For the first time since their infamous meeting in the final of the Australian Open in 2014, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will cross paths on the professional tour to determine who will advance to the semi-final stage of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Prior to their fateful encounter last year in Melbourne, Nadal held a commanding 12-0 head-to-head record against Stan and had never dropped a set to the Swiss No. 2. Check out the Nadal vs Wawrinka Head to Head.
Seeded fourth at this year’s event, Rafael Nadal furthered his campaign for yet another title win in Rome when he defeated American No. 1 John Isner in straight sets to secure his spot in the final eight of the Masters 1000 event. Nadal, who was 8-3 on clay this season before the start of this tournament, moved to 6-0 against Isner and is three wins away from another title in Rome.
“I [defended] well from the baseline,” Nadal said after the match. “I played with not many mistakes and tried to go for points when I had a chance. I recovered tough balls, had good movement and a few very good passing shots. That is very good for my confidence, too. In general, I think I played very well.”
Standing across the net from him on Friday will be Stan Wawrinka, who reached the quarter-final stage in Rome with a straight sets win against Dominic Thiem. He defeated the Austrian 7-6(3), 6-4 in a match where he struck nine aces, won 94% of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced during the entire one hour and 37 minute encounter.
This is set to be the fourteenth time that Nadal and Wawrinka will meet on the professional tour, and the first time since their infamous meeting in Melbourne in the final of the Australian Open last season. Nadal leads the series 12-1 and has only lost to Wawrinka in that Grand Slam final. Apart from that, he has never dropped a set to Wawrinka and should be the favourite on clay, where he is 5-0 against the Swiss No. 2.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Three Sets