Novak Djokovic set for tricky dance card at Rome Masters

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic

World No 1 Novak Djokovic could be set for a tricky string of matches at the Rome Masters.

Djokovic enjoys a bye through to the second round as the first seed and will face the winner of the first round match between South African No 1 Lloyd Harris and Aslan Karatsev.

Potential Round of 16 opponents include Stan Wawrinka, Borna Coric and 14th seed Reilly Opelka who started his clay season with the Houston title.

Djokovic shares a quarter with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, the next highest-ranked player in their shared section.

If the tournament proceeds to seeding Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final at the Foro Italico and German second seed Alexander Zverev in the final.

Zverev has been quietly building form on clay but will need to be on top of his game to reach the championship match.

The German World No 3 will need to guard against complacency in his opening match against one of two qualifiers who will battle for the right to meet Zverev in the Round of 32.

Dangerous Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas lurks as a potential third round foe for Zverev, although if things progress according to seeding it will be his compatriot Roberto Bautista-Agut who has the pleasure.

A first meeting with Carlos Alcaraz on clay awaits as potential banana skin of note in the quarterfinals. Zverev has beaten Alcaraz in their two previous meetings but has not met the Spaniard in over a year.

Alcaraz will need to continue his excellent form with the likes of Marin Cilic, Cristian Garin and ninth seed Cameron Norrie bidding to block his progress.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is the man favoured to reach the last four from his quarter of the draw.

The Monte Carlo Titlist will face either Grigor Dimitrov or a qualifier in his opening match in Rome.

Pablo Carreno Busta is the 16th seed and will be expected to oppose Tsitsipas in the third round.

Tsitsipas beat Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals at Monte Carlo on his way to the title and is drawn to meet the World No 8 at the same stage in Rome.