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Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka Play Thursday

Rome, Italy

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal plays Mikhail Youzhny for a quarter-final spot.

ROUND OF 16: Twelve of the world’s top 20 players, including seven of the top 10, are in action on a star-studded Day 5 in Rome. Leading the way on Centrale are the world’s top three players in the Emirates ATP Rankings – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. Nadal goes up against the No. 14 seed Mikhail Youzhny for the 15th time, with the world No. 1 leading their FedEx H2H series 10-4. Djokovic takes to the night session for his match-up with Philipp Kohlschreiber. The pair has met on four previous occasions with the Serb prevailing in three of those outings. Wawrinka will look to overturn a 0-1 H2H deficit when he opens proceedings on the main show court against No. 15 seed Tommy Haas. David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Milos Raonic are all in action on Grandstand, while Tomas Berdych takes to Pietrangeli for his clash with Grigor Dimitrov.

SPANISH MILESTONE: Ferrer will draw level with former world No. 1 Carlos Moya in career wins if he can find a way past Ernests Gulbis today. Moya, who is 25th on the Open Era match wins leaderboard (575 wins), is one of just three Spaniards – after Nadal (689) and Orantes (641) – with more career wins than Ferrer. Ferrer’s career record is 574-279, while Moya’s was 575-319. 

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Seven-time champ Nadal has a 15-2 record on clay this year. The last time he lost more than two matches on clay in a season was 2004 (14-3). For the past nine years (2005-13), he has won at least two European Tour-level clay court titles coming into Roland Garros.

UP AND RUNNING: Wawrinka, who comfortably came through his opening match, is looking to bounce back this week after losing to youngster Dominic Thiem in his opening match in Madrid last Tuesday. The Swiss won his first ever ATP Masters 1000 crown in Monte-Carlo last month (d. Federer in F). In the 36 Masters 1000 tournaments before Monte-Carlo, the Big Four of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Murray had accounted for 34 titles (28 of the past 29 since 2011). Wawrinka, who reached the final here in 2008, is 6-0 vs. top 10 opponents this season. 

2014 MATCH-WIN LEADERS: Nadal and Berdych, both in action today, feature among the top five win leaders after the opening four months of the season. This year’s win leaderboard:

Rank Player 2014 W-L Titles
1 Rafael Nadal 31-5 3
T2 Roger Federer 28-6 1
T2 Marin Cilic 28-10 2
T4 Kei Nishikori 27-5 2
T4 Tomas Berdych 27-7 1



[3] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs [15] Tommy Haas (GER)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Haas leads 1-0

Wawrinka opened with a comfortable 6-0, 6-3 victory over Spanish qualifier Pere Riba.
• Wawrinka is making his 10th appearance in the Italian capital. His best run came in 2008 when he saw off Marat Safin, Andy Murray, Juan Carlos Ferrero, James Blake and Andy Roddick to reach the final before falling to Djokovic in three sets.  
• Wawrinka has compiled a 21-4 record this season, clinching titles at three of the six events he has contested: Chennai (d. Roger-Vasselin), Australian Open and Monte-Carlo. In Melbourne, the Swiss posted three top 10 wins en route to his maiden Grand Slam victory, including a four-set win over world No. 1 Nadal in the final. In Monte-Carlo, Wawrinka clinched his first ever ATP Masters 1000 title, once again defeating three top 10 players en route to the title, beating Federer in the final. It was just his second win over Federer in 15 meetings between the pair. 
• Last week in Madrid, Wawrinka fell to youngster Dominic Thiem in his opening match. 
• Wawrinka enjoyed a standout season in 2013, winning a personal-best 51 matches (nine vs. top 10 opponents) and he was the lone new addition to the year-end top 10. His prize money total of $2,880,925 was his highest return in a single season – something he has already topped this season, surpassing the $3m mark in the opening four months of 2014. He was also one of just three players, including Nadal and Ferrer, to end the year with 20+ wins on both clay and hard courts. 
Haas brought his six-match losing streak in Rome to an end with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Andreas Seppi in the 1R, before seeing off Igor Sijsling 7-6(6), 6-1 in the 2R. 
• Haas is making his 11th appearance in Rome. After reaching the final in 2002 (l. to Agassi), the German went on to lose in the 1R in his next five appearances in 2004 (l. to Karlovic), 2005 (l. to Kiefer), 2006 (l. to Monfils), 2007 (l. to Stepanek) and 2013 (l. to Youzhny). 
• Haas’ best performance this season came in Zagreb, where he reached the 28th ATP final of his career (l. to Cilic). He also advanced to the SF in Sao Paulo in February (ret. v Lorenzi due to a right shoulder injury) and in Munich (l. to eventual champion Klizan) earlier this month.
• Haas finished 2013 inside the top 12 for the first time since 2007, winning titles in Munich and Vienna. He was the oldest player to finish the year inside the top 20 since Agassi (35) in 2005. 
• Haas is 46-81 against top 10 opponents. His last top 10 win came against world No. 1 Djokovic in Miami last year. 
• Haas is bidding to reach the QF at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since Miami in 2013.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [14] Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 10-4

Nadal opened the defence of his title with a 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon in three hours and 19 minutes – the longest best-of-three-set match this year. 
• Nadal returns to Rome for the 10th time. He has reached the final in eight of his nine outings here, winning the title seven times: 2005 (d. Coria), 2006 (d. Federer), 2007 (d. Gonzalez), 2009 (d. Djokovic), 2010 (d. Ferrer), 2012 (d. Djokovic) and 2013 (d. Federer). 
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February. 
• Nadal arrives in Rome after winning his 27th ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid last week (d. Nishikori in the F). He took sole ownership of seventh place on the Open Era titles leaderboard with the victory, surpassing Guillermo Vilas
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time. 
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77). 
• Nadal is bidding to reach his 64th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and fourth of the season. He is also looking to reach his ninth QF in Rome. 
Youzhny advanced to the 3R when opponent Andrey Golubev withdrew when trailing 7-5, 4-1. He didn’t face a single BP as he brushed past Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 in the 1R.  
• Youzhny is making his 11th visit to Rome. He has never reached the QF here. 
• Youzhny’s best showing of the season came in Dubai where he reached the QF before withdrawing with an illness. A back injury kept him out of action in the period between Dubai and Monte-Carlo, where he fell in the 1R on his return from injury (l. to Seppi). He also lost in his opening match in Bucharest (l. to Haase) and Munich (l. to Klizan) before advancing to the 2R last week in Madrid (l. to F Lopez). 
• The top Russian finished 2013 in the top 20 for the fifth time in his career and the first since 2010. His year was highlighted by two ATP titles in Gstaad (d. Haase) and Valencia (d. No. 3 Ferrer).
• Youzhny is looking for his first top 10 win of the year. His last win over a top 10 player came last October when he defeated No. 3 Ferrer in the Valencia final. 

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Djokovic leads 3-1

Kohlschreiber advanced to the 3R with back-to-back wins over top 25 players Jerzy Janowicz – 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-2 – and No. 16 seed Tommy Robredo – 6-2, 6-4.
• Kohlschreiber is appearing in Rome for the sixth time. The only other time he advanced to the 3R here was last year when he handed David Ferrer a walkover at this stage. 
• Kohlschreiber’s best showing this year came in Dubai where he advanced to the SF (l. to Berdych). He has reached an additional four QFs in 2014: Auckland (l. to Isner), Zagreb (l. to Evans), Rotterdam (l. to Sijsling) and Barcelona (l. to Giraldo). In Auckland, the German’s 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-7(5) defeat to Isner in the QF had no breaks of serve.  
• Kohlschreiber finished 2013 inside the top 30 for the fourth time in six years, reaching three finals in Auckland, Munich and Stuttgart.  
• Kohlschreiber is 21-58 against top 10 opposition and 1-1 this year after defeating No. 9 Richard Gasquet in the 2R in Rotterdam. 
Djokovic returned from injury to post his 20th win of the season, overcoming Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5 in his opening match. The Serb won 73% of points on the Czech’s second serve.  
• Djokovic returns to Rome for the eighth time. He has never fallen before the QF stage here, lifting the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2011 (d. Nadal). He fell to Berdych in the QF last year. 
• Djokovic is making his first tournament outing since falling in the Monte-Carlo SF to Federer. The Serb was looking to become the first player to win five ATP Masters 1000 titles in a row as well as the first three Masters 1000 events of the year before falling in the Principality. 
• A right wrist injury, which afflicted him in Monte-Carlo, forced him out of Madrid last week.  
• Djokovic had a successful March in the U.S. The Serb completed the Indian Wells/Miami sweep for the second time in his career, defeating Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final before seeing off Rafael Nadal in the Sony Open Tennis final. He surpassed Andre Agassi in both Masters 1000 titles (18) and Masters 1000 match wins with his Miami victory.
• Djokovic’s other competitive outings this year came at the Australian Open (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka in QF) and Dubai (l. to eventual champ Federer in SF).
• Djokovic finished 2013 in the top three for the seventh year in a row, winning seven titles in nine finals (2nd-most in career). He ended the year on a 24-match winning streak. 
• Djokovic is bidding to reach his 53rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF. He is also looking to reach his eighth QF in Rome in as many years. 


[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Tsonga leads 2-0

Raonic collected his first ever win in Rome with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over home hope Simone Bolelli. The Canadian saved the three BPs he faced during the one hour and 40-minute match.
• Raonic returns to Rome for the fourth time in as many years. He fell in the 1R on his three previous outings here. 
• Raonic rose to a career high No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching the Monte-Carlo QF last month (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka). The Canadian had climbed back inside the top 10 at the end of March after back-to-back QF appearances in Indian Wells (d. No. 6 Murray, l. to Dolgopolov) and Miami (l. to Nadal). He had previously spent one week at No. 10 in August last year after his run to the final in Montreal. 
• Indian Wells was Raonic’s first outing since suffering a left ankle injury at the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov in 3R). 
• The top Canadian became the first player from his country and the first player born in the 1990s to crack the top 10 when he broke through on August 12 last year. He finished the season at a year-end high No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, highlighted by titles in San Jose, Bangkok and a maiden appearance in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Montreal (l. to Nadal). 
• Raonic is looking to reach his fourth ATP Masters 1000 QF of the season.
Tsonga became the 10th Frenchman to reach 300 career wins in the Open Era when he edged past Kevin Anderson 7-6(14), 7-6(5) in the 2R, saving five of five BPs. The other nine Frenchman to reach the mark were: Yannick Noah (476), Fabrice Santoro (470), Cedric Pioline (389), Guy Forget (378), Henri Leconte (377), Richard Gasquet (361), Sebastien Grosjean (341), Arnaud Clement (316) and Gilles Simon (309). 
• Tsonga opened his Rome campaign with a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov.
• Tsonga is making his seventh appearance in Rome. He has reached the QF here twice, in 2010 (l. to Ferrer) and 2012 (l. to Djokovic). 
• Tsonga reached his lone final this season on home soil in Marseille in February (l. to Gulbis).
• At Indian Wells, Tsonga fell in his opening match to Benneteau, a result which saw him drop down to No. 11 on March 17 – his first week outside the top 10 since August 29, 2011. 
• Tsonga finished 2013 in the top 10 for the third year in a row and for the fifth time in six years, reaching the QF or better 10 times. 
• Tsonga is seeking his first top 10 win since upsetting world No. 3 Roger Federer in the QF at Roland Garros last year. He is 29-57 lifetime against top 10 opponents. 
• Tsonga is bidding to reach his 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and second of the season. He is also looking to reach his third QF in Rome. 

[PR] Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs [7] Andy Murray (GBR)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Murray leads 6-0

Melzer advanced to the 3R in the Italian capital for just the second time in his career, scoring a 7-6(7), 6-3 upset over No. 9 seed John Isner in the 1R before seeing off one of 2014’s standout players Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3.  
• Melzer returns to Rome for the eighth time. Prior to this year, he had fallen in his opening match on six of his seven outings here. 
• Melzer returned to Tour action in Monte-Carlo after a seven-month lay-off with a shoulder injury (l. to Benneteau in 1R). Since then, he has fallen in the 3R in Barcelona (l. to Kohlschreiber), 2R in Munich (l. to Berankis) and 1R in Madrid (l. to Monaco). 
• Melzer finished 2013 in the top 35 for the sixth year in a row and won a fifth career title in Winston-Salem (d. Monfils). He posted just two wins on clay during 2013, compiling a 2-12 record on the surface.
• Melzer is seeking his first top 10 win since beating No. 3 Federer in the QF in Monte-Carlo three years ago. He is 12-55 lifetime against top 10 opponents. 
• Melzer is looking to reach the QF of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since Miami last year (l. to Ferrer). 
Murray clinched his 20th win of the season with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Marcel Granollers in his opening match. He had a first serve percentage of 81% during the 87-minute encounter. 
• It is Murray’s 27th birthday today. 
• Murray is making his ninth appearance in Rome. His best showing here came in 2011 when he reached the SF (l. to Djokovic). 
• Murray advanced to his first SF since undergoing back surgery (in September 2013) in Acapulco in February (l. to Dimitrov 7-6 in 3rd set). He subsequently reached the QF in Miami – his third of the year after the Australian Open (l. to Federer) & Rotterdam (l. to Cilic) – before falling to Djokovic.
• This is Murray’s second ATP World Tour event on clay this year, after Madrid (l. to Giraldo in 3R). He has also appeared on clay in Davis Cup, however, posting a 3-1 mark this year. His lone defeat came against Fognini in a 3-2 loss to Italy. 
• Murray finished 2013 in the top four of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the sixth straight season. His year was highlighted by four titles, including a maiden crown at Wimbledon. 
• Murray is bidding to reach his 36th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and his second of the season, after Miami. He is also looking to reach his second QF in Rome. 

[5] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Ferrer leads 3-0

Ferrer broke serve six times as he eased into the 3R with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.
• Ferrer is making his 11th appearance in Rome. He has reached the QF or better here four times. His best run came in 2010 when he defeated three top 10 players en route to the final (l. to Nadal).  
• Ferrer has reached the SF at both ATP Masters 1000 events to be played on clay this year. In Monte Carlo, he ended a 17-match losing streak against Nadal on clay in the QF before falling to eventual champ Wawrinka in the SF. His win over Nadal was his fifth career victory over the reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay: Djokovic (3), Gaudio (3) and Federer (2). Last week in Madrid, he advanced to the final four before falling to Nishikori in three sets. 
• Ferrer clinched his 21st ATP World Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in ATP finals. 
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the top five and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Ferrer is bidding to reach his 35th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and his third of the season.
Gulbis advanced to the 3R after a 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3 victory over qualifier Stephane Robert. He opened his account against Alejandro Falla, who retired after dropping the first set 6-1. 
• Gulbis is making his fourth appearance in the main draw in Rome. His best showing came in 2010 when he defeated world No. 1 Federer en route to the SF before falling to Nadal in three sets. 
• Gulbis climbed to a career-high No. 17 this week after advancing to his seventh QF of the season in Madrid last week (l. to Ferrer). 
• The Latvian’s best performance this season came in Marseille in February when he clinched his fifth ATP World Tour title, posting back-to-back top 10 wins over No. 9 Richard Gasquet in the SF and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final to improve his record in title games to 5-0.
• Gulbis’ other highlights this season came at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam where he defeated world No. 4 del Potro en route to the SF (l. to Berdych) and last month in Barcelona where he reached the final four (l. to Nishikori). 
• Gulbis finished 2013 in the top 30 for the first time since 2010, jumping 115 spots from the previous year. He equaled his year-end best ranking (No. 24) and won a personal-best 37 matches. 
• Gulbis won two titles in 2013 – Delray Beach and St. Petersburg. His win in Delray Beach marked the first time a qualifier captured an ATP title since Jarkko Nieminen won Sydney in 2012. 
• Gulbis is 14-39 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 3-3 this year, posting wins over Del Potro, Gasquet and Tsonga.
• Gulbis is bidding to reach his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and second in Rome. 


Ivan Dodig (CRO) vs Jeremy Chardy (FRA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Dodig leads 1-0

[12] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Dimitrov leads 2-1

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