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Djokovic, Wawrinka, Ferrer In Rome Action Tuesday

Rome, Italy

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic will play Radek Stepanek on Tuesday at the Foro Italico.

• DJOKOVIC, WAWRINKA OPEN ACCOUNTS: Four of the world’s top 10 players headline an action packed Day 3 at the Foro Italico. Leading the way is two-time champion Novak Djokovic who returns from injury to take on Radek Stepanek for the 11th time, with the Serb leading their FedEx H2H series 9-1. World No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, who has won three of the six tournaments he has contested this year, goes up against Spanish qualifier Pere Riba for the first time. Milos Raonic also takes to Centrale for his match-up with Italian wild card Simone Bolelli, while David Ferrer headlines the night session on Grandstand. The Spanish No. 2 faces off with Mikhail Kukushkin for the fourth time having won all three of their previous encounters. 

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• DJOKOVIC RETURNS FROM INJURY: The No. 2 seed, who withdrew from Madrid last week with a right wrist injury, is back in Rome for the eighth straight year. The Serb has a 24-5 career record here, reaching the QF or better every year. He won the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2011 (d. Nadal). Three of his losses have come to Nadal (2007 QF; 2009, 2012 final). He is 13-1 in ATP Masters 1000 events this season, winning titles in Indian Wells (d. Federer) and Miami (d. Nadal).

BOUNCING BACK: Stanislas Wawrinka will be 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 Andy Murray had accounted for 34 titles (28 of the past 29 since 2011). The only exceptions over the last four years had come in Paris-Bercy in 2010 (Soderling) and 2012 (Ferrer). Wawrinka, who reached the final here in 2008, is 6-0 vs. top 10 opponents this season. 

CAREER-HIGH RANKINGS: Three players in action today all rose to a career-high in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday: Ernests Gulbis, Roberto Bautista Agut and Santiago Giraldo. Gulbis, who opens his account against lucky loser Alejandro Falla, rose three places to No. 17 after advancing to his seventh QF of the season in Madrid (l. to Ferrer). He lifted the fifth title of his career in Marseille earlier this year (d. Tsonga in F). Bautista Agut was the biggest mover inside the top 50, climbing from No. 45 to 28 after reaching a maiden ATP Masters 1000 SF in Madrid (l. to Nadal). The Spaniard takes on Dmitry Tursunov today. Giraldo’s fine form was also rewarded in the rankings on Monday, as the Colombian jumped 10 places to No. 36 after a maiden Masters 1000 QF appearance in Madrid. The 26 year old, who clashes with Marin Cilic today, improved to 1-19 vs. top 10 opponents when he defeated No. 8 Murray in the 3R (l. to Bautista Agut in QF).

DAY 3 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

CENTRALE


Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Djokovic leads 9-1
2006 Zagreb (Croatia) Carpet R16 Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2006 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard QF Radek Stepanek 7-5 4-6 7-6(2)
2007 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Novak Djokovic 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 5-7 7-5 7-6(2)
2008 ATP Masters Series Rome (Italy) Clay SF Novak Djokovic 6-0 1-0 ret
2009 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Novak Djokovic 6-1 6-3 6-3
2009 Basel (Switzerland) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2
2011 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R16 Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-3
2012 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R32 Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-2
2013 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 7-5
2013 SRB vs.CZE DC Final (Serbia) Hard RR Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-1 6-4

• Stepanek notched his second clay-court win of the year as he recovered from a set down to see off Pablo Andujar 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the 1R, converting on five of nine BP opportunities. 
• Stepanek is making his 10th appearance in Rome. His best showing here came in 2008 when he defeated world No. 5 Ferrer and No. 1 Federer en route to the SF before falling to No. 3 Djokovic.
• Stepanek opened his season with a QF appearance in Sydney (l. to Del Potro). It remains his only QF showing this year.  
• Despite missing three months of the 2013 season after undergoing neck disc surgery on January 21, Stepanek finished the year inside the top 50 for the 10th time in 11 years. He was the second oldest member of the top 50 (behind No. 12 Tommy Haas). In November, he helped his country to Davis Cup glory when Czech Republic beat Serbia 3-2 with Stepanek winning the decisive fifth rubber over Dusan Lajovic. It was the second year in a row the Czechs emerged victorious.
• Stepanek is 23-70 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-4 this year. His last top 10 victory came in 2012 in Toronto when he defeated No. 8 Del Potro in straight sets in the 2R (l. to Fish in 3R).
• 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 appearance 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. 

[3] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs [Q] Pere Riba (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

• Wawrinka is set to make his 10th appearance in the Italian capital. His best run came in 2008 when her 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 20-4 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. The 29 year old was also one of just three players, including Nadal and Ferrer, to end the year with 20+ wins on both clay and hard courts. 
• Riba clinched his first Tour-level match win of the season with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi. The Spaniard’s last win at this level came more than two years ago at the Australian Open when he saw off compatriot Albert Montanes (l. to Kohlschreiber in 2R).
• Riba, who came through qualifying, is making his second appearance in Rome. His only previous outing came in 2011 when he fell in the 1R (l. to Andreev). 
• Riba’s only other Tour outing this year came in Sao Paulo where he qualified before falling in the 1R to Lorenzi. He has fallen six times this year in qualifying for ATP World Tour events. 
• Riba has never faced a player ranked as high as Wawrinka. His only ever outing against a member of the top 10 was a straight sets defeat to No. 6 Ferrer in Bastad in 2011.  

[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [WC] Simone Bolelli (ITA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

• Raonic returns to Rome for the fourth time in as many years. He is searching for his first win in the Italian capital today having fallen 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). 
• Bolelli notched his first match win of the season, edging past compatriot Stefano Travaglia 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in the 1R. It was his first Tour-level win since Miami last year when he defeated Jesse Levine in the 1R (l. to Dimitrov in 2R).
• Bolelli is contesting the main draw in Rome for the seventh time. His best showing was a 3R appearance in 2008 (l. to Roddick). He has fallen in the 1R here four times. 
• Bolelli’s only previous Tour-level outing this year came in Monte-Carlo where he fell in the 1R to Kohlschreiber. 
• Bolelli won three Challenger Tour titles this year: Bergamo, Italy (February); Vercelli, Italy (April); and Tunis, Tunisia (April).
• Bolelli is 0-29 lifetime against top 10 opposition. 

GRANDSTAND

[Q] Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs Marin Cilic (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Cilic leads 3-0
2010 Chennai (India) Hard QF Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 6-1
2011 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R64 Marin Cilic 6-3 7-6(1) 6-1
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R64 Marin Cilic 6-2 7-6(6)

• Giraldo, who came through qualifying, is making his fifth appearance in Rome. His best showing came on his debut in 2010 when he reached the 3R (l. to Tsonga). 
• Giraldo arrives in Italy after reaching the QF at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time as a qualifier in Madrid last week. He posted wins over Hewitt, Tsonga and Murray – the first top 10 win of his career – before eventually falling to Bautista Agut. 
• Giraldo also impressed last month at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona where he defeated three top 30 players en route to the final (l. to Nishikori). 
• At Vina del Mar, Giraldo collected his 100th Tour-level match-win en route to the SF (l. to L Mayer).
• Giraldo finished 2013 inside the top 75 for the fourth straight year, highlighted by three QF outings. 
• Cilic is set to make his seventh appearance in Rome. He reached the QF here in 2011 (l. to Nadal).
• Cilic’s best run during the European clay-court swing came in Barcelona (l. to Nishikori in QF). 
• Cilic collected his 10th and 11th ATP World Tour titles at home in Zagreb (d. Haas) and in Delray Beach (d. Anderson) in February. He also posted back-to-back top wins over world No. 10 Tsonga and No. 6 Murray en route to the final of the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych in F).  
• Cilic has climbed 11 spots (No. 37 – 26) in the Emirates ATP Rankings since the start of the year. 
• Cilic finished the 2013 season in the top 50 for a sixth consecutive year, winning a ninth career title. 

Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs [15] Tommy Haas (GER)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Haas leads 3-1
2006 Halle (Germany) Grass R16 Tommy Haas 6-1 6-2
2011 Halle (Germany) Grass R32 Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-7(6) 6-3
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R64 Tommy Haas 6-1 6-2
2014 Munich (Germany) Clay QF Tommy Haas 6-3 3-6 6-3

Other Meetings:
2012 Dallas 2 CH (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Tommy Haas 6-3 6-2

• Seppi returns to Rome for the 10th time. His best showing here came in 2012 when he defeated two top 20 players – Isner and Wawrinka – en route to the QF (l. to Federer). 
• Seppi advanced to his first QF of the season in Munich at the beginning of May (l. to Haas). 
• Seppi helped Italy reach the Davis Cup SFs for the first time in 16 years with a 3-2 win over Great Britain at the start of April; beat James Ward in the fifth rubber after losing to Andy Murray
• Seppi finished 2013 inside the top 25 for the second year in a row and reached the SF on five different occasions. He also had the most five-set wins on the ATP World Tour (7-1). 
• Haas is set to make 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. 

[5] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Ferrer leads 3-0
2009 Barcelona (Spain) Clay R32 David Ferrer 6-3 3-6 6-1
2013 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 David Ferrer 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4
2014 Acapulco (Mexico) Hard R32 David Ferrer 6-2 6-3

• 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.
• Kukushkin, who is making his Rome debut, notched his first clay-court win of the season with a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3 victory over Joao Sousa in the 1R. He saved seven of seven BPs against his serve.
• Kukushkin was on a six-match losing streak before this week (including two Davis Cup losses). 
• Kukushkin finished 2013 ranked inside the top 100 for the third time in four years despite ranking as low as No. 324 in June. 
• Kukushkin is 1-12 lifetime against top 10 opposition and 0-3 this year. His lone top 10 win came against No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in the final of St. Petersburg in October 2010. 

PIETRANGELI

[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) vs Igor Sijsling (NED)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

[16] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Robredo leads 4-2
2007 Auckland (New Zealand) Hard QF Tommy Robredo 6-4 5-7 6-2
2008 ATP Masters Series Hamburg (Germany) Clay R64 Tommy Robredo 2-6 7-6(5) 6-3
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay R32 Tommy Robredo 6-2 7-6(5)
2009 Roland Garros (France) Clay R16 Tommy Robredo 6-4 5-7 7-6(4) 6-2
2009 ESP vs. GER WG QF (Spain) Clay RR P Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-4 6-4
2011 Beijing (China) Hard R32 P Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6

COURT 2

[Q] Andrey Golubev (KAZ) vs Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs [LL] Alejandro Falla (COL)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 1-1
2010 Los Angeles (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Alejandro Falla 4-6 6-3 7-6(8)
2012 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-1

Other Meetings:
2007 Mons CH (Belgium) Hard SF Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-2
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada Q Hard — Alejandro Falla 7-6(4) 7-5
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Q Hard — Ernests Gulbis 3-6 6-1 6-2

COURT 3

Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Vasek Pospisil (CAN)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

COURT 4

Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Tursunov leads 1-0
2013 Valencia (Spain) Hard R16 Dmitry Tursunov 6-2 7-6(3)

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