Roger Federer plays Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic takes on Juan Martin del Potro as part of a blockbuster quarter-final lineup on Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Rounding out the action is an all-Spanish affair pitting Rafael Nadal against Fernando Verdasco and Kei Nishikori squaring off with Diego Schwartzman.
Third seed Federer and eighth seed Tsitsipas face off for the third time this year. They’re even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 1-1, with Tsitsipas prevailing at the Australian Open and Federer defeating the Greek to win his 100th ATP Tour singles title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Swiss star put in a massive effort to win two matches on Thursday and save two match points to defeat Borna Coric in a third-set tie-break.
Tsitsipas continues to go deep in the world’s biggest events. He has more ATP Tour wins (29) this season than any other player and reached at least the quarter-finals in eight of his 13 events this year. But the Greek knows he’ll need to find an even higher level if he wants to defeat Federer on Friday.
“He’s considered the legend of our sport. He’s very much respected. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be twice more difficult than today,” said Tsitsipas. “I think with my fighting spirit and mentality, if I’m in the zone tomorrow, I think I can do something.”
World No. 1 Djokovic leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Del Potro 15-4. He’s won their past five matches and all three of their previous meetings on clay. The Serbian has been ruthless so far in Rome, dropping just seven games in his first two rounds. He’ll look to continue his pattern of stepping up against the world’s best. Djokovic is 18-1 against Top 10 players since Wimbledon 2018.
Del Potro is up and running again this week, scoring his first two wins since February as he continues his comeback from a fractured right kneecap sustained last October at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The Argentine seeks his 11th win over a World No. 1 and first clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final in seven years.
Rafa Rolling In Rome: Nadal Earns Two Lopsided Wins In One Day
Second seed Nadal leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Verdasco 16-3, but the pair have split their past six matches. The defending champion showed he’s ready for a ninth crown in Rome by dropping just two games in his two victories on Thursday. Nadal spent less than half the time on court that Verdasco did to reach the last eight (2:09 vs. 4:58). But as always, Nadal will approach their latest match with a clean slate and the belief that he’ll need to produce his best tennis.
“He’s always tough. He is a great player,” said Nadal. “He’s a very dangerous player for everybody when he’s playing well and he’s having a great tennis career.”
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) May 17, 2019
Nishikori and Schwartzman will take to the Grandstand for their quarter-final showdown. The Japanese star leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-0, but Schwartzman has taken a set in all of their matches. Nishikori is looking to reach his second semi-final in Rome and Schwartzman seeks his first Masters 1000 singles semi-final.
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY MAY 17, 2019
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs  Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP –  Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs  Roger Federer (SUI)
Not Before 7:30 pm
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs  Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
ATP –  Raven Klaasen (RSA) / Michael Venus (NZL) vs Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) / Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Not Before 1:30 pm
ATP – Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs  Kei Nishikori (JPN)
COURT 1 start Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – Court & Time TBA – Guido Pella (ARG) / Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs  Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS)
ATP – Court & TBA –  Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA) vs Guido Pella (ARG) / Diego Schwartzman (ARG) or  Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS)
COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
Two WTA matches
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – Court & Time TBA –  Oliver Marach (AUT) / Mate Pavic (CRO) vs Denis Shapovalov (CAN) / Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
ATP – Court & TBA –  Oliver Marach (AUT) / Mate Pavic (CRO) or Denis Shapovalov (CAN) / Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Kyle Edmund (GBR) / Neal Skupski (GBR)