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Nadal, Federer, Murray In Rome Action Wednesday

Rome, Italy

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal opens his title defence against Gilles Simon.

NADAL, FEDERER, MURRAY OPEN ACCOUNTS: Nine of the world’s top 20 players are in action on a busy Day 4 at the Foro Italico. Headlining Wednesday’s play are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray. The world No. 1 kick starts his bid for an eighth Rome crown when he goes up against Gilles Simon for the seventh time, with the world No. 1 leading their FedEx H2H series 5-1. Federer returns from the birth of his twin sons to take on Jeremy Chardy. The pair’s only previous meeting came earlier this year in Brisbane when Federer prevailed in three sets. Centrale also plays host to Murray, who will be looking to bounce back from his early exit in Madrid when he takes on Marcel Granolllers for the second year in succession, while Berdych takes an 8-1 H2H record into his meeting with Dmitry Tursunov on Grandstand. 

DEFENDING CHAMPION: This is Nadal’s 10th straight appearance in Rome. He has reached the final eight times, winning the title a record seven times (2005-07, ‘09-10, ‘12-13). He was runner-up to Djokovic in 2011 and the only time he didn’t reach the final was in 2008 (l. to Ferrero in 2R). Nadal has a 41-2 career record in Rome and this is the third time he arrives here as world No. 1 (‘09, ‘11). The Spaniard has a 14-2 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 ATP World Tour clay court titles coming into Roland Garros.

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FEDERER CHASING ELUSIVE CROWN: Last year’s runner-up Federer returns to action after he and wife Mirka welcomed twin sons (Lenny and Leo) into the family on May 6. Rome is one of three ATP Masters 1000 titles missing from Federer’s collection (along with Monte-Carlo and Shanghai). The Swiss is making his 14th appearance in the Italian capital (27-13). He has reached the final here three times: 2003 (l. to Mantilla), 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2013 (l. to Nadal).

GOING FOR 300: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will bid to join the 300 wins clubs when he takes on Kevin Anderson on Grandstand today. The Frenchman recorded his first Tour-level victory against Carlos Moya in Beijing in 2004. He notched his 100th against Kevin Kim in Lyon in 2009 and his 200th came three years later when he defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Marseille. His career record is currently 299-137. He is looking to become the 148th player to reach the milestone in ATP World Tour history, with Philipp Kohlschreiber the last to achieve the feat in Dubai earlier in the year. He will be the third active Frenchman – after Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon – to hit the landmark. 

DAY 4 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

CENTRALE

Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs [7] Andy Murray (GBR)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Murray leads 3-1

Granollers won 83% of points behind his first serve (26 of 31) as he saw off compatriot Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-1 in the 1R. 
• Granollers is appearing in the main draw in Rome for the fifth time. His best run came last year when he defeated then world No. 2 Andy Murray en route to the QF (l. to Paire). 
• Granollers advanced to his seventh career final in Casablanca last month, falling to Garcia-Lopez in the final. He opened his year in Chennai where he reached the SF (l. to Roger-Vasselin). Prior to this week, he had lost his opening match in nine of his 13 outings this season.
• In 2013, Granollers finished in the top 50 for the fourth year in a row, capturing his fourth career title in Kitzbuhel (d. Monaco). 
• Granollers is 4-23 lifetime against top 10 opposition. His last top 10 win came in the 2R here last year against Murray when the Briton retired at one set all. 
Murray is set to make 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. 

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs [4] Roger Federer (SUI)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Federer leads 1-0

Chardy opened with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Robin Haase, saving the two BPs he faced. 
• Chardy returns to Rome for the fourth time. His best performance here came last year when he advanced to the 3R before falling to Granollers. 
• Chardy’s season to-date has been highlighted by a SF appearance in Brisbane (l. to Federer) and QF runs on clay in both Vina del Mar (l. to Fognini) and Buenos Aires (l. to Almagro).
• Chardy finished 2013 inside the top 50 for the fourth time in five years, reaching a personal-best world No. 25 in January after his first Grand Slam QF in Australia.
• Chardy is 7-28 lifetime against top 10 opposition and 0-6 this year. His last top 10 win came over world No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro in the 3R of last year’s Australian Open
Federer is set to make his 14th appearance in Rome, where he is yet to lift the title. He has reached the final three times:  2003 (l. to Mantilla), 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2013 (l. to Nadal). 
• Federer clinched his first title of the season and 78th overall in Dubai in February (d. world No. 2 Djokovic in SF and No. 6 Berdych in F). The Swiss moved clear of John McEnroe (77 titles) into third place on the all-time title list with the win, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).
• Federer has fallen in three finals in 2014: Brisbane (l. to Hewitt), Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Wawrinka). At the Australian Open, he defeated No. 10 Tsonga and No. 4 Murray en route to the SF (l. to No. 1 Nadal).
• In 2013, Federer became the oldest player to finish a season inside the top 10 since Andre Agassi (35) in 2005. He was also the first player since Pete Sampras (1990-2001) to finish in the top 10 for 12 years in a row. His streak of 11 straight years inside the top five came to an end, however.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Gilles Simon (FRA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 5-1

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). 
Simon opened his account with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Italian wild card Filippo Volandri on Monday. 
• Simon is making his seventh visit to Rome. He has reached the 3R here four times, including last year, but has never done beyond that stage. 
• Simon advanced to his second QF of the season at the end of April in Bucharest (l. to Rosol). His only other QF outing this year came in Acapulco in February (l. to Murray).  
• Simon finished the 2013 season ranked inside the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the third year in a row and fifth time in six years. His year was highlighted by an 11th career title in Metz.
• Simon is 23-52 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-2 this year. His last top 10 win came in September last year when he defeated No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Metz final 

GRANDSTAND

Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs [11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)


FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Anderson didn’t face a single BP as he overcame Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 7-6(4) in the 1R. 
• Anderson is making his fourth appearance in Rome. His best showing came last year when he reached the 3R before falling to Berdych.
• Anderson posted his biggest win of the season in Indian Wells when he ended Wawrinka’s 13-match winning streak in the 4R and registered his 150th win in the process (l. to Federer in QF). 
• Anderson reached the final at two events in February: Delray Beach (l. to Cilic) and Acapulco (l. to Dimitrov). He became the first South African to reach back-to-back ATP World Tour finals since Wayne Ferreira won titles in Ostrava (d. Washington) and Lyon (d. Sampras) in Oct. 1995.
• Anderson posted a career-best year in 2013. Despite missing a month after undergoing surgery on his right elbow in January, the South African became the first player from his country to finish the season inside the top 20 since Ferreira ended 2000 at No. 10. Anderson, who played NCAA tennis for three years at the University of Illinois, clinched 37 match wins during the year.
Tsonga opened his account with a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov in the 1R.
• 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 is bidding for his 300th career win today (299-137).
• 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. 

[12] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Ivo Karlovic (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Karlovic leads 1-0

Dimitrov recovered from a set down before edging Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the 1R. The Bulgarian fired down nine aces during the contest, which lasted two hours and seven minutes.
• Dimitrov is making his second appearance in Rome. He advanced to the 2R on his debut last year (l. to Gasquet). 
• Dimitrov broke the top 20 for the first time in February after a QF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco (d. No. 18 Gulbis, No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson). In April, the Bulgarian improved to a career-high No. 14 and captured his third career title in Bucharest (d. Rosol in F). 
• Dimitrov is just one of two players born in the 1990s to win multiple ATP World Tour titles – after Raonic, who has five titles to his name.
• At 22, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. 
• In 2013, Dimitrov improved his ranking for a sixth year in succession. He became the first Bulgarian to win an ATP World Tour event when he defeated Ferrer in the final of Stockholm.
Karlovic notched his first clay-court win of the season after overcoming Spanish youngster Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) in the 1R. 
• Karlovic is contesting the main draw in Rome for the fifth time. He has reached the 3R here twice, in 2004 (l. to Moya) and 2008 (l. to Federer).
• Karlovic reached his ninth ATP World Tour final in Memphis in February (l. to Nishikori in F) and made a run to the QF at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco (l. to Dolgopolov). He opened his season with an upset win over world No. 7 Tomas Berdych in Doha (l. to Brown in 2R). 
• Karlovic ended the 2013 season ranked No. 77 in the world, marking his 11th straight top 100 finish. His victory in Bogota made him the second oldest winner during the year (behind Tommy Haas, 35) and one of 16 over-30 winners on the ATP World Tour in 2013.

Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Berdych leads 8-1

Tursunov brought a four-match losing streak to an end when he posted a 6-0, 7-6(4) victory over Roberto Bautista Agut in the 1R, converting on four of four BP opportunities. 
• Tursunov is making his fourth appearance in Rome. He has never advanced beyond the 2R here. 
• Tursunov’s best showing of the season came in Sydney where he made the SF (l. to Del Potro).
• In 2013, Tursunov made the third-biggest jump into the top 50 from previous years, climbing from No. 125 to 29. 
• Tursunov is 12-39 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-3 this year. His last top 10 win came against No. 4 Ferrer in Cincinnati last year.
Berdych is making his ninth appearance in Rome. He has never reached the final here but he came close last season, defeating world No. 1 Djokovic en route to the SF before falling to Nadal. 
• After falling in the Australian Open SF (l. to Wawrinka), Berdych compiled an 11-match winning streak – the longest of his career. He kick-started the run in Czech Republic’s Davis Cup victory over the Netherlands before clinching his first title in more than a year in Rotterdam (d. Marin Cilic in F). The Czech then defeated world No. 10 Tsonga en route to the Dubai final where Federer ended his streak. His previous best unbeaten run was nine matches (2005-06).
• Since Dubai, Berdych’s standout performances came in Miami where he reached the SF (withdrew vs. Nadal due to gastroenteritis) and in Oeiras (l. to Berlocq in F after winning the first set 6-0). He also reached the QF in Madrid last week (l. to Nadal). 
• Berdych finished 2013 in the top 10 for the fourth year in a row, reaching a career high of No. 5 in August. Despite reaching the QF or better in 15 of his 23 tournaments, Berdych was the only player in the top 10 not to win a title in 2013. 

PIETRANGELI

Igor Sijsling (NED) vs [15] Tommy Haas (GER)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Haas leads 3-1

[Q] Stephane Robert (FRA) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT)


FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

COURT 2

[PR] Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs Marin Cilic (CRO)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Cilic leads 7-2

Lukas Rosol (CZE) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Rosol leads 1-0

COURT 3

[Q] Andrey Golubev (KAZ) vs [14] Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Youzhny leads 4-1

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