Ricky’s picks for the Rome quarterfinals, including Hurkacz vs. Paul

Two semifinal spots remain at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where Hubert Hurkacz and Tommy Paul will take the court on Thursday. The winner of their showdown will go up against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Nicolas Jarry.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(7) Hubert Hurkacz vs. (14) Tommy Paul

Hurkacz and Paul will be squaring off for the third time in their careers. They have split their two previous meetings at one victory apiece; Hurkacz got the job done 7-5, 7-6(4) at the 2021 Paris Indoors before Paul prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the Indian Wells Masters last spring.

A third showdown at the Masters 1000 level has come following an impressive run by each man. Hurkacz ended Rafael Nadal’s Rome career 6-1, 6-3 in the second round and has since defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Sebastian Baez. Paul has advanced by beating Aslan Karatsev, Dominik Koepfer, and Daniil Medvedev all in straight sets. The 16th-ranked American is very comfortable on clay and probably gives him an edge over Hurkacz–even though the Pole began this dirt swing with a title in Estoril. Paul is a slight underdog, but he is in stellar form and has a good chance to win this one.

Pick: Paul in 3

(6) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (21) Nicolas Jarry

Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top two title favorites remaining in Rome. Even prior to this fortnight it was already a great clay-court swing for the eighth-ranked Greek. Tsitsipas won the Monte-Carlo title and was runner-up in Barcelona). Now he is bouncing back from an early Madrid loss with victories over Jan-Lennard Struff, Cameron Norrie, and Alex de Minaur.

Up next for Tsitsipas is a familiar foe in Jarry. They went head-to-head four times in 2023 and split those contests 2-2, giving Jarry a 3-2 lead in the overall H2H. However, Tsitsipas dominated their only previous clay-court encounter 6-3, 6-4 at the 2023 Monte-Carlo Masters. Jarry has advanced in Rome at the expense of Matteo Arnaldi, Stefano Napolitano, and Alexandre Muller, but Tsitsipas is simply on a different level from those players.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.

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