Rome Masters Open quarters: All-star line-up left in both draws
The Rome Open has reached the quarter-finals stage of both the Men and Women’s sections, and there are some mouth-watering fixtures on Friday in both draws.
World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic is up against Japanese rising star Kei Nishikori, who is hoping for his second successive semi-final, after being knocked out at that stage last time out at the Madrid Masters against Andy Murray.
The Serb (2/9 odds-on favourite with Coral for victory), who missed that event in Spain to focus on this current clay competition, has struggled this Rome Open so far, having dropped a set in both of the fixtures he has played. He has a close record (3-2) against Nishikori (3/1) too, so is 11/4 to beat him 2-1.
Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal (11/4 tournament chance), meanwhile, will be looking to reclaim this title, having just lost another last week in his home country. The Spaniard (1/5 to win) faces Stan Wawrinka (10/3) next, and has a great record against him.
Nadal has 12 victories from their 13 head-to-heads, including five from five on clay without dropping a set. You can back him at a more enticing 8/13 to beat the Swiss 2-0.
Elsewhere in the Men’s draw, Roger Federer (4/9 to win), who is a three-time runner-up at this tournament, is up against Czech Tomas Berdych (13/8). While David Goffin (10/3) will be hoping to take advantage of his walkover, after Murray pulled out, as he faces David Ferrer (1/5).
In the Women’s section, meanwhile, double champion Maria Sharapova (8/15 odds-on favourite) is in the tie of the round against Victoria Azarenka (11/8), who continues her fine comeback from injury.
This duo are neck-and-neck in their overall head-to-heads, with seven victories apiece, but Russian Sharapova has won all three meetings on clay. Back her to beat the Belarusian, who was runner-up here in 2013, 2-1 at 11/4.
World number four Petra Kvitova (8/15) duels with Carla Suarez Navarro (11/8) in another tasty tie, while two qualifiers in Christina McHale, who reached the quarters due to compatriot Serena Williams pulling out injured, and Daria Gavrilova face off too. They are both 5/6 for victory.
Up first, though, is an all-Romanian clash between world number two Simona Halep (heavy 1/9 odds-on favourite) and Alexandra Dulgheru (5/1).