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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Denis Shapovalov may struggle to adjust to slower court conditions in Rome

Experienced Berdych is a big danger

Denis Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in Madrid
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ATP Rome Masters
Sky Sports Arena, 10am Tuesday

Denis Shapovalov found Alexander Zverev too strong in last week's Madrid Open semi-final but the quick-learning Canadian tyro is back in action and faces Tomas Berdych in the opening round of the Rome Masters.

Shapovalov was yet to win a clay match at ATP World Tour level before his amazing run in Madrid, although faster conditions in the Spanish capital certainly helped the 19-year-old and his game will be hampered by the slower courts of the Foro Italico.

Berdych has seen early support and the Czech still looks a decent bet to take down the Canadian on a court that is likely to blunt the veteran to a lesser degree than his inexperienced young rival.

He has lost his opening two matches of the European season, but defeats against quality opponents Kei Nishikori and Richard Gasquet are far from disastrous so Berdych, who has made at least the last 16 on each of his last seven trips to the Eternal City, looks to have a great chance to pick up that elusive victory.

In the WTA event (live on BT Sport 2, from 10am), Danielle Collins looks to have a great chance of defeating Sorana Cirstea following an eye-catching qualifying win over home hope Camila Giorgi on Sunday.

Collins is yet to win on the clay in a WTA Tour main draw match but that's no great surprise considering she only made her debut at the top level earlier this year before putting together a remarkable run to make the semi-finals of the Miami Open as a qualifier.


Men's tournament preview

Women's tournament preview


The 24-year-old, a two-time NCAA singles champion in her illustrious college career, enjoyed a fruitful clay campaign at ITF level last season, reaching finals in Charleston and Naples before winning in Bethany Beach.

Cirstea is a dangerous opponent at the top of her game but the Romanian looks vulnerable having won just six matches in 2018.

Recommendations
T Berdych
1pt 8-11 Hills
D Collins
2pts 5-6 BoyleSports, Paddy Power


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Berdych has made at least the last 16 in each of his last 7 trips to the Eternal City
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