The rain was a huge problem to the Rome Masters organizers this year as all yesterday’s matches had to be postponed for earlier today and now Rafael Nadal is facing Nikoloz Basilashvili in the round of 16 just five hours after winning his second round match against Jeremy Chardy. Rafa and Basilashvili will get out on the Central Court on Thursday, May 15, not before 7:30 pm. Get Rafael Nadal v Nikoloz Basilashvili live streaming options here.
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Rafael Nadal v Nikoloz Basilashvili Head to Head
Nadal has won both of their previous head to head matches without major problems. Their first match was played in the third round of the 2017 Roland-Garros and Basilashvili won a single game in three sets as Rafa won 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0.
The Spaniard was absolutely brilliant in that one, having won more return points (41) than Basilashvili won in total (36).
Their second match came in the round of 16 of last year’s US Open and Rafa again cruised to victory, this time losing a set – 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 and 6-4. Nadal had a 3-1 and 5-4 advantage in the third set tiebreaker but lost it in the end, something that didn’t influence the final score too much.
Nadal Didn’t Dominate in Previous Clay Tournaments
Although his year to date 9-3 record on clay is something most other players dream about, this is a major setback for Nadal in comparison to the previous two seasons.
Rafa had 24-1 win-loss on this surface in 2017 and 2018 so already having three losses in 2019 certainly isn’t something he can’t be happy about. Nadal did manage to get into the semifinals of all three clay tournaments he played in but was stopped there all three times, managing to win a set only in Madrid last Saturday.
His 6-0 6-1 demolition of Chardy earlier today will certainly give him a confidence boost after these average clay results heading into this tournament.
Basilashvili is Having Another Good Season
After having a 38-31 record in 2018 and winning ATP 500 tournaments in Hamburg and Beijing, Basilashvili continued playing good tennis in 2018 as well. He has 12/10 so far, failing to win more than two consecutive matches but managing to get into the 17th place of the ATP rankings after ending the last year in 21st place.
The Georgian player should play even better in the coming months and one can see him winning at least one ATP tournament by the end of the year.
Rafael Nadal v Nikoloz Basilashvili Predictions & Tips
After watching Nadal dismantle Chardy earlier today and allow the French player to win only one game in that match I have to back the Spaniard to beat Basilashvili easily as well and show everyone that he is still the undisputed king of clay.
Tip: Rafael Nadal -5.5 games Asian handicap: 5/6 (888Sport)