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Key Takeaways from the Italian Open 2020

| September 22, 2020 12:44 pm PDT
What the Italian Open Tells Us About the 2020 French Open

The Italian Open is always one of the most important tournaments for the clay-court season. It serves as the perfect rehearsal for the French Open and you can usually learn a lot about the condition of the top players in both men’s and women’s tennis.

Rafa Nadal has nine titles there which are the best example of why the Rome Masters is an excellent indicator of what could happen during the Roland Garros.

When both tournaments were postponed this year, it was unclear if they will return. Fortunately, we got both and they were once again scheduled close to each other. The Rome Masters is already over and I think it’s time to explore the key takeaways.

The goal is to understand what the Italian Open tells us about the 2020 French Open and how to use that information to make the best betting decisions.

Novak Djokovic Is on Fire

I’m sure that Novak Djokovic was frustrated by the way his US Open 2020 journey ended. The Serbian lost his nerve and unintentionally hit one of the referees with a ball that caused his ejection. Nole apologized and vowed to come back stronger after the incident.

The early indications are that the world number one has indeed managed to channel his emotions in a positive direction. Djokovic dominated the Italian Open and looks ready to challenge for the 2020 French Open title.

It’s obvious that the early exit in New York might have worked in Djokovic’s favor when it comes to the Roland Garros. He had the time to rest and start his preparation on time. As a result, the world number one won in Rome, losing only one set on the road to the title.

The Serbian was always going to be a strong contender, but he looked a step behind Nadal and Thiem. That might no longer be the case.

Simona Halep Is the One to Beat in Paris

The other winner in the 2020 Rome Masters was Simona Halep who dominated the women’s singles event. The Romanian decided to miss the 2020 US Open in order to prepare for her preferred clay courts and the results are obvious.

Halep completely dominated the Italian Open and only lost one set in the process. The final was spoiled by Pliskova’s injury, but let’s not take anything away from the champion.

The former Roland Garros winner was in formidable form and she is the main favorite for the title in this year’s French Open. With so many of the top players carrying injuries or missing on the tournament altogether, Halep should be confident in her chances to lift the title in Paris.

Rafa Nadal Hasn’t Peaked YET

All eyes were on Rafa Nadal in Rome for several reasons. First of all, he is the most successful player in the history of the tournament, so you always expect him to win the Italian Open. He also took a break from the US Open to prepare for the Rolan Garros 2020, just like Simona Halep.

Nadal started the competition with two quick victories that suggested he’s close to top form but lost in the third round against Diego Schwartzman. The Argentinian then reached to final, so it’s not like the defending champion was beaten by a random guy.

I don’t there’s too much room for concern on Nadal’s part. His serve was off against Schwartzman and he wasn’t at his best overall, but I would say that’s only natural.

The Spaniard is 34 and has suffered plenty of injuries throughout his career. He needs to be patient and carefully plan his preparations. He simply can’t dominate the clay-court season in the same fashion as in his twenties nowadays.

Nadal had some shaky moments in the early rounds of the French Open in the previous couple of seasons, but he always peaked in the second week for the tournament. I expect something similar this year, so don’t read too much into his average performance in Rome.

US Open Success Might Lead to Failure in the French Open

The tennis season has been weird because of the global pandemic and the order of the 2020 Grand Slam tournaments is a good example of that. The Roland Garros is usually played in May and June, long before the US Open.

There’s more than enough time between the Majors, so the players can rest and prepare. That might not be the case this time around. There were only two weeks before the final of the 2020 US Open and the start of the 2020 French Open.

That puts the top performers in New York at a huge disadvantage. A quick look at the main draw of the men’s and women’s singles in the Italian Open proves that.

Only Pablo Carreno Busta was there from the group that reached the last 4 in the US Open and he was crushed by Nadal in the opener. Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev decided to take a break instead, so their first competitive matches on clay will be in Paris.

The situation was similar in the women’s singles event. Serena Williams, Jennifer Brady, and Naomi Osaka didn’t participate. The Japanese will even miss the French Open 2020 altogether because of an injury that won’t heal until the start of the competition.

The big question is if the success at the US Open won’t come at the cost of underperforming in France. I don’t think that Serena or Brady were among the top contenders either way, so that shouldn’t affect the women’s event too much.

However, Dominic Thiem certainly is expected to challenge for the title. On the bright side, the Austrian is in his prime years, so he should be able to recover. His first matches in the 2020 French Open might be slightly below par, but I expect the best of him in week 2.

Final Words

I honestly can’t wait for the French Open 2020 to start, it should be an exciting event in both the men’s and women’s singles. If you are looking for some tips on the tournament, I recommend you to check out my Roland Garros 2020 betting guide.

I also intend to cover the tournament with daily picks once the main draw starts, so stay tuned for a constant flow of previews with recommended bets.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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