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Simona Halep, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be joined by four Italians when they take to the courts at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Friday to battle it out for a quarterfinal spot.
The Italians are guaranteed at least one quarterfinalist this year as compatriots Matteo Berrettini and Stefano Travaglia are due to face each other in the first match on Court Centrale. Stefanos Tsitsipas’ conqueror Jannik Sinner, the 19-year-old Italian wildcard, is also in action early on day five, opening the schedule on Grandstand Arena against No.15 seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Top seed Halep plays Dayana Yastremska for the first time in the second match on Court Centrale as she continues her quest for a maiden Rome title. The winner of that match will take on either No.10 seed Elena Rybakina or Yulia Putintseva, who will meet in the second match on Court 1, in Saturday’s quarter-final.
There will be an all-Serbian clash in the third match on Court Centrale as world No.1 and four-time Italian Open champion Novak Djokovic takes on countryman Filip Krajinovic.
Rafael Nadal will be hoping he can recreate the same form that saw him defeat compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta for the loss of just two games in the second round when he faces another Serb, Dusan Lajovic, who reached the final at 2019 Monte Carlo, in the first night session match.
The final match of the day on Court Centrale will pit 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova against Polona Hercog, who knocked No.5 seed Kiki Bertens out of the tournament on Thursday.
Defending champion Karolina Pliskova will look to extend her six-match winning streak at the Foro Italico when she takes on qualifier Anna Blinkova in the opening match on Court Pietrangeli. The famous sunken court will also host the enticing match-up between No.9 seed Garbine Muguruza and last year’s runner-up Johanna Konta as well as the clash between two-time Rome champion Elina Svitolina and former Roland Garros winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Giant killer Lorenzo Musetti, the 18-year-old Italian qualifier, is also due on Court Pietrangeli when he takes on fellow qualifier Dominik Koepfer. Both players are looking to advance to the quarterfinals at a Masters-1000 event for the first time.
Other notable clashes include the indefatigable Victoria Azarenka, who recorded a 6-0 6-0 victory over Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Thursday evening, versus Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina on Grandstand Arena and former US Open champion Marin Cilic against Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Play on all courts starts at 11am.