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2015 Rome Open: John Isner & Grigor Dimitrov Kick Off Action

2015 Rome Open: John Isner & Grigor Dimitrov Kick Off Action

john isner slamming balls for 2015 rome masters open

The 2015 Madrio Open just ended yesterday with Andy Murray beating Rafael Nadal and knocking him down to number 7 on the tennis rankings chart, but John Isner and Grigor Dimitrov are hungry for action on Monday at the 2015 Rome Masters Open.

First round action continues on Day 2 of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the fifth ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season. Headlining the day’s proceedings are three seeded players:Grigor Dimitrov, Gilles Simon and John Isner. Dimitrov opens against Jerzy Janowicz; Simon takes on Jack Sock; and Isner faces Joao Sousa. Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, the top-ranked Italians in the draw, are also in action on Monday.

grigor dimitrov returns to 2015 rome open masters
DIMITROV LOOKING UP: Dimitrov will be aiming to continue his solid run of form on clay when he opens his Rome campaign today. The Bulgarian opened the season with a 9-6 record on hard courts, but has since compiled an 8-3 mark on clay with a SF appearance in Istanbul (l.to Cuevas) sandwiched in between QF runs in Monte-Carlo (l. to Monfils) and Madrid (l. to Nadal). This will be his third appearance at this event. Last year he reached the SF here – his first time advancing to the final four at an ATP Masters 1000 event (l. to Nadal).

grigor dimitrov working balls for 2015 rome masters open

FLYING THE FLAG: There are four Italian men in singles action on Day 2, with Fognini and Bolelli joined on the order of play by wild card Paolo Lorenziand qualifier Thomas Fabbiano, who is seeking a first match win on the ATP World Tour. All four players will be bidding to join Matteo Donati in the 2R after the World No. 282 contested and won his first tour-level match on Sunday, defeating Santiago Giraldo in three sets. Fognini and Bolelli created history for Italy earlier this year when they captured the doubles title at theAustralian Open (d. Herbert-Mahut). They were the first all-Italian pairing to win a major doubles crown since Pietrangeli and Sirola lifted the 1959 Roland Garros crown.

ISNER MAKING STRIDES: Isner has reversed his fortunes in recent months. The American went 3-5 to start the season, before putting together an 11-5 record with a SF appearance in Miami (d. No. 11 Dimitrov, No. 6 Raonic, No. 5 Nishikori; l. to Djokovic) and a QF visit in Madrid last week (l. to Berdych after holding 1 MP). With his run in the Spanish capital, he became the first American since Andy Roddick in Madrid six years ago to reach an ATP Masters 1000 QF on clay. Isner is one of five Americans in the main draw this week. The last time five Americans featured here was in 2004 with Todd Martin, Vince Spadea, James Blake, Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri.

DAY 2 FEDEX ATP HEAD2HEADS

CENTRALE

Jerzy Janowicz (POL)            vs            [10] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: Janowicz leads 1-0

•    Janowicz will feature in the Italian capital for the third time. His best showing came on his debut in 2013 when he reached the QF with Top 10 wins over Tsonga and Gasquet (l. to Federer).
•    Janowicz comes in on a three-match losing streak having fallen in the 3R in Miami (l. to Goffin) and the 1R in Monte-Carlo (l. to Fognini) and Madrid (l. to Sousa). His last win came over Roberto Bautista Agut in Miami at the end of March.
•    Janowicz’s best showing this season came in Montpellier where he reached a third ATP World Tour final, but was forced to retire three games in to his match vs. Richard Gasquet with an illness.
•    In 2014, Janowicz finished in the Top 50 for the third year in a row, reaching the final in Winston-Salem in August (l. to Rosol after holding 2 MPs).
•    Dimitrov is back in Rome for the third time. He defeated World No. 6Tomas Berdych en route to the SF here last year (l. to Nadal).
•    Dimitrov clinched the 10th Top 10 win of his career (10-36) in Madrid last week, defeating World No. 9 Stan Wawrinka en route to his fifth ATP Masters 1000 QF (l. to Nadal).
•    Dimitrov also reached the QF in Monte-Carlo last month (l. to Monfils) and the SF in Istanbul (l. to Cuevas) in recent weeks.
•    Dimitrov began the year with runs to the Brisbane SF (l. to Federer) and 4R at the Aus Open (l. to Murray) before back-to-back 2R exits in Rotterdam (l. to Muller) and Acapulco (l. to Harrison).
•    Dimitrov’s defeat by then-world No. 169 Harrison in Acapulco was his first loss to a player ranked outside the Top 100 since February 2013 (l. to No. 130 Karlovic in Zagreb).
•    In 2014, Dimitrov finished a year-end high No. 11, winning a personal-best 50 matches and three titles on three surfaces: Acapulco (d. Anderson), Bucharest (d. Rosol) and Queen’s (d. F Lopez).

Simone Bolelli (ITA)            vs            Dominic Thiem (AUT)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

•    Bolelli is set to make his eighth appearance on home soil in Rome. His best showing here was a 3R run in 2008 (l. to Roddick).
•    Bolelli posted the 99th and 100th wins of his career in Madrid last week, upsetting No. 15 seed Kevin Anderson and compatriot Luca Vanni before falling to Rafael Nadal in the 3R.
•    Bolelli’s best showings this year were QF appearances in Sydney (l. to Troicki), Marseille (l. to Monfils) and Bucharest (l. to Monfils).
•    In February, Bolelli posted the first Top 10 win of his career at the 36th attempt, defeating World No. 6 Milos Raonic in Marseille. He is now 1-38 vs. Top 10 foes.
•    In 2014, Bolelli finished a season in the Top 60 for the second time (also 2008), rising 189 places during the year after winning four Challenger titles.
•    Thiem is appearing at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the first time.
•    Thiem’s best showing this season came in Miami where he reached an ATP Masters 1000 QF for the first time (l. to Murray). He also reached the QF in Marseille in February (l. to Bautista Agut) and in Munich two weeks ago (l. to G Melzer).
•    In 2014, Thiem ended a season as the No. 1 Austrian for the first time. He was the youngest player to finish the year in the Top 50 after compiling a breakthrough season, which saw him reach a maiden ATP World Tour final and qualify into a tour-high seven main draws in eight attempts.

Steve Johnson (USA)            vs            Fabio Fognini (ITA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

•    Johnson is set to make his Rome debut.
•    Johnson came into this week off the back of a 1R defeat to John Isner in Monte-Carlo and a 2R loss to Rafael Nadal in Madrid.
•    Johnson reached three QFs in his first five tournaments of the year: Auckland (l. to Anderson), Memphis (l. to Anderson, again) and Delray Beach (l. to Karlovic).
•    In 2014, Johnson was one of the most improved players on tour, jumping 120 ranking spots during the season to finish in the Top 50 at a year-end high No. 37. He also posted four Top 20 wins.
•    Fognini returns to his home event for the eighth time. He has never advanced beyond the 2R here. Last year, the Italian fell to Lukas Rosol in the 1R.
•    Fognini arrives in Italy off the back of a 2R loss to Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid.
•    Fognini’s best performance this season came in February in Rio de Janeiro, where he reached the final (l. to Ferrer). The Italian overcame Jiri Vesely after saving 3 MPs and Federico Delbonis in a third-set TB before upsetting Rafael Nadal in the final four, snapping the Spaniard’s 52-match winning streak in clay-court SFs.
•    Fognini also reached the QF at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona with another victory over Nadal. The Italian is just the third player to beat Nadal at least two times in a row on clay (also Gaudio and Djokovic). He then fell toPablo Andujar 6-1, 6-3 in the next round.
•    In late January, Fognini won his first Grand Slam doubles title (w/Bolelli) at the Australian Open (d. Herbert-Mahut). They were the first all-Italian pairing to win a major doubles title since Pietrangeli and Sirola lifted the 1959Roland Garros crown.
•    In 2014, Fognini finished in the Top 20 for the second year in a row and became the first Italian to accomplish the feat since Corrado Barazzutti in 1977-78. He won a third title in Viña del Mar.

GRANDSTAND

Jack Sock (USA)                vs            [12] Gilles Simon (FRA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

•    Sock is making his main draw debut at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
•    Sock is one of five Americans in the Rome draw. The last time five Americans featured here was in 2004 with Todd Martin, Vince Spadea, James Blake, Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri.
•    Sock rose to a career-high No. 33 in the Emirates ATP Rankings today. He fell in a 3rd set TB to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2R in Madrid last week.
•    Sock became the seventh player born in the 1990s to capture an ATP World Tour title in Houston last month, defeating Top 20 opponents Roberto Bautista Agut and Kevin Anderson before overcoming Sam Querrey in the final. He was the first American to win on clay since Ryan Sweeting won Houston in 2011.
•    Sock’s season began in March as he recovered from pelvis surgery in December. He impressed on his return at Indian Wells, reaching the 4R (l. to Federer), before winning two matches in a 3R run in Miami (l. to Thiem). He won his first ATP Masters 1000 doubles title in Indian Wells and was runner-up in Miami (both w/Pospisil).
•    Sock ended 2014 as the No. 4 American having climbed more than 50 places during the season, ending up at a year-end high No. 42 and winning a personal-best 27 matches. He also finished a career-high No. 15 in doubles & No. 10 in the team rankings (w/Pospisil) after winning Wimbledon.
•    Simon is back in the Rome main draw for the eighth time. He has reached the 3R here four times but has never gone beyond that stage.
•    Simon’s last competitive outing came three weeks ago in Bucharest (l. to Gimeno-Traver in QF).
•    Simon captured a 12th ATP World Tour title in Marseille in February (d. Monfils in a 3rd set TB). The victory put him into second place, behindYannick Noah (23), on the all-time French title leaders list before Gasquet joined him on 12. He also reached the SF in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych), as well as a QF in Montpellier (l. to Janowicz) and Bucharest (l. to Gimeno-Traver).
•    In 2014, Simon finished in the Top 25 for the sixth time in seven years after reaching a second career ATP Masters 1000 final in Shanghai in October. The Frenchman came in ranked No. 29 and defeated No. 4 Wawrinka and No. 7 Berdych en route to the final (l. to Federer in 2 TB sets).

[16] John Isner (USA)            vs            Joao Sousa (POR)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

•    Isner is back in Rome for the sixth time. He has fallen in the 1R here on three of his five appearances and has never advanced beyond the 2R.
•    Last week in Madrid, Isner became the first American to reach the QF of an ATP Masters 1000 event on clay since Andy Roddick in Madrid 2009. He fell to Tomas Berdych after holding 1 MP.
•    Isner hit 29 aces in his loss to Berdych, a record for most aces in a three-set match on clay.
•    Isner’s season to-date has been highlighted by a SF appearance in Miami (d. No. 6 Raonic in 4R, No. 5 Nishikori in QF; l. to Djokovic).
•    Isner ended 2014 as the top-ranked American for the third straight season, finishing in the Top 20 for the fifth year in a row. He won two titles in Auckland (d. Lu) and Atlanta (d. Sela).
•    Sousa is back in Rome for the second time. He fell in three sets to Kukushkin in the 1R last year.
•    Sousa’s best showing this year was a SF run in Montpellier in February (l. to Janowicz in 3 sets).
•    In 2014, Sousa finished the season in the Top 100 for the third year in a row, winning a personal-best 24 matches. He advanced to finals in Båstad (l. to Cuevas) and Metz (l. to Goffin).

Richard Gasquet (FRA)            vs            [Q] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

•    Gasquet returns to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the eighth time. His best showings were a SF run in 2011 (d. No. 3 Federer, No. 7 Ferrer; l. to Nadal) and a QF visit in 2012 (d. No. 4 Murray in 3R; l. to Ferrer).
•    Gasquet captured the 11th and 12th ATP World Tour titles of his career earlier this year in Montpellier (d. Janowicz) and Estoril (d. Kyrgios). The victories put him tied with Simon (12) in second place on the all-time French title leaderboard, behind Yannick Noah (23).
•    In 2014, Gasquet finished inside the Top 30 for the fifth year in a row and ninth time overall with runner-up showings in Montpellier (l. to Monfils) and Eastbourne (l. to F. Lopez).
•    This is Fabbiano’s second main draw appearance in Rome. He also came through qualifying in 2008 before losing in three sets to Nicolas Mahut in the 1R.
•    Fabbiano is seeking a first tour-level match win. His most recent outing at this level came earlier this year in Bucharest where he qualified into the main draw (l. to Janko Tipsarevic).
•    Fabbiano has one Challenger crown to his name and 12 Futures titles.

PIETRANGELI

Juan Monaco (ARG)            vs            [Q] Dusan Lajovic (SRB)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Pablo Cuevas (URU)            vs            [WC] Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

COURT 1

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)        vs            Donald Young (USA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

COURT 2

Adrian Mannarino (FRA)        vs            [Q] Marsel Ilhan (TUR)

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