Novak Djokovic took three weeks off to power down, rest up and prepare himself mentally for the 2015 French Open, a title he hasn’t won yet. He even pulled out of the 2015 Madrid Open, seeming to open the path for Rafael Nadal to get to the finals, even though he still lost to Andy Murray.
Now the powerhouse number 1 ranked tennis star in the world, is rested, hungry and ready to chow down on his first opponent, Nicolas Almagro. Djokovic is looking to get his fourth crown here at the 2015 Rome Masters, and as smart as he’s been playing, it won’t be a surprise to anyone. At this point, it’s like sending a lamb out for the Serbians appetizer course.
Five of the world’s Top 10 players feature on Day 3 at the Foro Italico, with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 5 Tomas Berdych leading the way. Djokovic, who has never lost before the QF stage in Rome, opens his bid for a fourth crown against Nicolas Almagro, while Tomas Berdych takes on Italian wild card Matteo Donati in the night session on Centrale. David Ferrer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic also feature today.
• DJOKOVIC’S DOMINANCE: Djokovic is set to return to competitive action for the first time since lifting the Monte-Carlo title on April 19, a victory which saw him become the first player to win the opening three ATP Masters 1000 events of the season. The Serb, who is currently on a 17-match winning streak, has been dominant at this tournament level in recent years, winning 18 of the last 40 (45%) Masters 1000 events. He has a 29-5 career record here, winning the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka), 2011 (d. Nadal) and 2014 (d. Nadal).
• BIG SIX TITLE FEAT: Djokovic is on a 32-match winning streak at the highest-level tournaments: Grand Slams, ATP Masters 1000s and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The run dates back to his title in Paris-Bercy last November:
2015 ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo d. Berdych 32-0
2015 ATP Masters 1000 Miami d. Murray 27-0
2015 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells d. Federer 21-0
2015 Australian Open d. Murray 16-0
2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals d. Federer 9-0
2014 ATP Masters 1000 Paris d. Raonic 5-0
• ON THE RISE: Nick Kyrgios will be seeking another big-name scalp when he goes up against No. 11 seed Feliciano Lopez today. Last week in Madrid the young Aussie posted the second Top 5 win of his career, defeating Roger Federer in the 2R (l. to Isner in 3R). He became the sixth player to beat both Nadal and Federer in their first meetings after Alex Corretja, Lleyton Hewitt,Dominik Hrbaty, David Nalbandian and Vincent Spadea – Kyrgios is the first, however, to do it while Nadal and Federer are both ranked inside the Top 10. The 20-year-old climbed five places to a career-high No. 30 this week and is the youngest player ranked inside the Top 50.
DAY 3 FEDEX ATP HEAD2HEADS
 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Juan Monaco (ARG)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Wawrinka leads 3-0
• Wawrinka returns to Rome for the 11th time. He finished runner-up here in 2008, posting Top 10 wins over No. 8 James Blake and No. 6 Andy Roddick (l. to Djokovic in 3 sets).
• Wawrinka captured the eighth and ninth titles of his career in Chennai (d.Aljaz Bedene) and Rotterdam (d. Berdych) either side of a SF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic).
• Wawrinka suffered early exits in both Indian Wells (l. to Haase in 2R) and Miami (l. to Mannarino in 3R) in March. He also fell to Dimitrov in both the 3R in Monte-Carlo and last week in Madrid.
• Wawrinka hasn’t won back-to-back matches since Rotterdam in February.
• In 2014, Wawrinka finished in the Top 10 for the second year in a row at a year-end high No. 4. He captured his first Grand Slam crown at Australian Open (d. Nadal), first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo (d. Federer) and won the Davis Cup with Switzerland for the first time.
• Monaco opened his account with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over Dusan Lajovic in 2h20m.
• Monaco is making his 10th appearance at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. His best run here was a QF showing in 2009 (l. to Gonzalez).
• Monaco advanced to his 20th ATP World Tour final in Buenos Aires in February (l. to Nadal). He also made the QF in Rio de Janeiro (l. to Ferrer) and Miami (l. to Berdych) – his first ATP Masters 1000 QF in three years.
• Monaco opened 2015 with an 0-4 record.
• Monaco has a 19-52 career record against Top 10 opponents. He is 1-5 against the Top 10 this year, with his lone victory coming over world No. 10Marin Cilic at Indian Wells in March.
• In 2014, Monaco finished a season outside the Top 50 for the first time since 2006.
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [PR] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Djokovic leads 3-0
• Djokovic returns to Rome for the ninth time. He has reached at least the QF here on all eight of his previous visits, winning the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka), 2011 (d. Nadal) and 2014 (d. Nadal).
• Djokovic is bidding for his 150th clay-court win today.
• Djokovic’s lone clay-court outing this year came in Monte-Carlo where he became the first player to capture the opening three ATP Masters 1000 events of the season. In the Principality, the Serb closed with three consecutive Top 10 wins over Marin Cilic, Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych.
• Djokovic is in on a 17-match winning streak, which also includes his title runs in Indian Wells (d. Federer) and Miami (d. Murray). His victory at Indian Wells saw him become the 11th player in the Open Era to win 50 titles, surpassing Rod Laver and coach Boris Becker, who both finished their careers on 49. He now has 52 titles to his name.
• Djokovic has won 23 ATP Masters 1000 titles during his career, putting him level with Federer (23) and four short of Nadal (27). The trio rank in the Top 3 for titles won at this tournament level.
• In January, Djokovic became the first man in the Open Era to win fiveAustralian Open titles, defeating Murray in the final. It was his eighth Grand Slam crown, putting him level with Agassi, Connors, Lendl, Perry and Rosewall in eighth place on the all-time list for most major titles.
• Djokovic’s last defeat came against Federer in the Dubai final in early March. His only other loss this year came in the opening week of the season, falling to Ivo Karlovic in the Doha QF.
• Since falling to Nadal in last year’s Roland Garros final, Djokovic has posted a 23-2 record against fellow Top 10 players. He has captured victories over eight different Top 10 players this season – has not faced Nishikori – and he leads the tour with an 11-1 record vs. Top 10 foes in 2015.
• Djokovic has won a 6-0 set on 10 separate occasions this season. This is the third time he has won 10-more 6-0 sets in a season, after posting 13 in 2011 and 14 in 2013.
• In 2014, Djokovic finished the season at No. 1 for the third time in four years, winning an ATP World Tour-high seven titles in eight finals. His season was highlighted by capturing a second Wimbledon crown, four ATP Masters 1000 titles and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
• Almagro kicked off his Rome campaign with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Luca Vanni.
• Almagro is making his 10th appearance in the Italian capital and his first since 2013. He is a two-time quarter-finalist here, reaching the last eight in 2006 (l. to Federer) and 2008 (l. to Djokovic).
• Almagro arrived in Rome after a 1R loss to Juan Monaco in Madrid. His standout performance this season was a SF appearance in Buenos Aires in late February (l. to Monaco).
• Almagro has a 17-62 career record vs. Top 10 opponents.
• In 2014, Almagro finished outside the Top 50 for the first time since 2005 after an injury-plagued season. He underwent left foot surgery on June 30 and missed the rest of the year.
 Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] Matteo Donati (ITA)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting
• Berdych is back at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the 10th time. He has reached three QFs here and one SF, with his final four run coming in 2013 (d. No. 1 Djokovic in QF; l. to Nadal).
• Berdych has reached at least the SF at seven of his eight tournaments this season. The only exception was a QF appearance at Indian Wells (l. to Federer).
• All eight of Berdych’s losses this season have come against Top 10 opposition.
• Berdych arrives in Rome fresh from a SF run in Madrid last week (d. Isner in QF – saved 1 MP; l. to Nadal). This week he returned to the Top 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
• Berdych also impressed at the opening three ATP Masters 1000 events of the season, advancing to a fourth career ATP Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic), the SF in Miami (l. to Murray) and the QF at Indian Wells (l. to Federer).
• In February, Berdych advanced to the final in Rotterdam (l. to Wawrinka in 3 sets) and the SF in Dubai (l. to Djokovic in 3 sets).
• In the opening week of the season Berdych finished runner-up in Doha (l. to Ferrer) before putting together a SF run at the Australian Open, where he defeated world No. 3 Nadal in the QF, ending a 17-match losing streak against the Spaniard (l. to Murray).
• In 2014, Berdych finished in the Top 10 for the fifth year in a row, winning two titles – Rotterdam and Stockholm – in a career-best five finals.
• Donati clinched his first ever tour-level win in the 1R, defeating Santiago Giraldo 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
• Donati had never contested an ATP World Tour match before this week.
• Donati, who has five career Futures titles to his name, reached his first Challenger final in Napoli last month (l. to Munoz-De La Nava).
• Donati’s idols growing up were Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
 Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Series tied 1-1
• Cilic has made seven previous visits to Rome with his best showing a QF run in 2011 (l. to Nadal).
• Cilic missed the first two months of the season with a right shoulder injury. He returned at Indian Wells, where he fell in his first match to Juan Monaco.
• Since Indian Wells, Cilic has made three other appearances, falling in the QF in Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic), the opening round in Barcelona (l. to Estrella Burgos) and the 2R in Madrid last week (l. to Verdasco).
• In 2014, Cilic finished a year-end best No. 9 and won more than 50 matches for the first time (54), capturing a personal-high four titles, including a first Grand Slam crown at the US Open (d. Nishikori). He was the first Croat in the year-end Top 10 since Ljubicic in 2006.
• Garcia-Lopez is back in the Rome main draw for the fourth time. He reached the 3R here once, in 2010 (l. to Verdasco).
• Garcia-Lopez comes in off the back of a 1R loss to Fernando Verdasco in Madrid last week.
• Garcia-Lopez clinched his fourth career title in Zagreb in February (d. Seppi) and his fifth in Bucharest last month (d. No. 15 Monfils in SF, Vesely in F). It’s the first time he has won multiple titles in a single season.
• Garcia-Lopez also reached the SF in Estoril (l. to Gasquet in 3rd set TB) earlier this month.
• In 2014, Garcia-Lopez posted his second Top 40 season (also 2010), ending a four-year trophy drought by capturing the title in Casablanca (d. Granollers).
 Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting
• Lopez is making his 12th appearance in Rome. He reached the QF here once, in 2010 (l. to Gulbis). He has fallen in his opening match here eight times, including the last three years in a row.
• Lopez is bidding for his 100th win on clay today.
• In February, Lopez advanced to a 12th career final in Quito (l. to Estrella Burgos in 3rd set TB).
• Lopez’s other stand out result came at Indian Wells, where he reached the QF at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the 12th time in his career (d. No. 5 Nishikori in 4R; l. to Murray).
• On March 2, the 33-year-old Spaniard rose to a career-high No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
• Lopez has failed to record back-to-back wins at his last five events.
• In 2014, Lopez finished in the Top 15 for the first time at a year-end high No. 14, winning a personal-best 39 matches and a fourth career ATP World Tour title.
• Kyrgios is making his debut at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
• Kyrgios arrives in Rome off the back of a 3R appearance in Madrid, where he saved two MPs in a 2R victory over Roger Federer before falling to John Isner. It marked the first time Federer had lost to a player aged 20-under since he fell to Juan Martin del Potro in the 2009 US Open final.
• Kyrgios’ win over Federer was the second Top 5 win of his career, having also seen off Nadal at Wimbledon last year. Kyrgios became the fifth player aged 20-under to beat both Nadal and Federer, joining Mario Ancic, Tomas Berdych, Novak Djokovic and Del Potro. In addition, the Aussie was the sixth player to beat both Nadal and Federer in their first meetings after Alex Corretja, Lleyton Hewitt, Dominik Hrbaty, David Nalbandian and Vincent Spadea – Kyrgios is the first, however, to do it while Nadal and Federer are both ranked inside the Top 10.
• Kyrgios reached a maiden ATP World Tour final in Estoril at the beginning of the month (d. Ramos-Viñolas, Krajinovic, Haase, Carreno Busta; l. to Gasquet). He’d been looking to become the first Australian to win on European clay since Richard Fromberg in Bucharest in 1997.
• Prior to his run in Estoril, Kyrgios had never won a match at an ATP 250 event. His 17 match wins before Portugal had come in Grand Slams (12), Davis Cup (3) and Masters 1000 events (2).
• At the Australian Open, Kyrgios became the first teenager to reach the QF since Andrei Cherkasov in 1990 (d. Delbonis, Karlovic, Jaziri, Seppi; l. to Murray). The last Aussie teen to reach the final eight in Melbourne was Pat Cash in 1984.
• Kyrgios was also the first teenager to reach multiple Grand Slam QFs since Federer in 2001.
• After his run in Melbourne, Kyrgios missed the next six weeks of competitive action due to a persistent back injury. He returned at Indian Wells where he lost to Dimitrov in a 3rd set TB.
• Kyrgios climbed to a career-high No. 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday.
• In 2014, Kyrgios ended his breakthrough season as one of two teenagers (also Coric) in the Top 100, rising 134 places during the year.
Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs  David Ferrer (ESP)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Ferrer leads 8-3
• Gasquet opened his account on Monday, defeating Italian qualifierThomas Fabbiano 6-1, 7-6(0).
• Gasquet returns to Rome 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).
• Ferrer is set to make his 12th appearance in Rome. He has reached at least the QF here five times, including the last four years in a row, with his best result a runner-up showing in 2010 (d. No. 5 Murray, No. 10 Tsonga, No. 9 Verdasco; l. to Nadal).
• Ferrer has reached the QF-or-better at 11 of his last 13 ATP Masters 1000 events, including three this year in Miami (l. to Djokovic), Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal) and Madrid (l. to Nishikori).
• Ferrer has won three titles this year, bringing his career haul to 24. He captured the Doha title in the opening week of the season (d. Berdych), before posting back-to-back tournament wins at the ATP 500 events in Rio de Janeiro (d. Fognini) and Acapulco (d. Nishikori). He became the first player since Ivan Lendl in 1985 to win back-to-back tournaments on two different surfaces.
• In 2014, Ferrer finished in the Top 10 for the fifth year in a row and sixth overall, reaching the QF or better 17 times, while clinching a lone title in Buenos Aires (d. Fognini).
[Q] Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) vs David Goffin (BEL)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: First ATP World Tour meeting
Sam Querrey (USA) vs  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Tsonga leads 2-1
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs Viktor Troicki (SRB)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Tomic leads 2-1
[Q] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) vs [Q] Diego Schwartzman(ARG)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Schwartzman leads 1-0
 Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Anderson leads 1-0
Martin Klizan (SVK) vs [Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
FedEx ATP Head2Head: Klizan leads 2-0
Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs  Roberto Bautista Agut(ESP)