulbis prepared to play each other in the Madrid third round, the two got into a lighthearted discussion with the chair umpire about keeping their language friendly for the crowd. Watch...
• Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was courtside at the Caja Magica to watch Nadal in third-round action at the Mutua Madrid Open. More...
• ATPWorldTour.com caught up with Berdych in Madrid to discuss his one-year Twitter anniversary. More...
• We take a look at players with superior finals records using the FedEx ATP Performance Zone and finds out what makes a big match player, with analysis from former ATP World Tour favourites. More...
• The tennis family mourned the loss of Former British No. 1 Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer at age 30. More...
• Doubles specialist Andy Ram has announced his retirement, and will hang up his racquet on 13 September after 17 years on tour. More...
• Canadian Vasek Pospisil shares the last time... Read Q&A

Photo Galleries: Madrid


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