Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nadal aims to even head-to-head record

Ricky Dimon in ATP 16 May 2018
  • Nadal vs Shapovalov is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00pm BST
  • Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem in Madrid but clobbered Damir Dzumhur on Wednesday
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 16: Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia at the Internazionali BNL dItalia on May 16, 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they meet again in the Rome third round on Thursday.

Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00pm BST 
Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)  

Only three active players have winning records against Rafael Nadal. And "winning records" means winning records of any kind; 1-0, 2-0, anything....

Three may become two on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, because Denis Shapovalov leads Nadal 1-0 in their head-to-head series and the Spaniard will get a shot at revenge when third-round action takes center stage at the Foro Italico. Their only previous encounter came last summer on the hard courts of Montreal, where an inspired Shapovalov treated the home Canadian crowd to a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) upset victory.

The 19-year-old doesn't get home-court advantage this time around; nor does he get to play Nadal on a hard surface. No, the setting advantage swings in Nadal's favor, as the top seed is obviously an overwhelming favorite against any opponent he faces on clay and he is also a seven-time champion of this Rome tournament.

Nadal was going for a sixth Madrid title last week, but those plans were derailed in stunning fashion when he lost 7-5, 6-3 to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. The 16-time major champion had previously been 14-0 on clay this year and had won 50 consecutive clay-court sets dating back to the 2017 French Open.

ATP Rome Live Stream: Live tennis from the Foro Italico

Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Damir Dzumhur. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
But there was no reason for Nadal to panic following that setback against Thiem.

"I don't have to do a lot of things different," he assured. "I won 50 straight sets on this surface. So I can't go back to the hotel and think that I have to do a lot of things different to prepare the next events because will not be something that will be very smart for my part. I just have to analyze what's going on and just going to try to play with more determination--to be more aggressive."

That's exactly what Nadal did on Wednesday, when he kicked off his Rome campaign with a 6-1, 6-0 beatdown of Damir Dzumhur. The 31-year-old made a grand total of nine unforced errors in the entire match while advancing in exactly one hour. He faced no break points and broke Dzumhur five times in six return games.

“It was a positive match, of course,” Nadal assessed. "It was important after a loss in Madrid to come back strong. And that's what I did. I went on court with the right intensity. I don't know how many mistakes I made, but not many. I also had control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. That was the way that I want to play.”

Dictating may not be quite as easy against Shapovalov, a flashy youngster who can play aggressive off both wings and also set up points well with his effect lefty serve. The world No. 29 has built upon a breakout 2017 season by compiling a 17-11 record this year that includes a semifinal showing in Delray Beach, a fourth-round performance in Miami, and a semifinal run last week in Madrid. So far in Rome, Shapovalov has ousted both Tomas Berdych and Robin Haase in three sets.

Coming off two tough matches and now having to go up against the King of Clay, Shapovalov's recent hot streak is--of course--unlikely to continue.



Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00pm BST
Watch and bet on the match live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis  (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Rafael Nadal vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nadal aims to even head-to-head record

Rafael Nadal will try to avenge last year's loss to Denis Shapovalov when they meet again in Rome. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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