Italian Open 2022 Tournament Preview
The final clay 1000 level event of the year is upon the tour as ATP and WTA players enjoy their last premier level preparation for Roland Garros at the Italian Open 2022.
The Italian Open presents the second combined 1000 level clay tournament of the season after the Madrid Open.
The top men’s and women’s players will grace the clay of Rome, including world number ones Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek, the latter of whom is defending champion in the Italian capital.
Men’s defending champion Rafael Nadal will also be looking to back up his title from last year as he builds to a possible 14th Roland Garros title run.
Here, Tennishead takes a deep dive into everything you ought to know about the prestigious tour event.
When does the competition get going, who is in the draws, how can you stream all the action live and what intriguing match-ups can we predict as the battles progress over the week?
Unlike the staggered schedule for the Madrid Open, the ATP and WTA draws for the Italian Open 2022 kick off closer together.
The event will run from Sunday 8th May for the men and Monday 9th May for the women, with both competitions ending with their respective finals on Sunday 15th May.
Both draws comprise 56 players with 16 seeds.
The top eight seeds in each draw receive a bye to the second round, with the remaining 48 playing in 24 first round ties.
The women’s draw is as stacked as ever, with world number one and defending Italian Open champion Iga Swiatek heading the field after missing Madrid to rest up.
Spain’s Paula Badosa will be hoping to put home disappointment behind her to push on strongly on the clay and is seeded second.
Likewise Aryna Sabalenka will hope she will not suffer the same fate she did with such an early exit in Madrid.
Newly-crowned Madrid Open champion Ons Jabeur is seeded ninth, just outside the byes, but she will surely be confident heading to the Italian capital after her maiden WTA 1000 triumph.
Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit, Karolina Pliskova, Danielle Collins and Garbine Muguruza complete the top eight seeds in the final clay WTA 1000 event of the season.
Unfortunately, 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova is still absent from the WTA tour, having not played since February at the Qatar Open.
The past three US Open champions in Emma Raducanu, Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu all occupy not only the quarter but the same 16th of the draw!
Otherwise, former Slam champions Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko, plus youngsters Coco Gauff, Leylah Fernandez and Camila Osorio are all present in the draw.
For the men, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev occupy the highest seeds in each half as world number two Daniil Medvedev is still out due to injury.
The world number one will be looking to go all the way in Rome this year after falling to Nadal in the final last year.
The defending champion Spaniard is in the same half as the Serb, meaning they could meet for a ATP record-extending 59th time.
Monte Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, Miami Open finalist Casper Ruud, world number eight Andrey Rublev and 10th ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime complete the top eight seeds after Alcaraz withdrew on the eve of the tournament.
Despite his wildcard clay comeback in Madrid, Andy Murray will not take part in Rome as his immediate schedule remains publicly undetermined and he’s suffering from an illness.
Young home talents Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti are present, as is Monte Carlos Masters finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Finally, former Slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem have both used one of their protected ranking entries to play the main draw.
Where is the event held?
The tournament is played at the Foro Italico sports complex in Rome, Italy on outdoor clay courts.
How to watch all the matches live on TV?
The best place to guarantee live coverage of every match is Tennis TV. Tennis TV is the official live and on demand video streaming app of the ATP Tour with features including:
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Grab your Tennis TV subscription right now so you don’t miss any of the action from Monte Carlo
Ranking points breakdown, singles
Prize money breakdown, singles
Can I purchase tickets for the tournament?
You can buy tickets for the Italian Open 2022 via the tournament website.
How can I follow the tournament?
Early Battles & Potential Matchups
The top quarter of the women’s draw is bursting with talent, including five former and current Slam champions.
2021 US Open winner Raducanu faces 2019 US Open champ Bianca Andreescu in the opening round.
Meanwhile, one slot below, four-time Major winner Osaka has a chance to avenge her Madrid loss to Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo as she meets her again in Rome.
So the winner of Raducanu vs Andreescu will face the winner of Sorribes Tormo vs Osaka.
On from there, the winner of that match will likely take on fifth seed Anett Kontaveit for a place in the last 16.
Above that section two-time slam champion Azarenka could face world number one and 2021 Rome champion Swiatek in the third round.
In the next quarter, two-time Slam champion and 2020 Rome winner Halep is an unseeded player no one wants to face early.
Australian Open finalist Collins could do just that in her first match after an opening round bye should Halep defeat France’s Alizé Cornet.
Double Major winner Muguruza would take on Madrid champion Jabeur in just the third round should both women get there.
Then, the winner of that matchup could face any of Sloane Stephens, Maria Sakkari, Coco Gauff or Angelique Kerber.
Gauff and Kerber face off in what should be a cracker of a first round battle.
2019 champion and last year’s runner-up Pliskova could face Madrid semi-finalist Jil Teichmann in her first match before the winner there could take on Elena Rybakina or 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko afterwards, both very dangerous opponents.
Fernandez against 2021 Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is an enticing first round tie, while the winner could take on second seed Badosa should they win again to advance to the third round.
While Madrid was the first opportunity for a Djokovic vs Nadal showdown since Roland Garros last year, Rome presents another chance for that historic 59th meeting.
Both men would need to reach the semi-finals to set that meeting, likely coming through stiff opposition to do so.
Djokovic could face any of Aslan Karatsev, 2021 semi-finalist Reilly Opelka, in-form compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, Monte Carlo conqueror Davidovich Fokina or top 10 talent Auger-Aliassime.
For Nadal, he could face home pro Lorenzo Sonego or Denis Shapovalov in just his second match, both tricky customers and the latter of whom had match points against the Spaniard at last year’s event.
He could also face any of Casper Ruud, Sebastian Korda, Jenson Brooksby, Hubert Hurkacz or David Goffin too, the last of whom had his own match points against the clay great in Madrid.
Back on Sonego and Shapovalov, they meet in the first round in an exciting matchup, especially so early in the draw.
Kecmanovic against 2020 Italian Open finalist Diego Schwartzman could also produce an epic, while Hurkacz vs Goffin could be interesting.
Moving to the bottom half, Fabio Fognini vs Dominic Thiem should be a show even with an underpowered Thiem.
Should Fognini win he might set-up an all-Italian tussle should Jannik Sinner defeat Pedro Martinez in his opener.
Tsitsipas eased past former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 in Madrid, but the Bulgarian will have a shot at revenge if he wins his opener.
Down the line, Tsitsipas could face Rublev in the quarter-finals in what would be a 10th career meeting between the pair and a chance for the Russian to level that head-to-head 5-5.
Projected quarter-finals by seeding
Swiatek (1) vs Kontaveit (5)
Sabalenka (3) vs Collins (7)
Muguruza (8) vs Sakkari (4)
Pliskova (6) vs Badosa (2)
Djokovic (1) vs Auger-Aliassime (8)
Nadal (3) vs Ruud (5)
Rublev (6) vs Tsitsipas (4)
Norrie (9) vs Zverev (2)
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