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Alexander Zverev vs Matteo Berrettini ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Defending champ Zverev looks to keep streak going against Berrettini

Ricky Dimon in ATP Tour 15 May 2018
  • Alexander Zverev is coming off his third career Masters 1000 title in Madrid
  • This is the first-ever head-to-head meeting between Zverev and Matteo Berrettini
  • Berrettini got a wild card into the main draw and then beat Frances Tiafoe
Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Austria's Dominic Thiem during their ATP Madrid Open final on May 13, 2018. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images).

With two days off following a title at the Madrid Masters, Alexander Zverev will kick off his Rome campaign against Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday.

Alexander Zverev has emerged as a borderline Masters 1000 specialist. The German's main goal throughout the remainder of 2018 has to be faring better at the Grand Slams, but for now he hopes his Masters prowess continues at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The defending champion in Rome, Zverev is coming off a title at the Mutua Madrid Open and he also finished runner-up in Miami a little more than a month ago. Having also triumphed at the 2017 Rogers Cup, the 21-year-old is now bidding for his fourth career Masters title.

Rafael Nadal may have something to say about that, but for it is little-know Matteo Berrettini who is standing in Zverev's way of the third round. At No. 103 in the world, Berrettini obviously needed a wild card in order to get into the main draw. But the 22-year-old Italian certainly earned his spot in the last 32, as he upset an in-form Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(1) on Monday. It was Berrettini's third ATP-level match victory of the season and the third of his entire career. The Rome native and hometown hopeful this week qualified in Doha and advanced round one before during the same earlier this spring on the red clay of Budapest.

ATP Rome Live Stream: Live tennis from the Foro Italico

Having not yet established himself on the main tour, Berrettini has never faced anyone in the top 25 of the rankings. So this will be a massive step up in competition level when he meets Zverev on Wednesday evening. Zverev registers at No. 3 in the world and with Roger Federer out he is arguably the second-best clay-courter around right now. In a virtual battle for that distinction in this past Sunday's Madrid final, Zverev got the best of Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4. The Monte-Carlo resident did not lose a single set the entire way in Madrid, never dropped serve, and faced only one break point in five matches. Dating back to the start of his run to the Munich title, Zverev has won nine matches in a row--not to mention 12 of his last 13 and 18 of his last 21.

“All in all, I’m just really happy with how I played, that I could win my third Masters,” Zverev said following his Rome triumph. “So far it’s been pretty good for me on clay this year. Hopefully I can continue this kind of streak in Rome. Obviously the altitude fits me a little bit with my serve, with how I play, with me playing a little bit more aggressive than others. That definitely fits me.

“In general, the last 10 days have been pretty good–winning two titles in this time; one in Germany and this one here is massive. It’s been unbelievable. I’m not going to lie. I’m just going to do everything I can to continue this kind of streak.”

It's the kind of streak that is going to be hard for someone to stop. Nadal? Maybe. Matteo Berrettini? Absolutely not.

Alexander Zverev vs Matteo Berrettini is live from Rome on Wednesday, 16 May from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm BST

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Alexander Zverev vs Matteo Berrettini ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Defending champ Zverev looks to keep streak going against Berrettini

Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini meet in the second round in Rome on Wednesday. Will Zverev, the Madrid champion, maintain his fine form? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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