Originally Posted by uglyamerican
I'm bored, so here's my take on Rome's main draw slots for qualifiers:
I'll put them in order of what I'd most like for Novak.
2. Q. v Thomas Johansson, then Henman/Di Mauro, then Nadal
For a chance to simply gain points (Novak needs two wins for a net gain) this slot is best. Johansson hasn't played since Rotterdam and hasn't won a match since the Australian. Di Mauro has had some good results lately and has a career high ranking at the age of 28. And he's from Syracuse. Italy.
I did a report on Syracusa! I never knew Di Mauro was Sicilian! Anyway..... I like this spot even though it ends at Nadal.
4. Q. v Safin, then Coria, then Blake/Serra/Horna/Ancic
Call this one the Grand Slam revenge draw. Niether Coria or Safin seem to have found thier best form this year. This slot has the greatest chance for a deep run if Novak could beat Coria.
Easiest draw for an early exit
5. Q. v Coria, then Safin/Q, then Blake/Serra/Horna/Ancic
Would it be better to face Coria in the first round than in the second?
I am inclined to say it might be better... though I'm not sure why.
6. Q. v Jiri Novak, then Robredo/Rusedski, then Roddick/Rochus/Baghdatis/Hanescu
This might not be so bad. Our Novak should beat the other Novak. J. Novak hasn't played on the main tour since October, and I'm not convinced he will actually play here. Robredo has had a fine clay season, losing only to Gaudio and Nadal so far.
Meh.... I don't like it. It's good if we are happy with only winning one round.... he lost late last year to Robredo in a close match, so maybe he could do it... but I'm not sold on his chances.
7. Q. v Nalbandian, then Ferrero/Mathieu, then Kiefer/Bracciali/Sanguinetti
Nalbandian gave Robredo a 3 set test in Monte Carlo and seems clay-court-ready. Ferrero seems like a terrible tactical matchup for Mr. Djokovic. He's beaten Novak on clay once already in straight sets.
Yeahhh this draw is not pretty. So you know this is the one he'll get right? *knocks on wood*
8. Q. v Massu, then Ferrer/Acasuso, then Daydenko/Verdasco/Pashanski
A rough draw and I don't forsee much potential for hype in the event Nole beats any of these.
Yeah, that's pretty much awful.
Jess will say that all of these spots are horrible draws.
I don't so much mind #2. No shame in losing in the 3rd round to Nadal.
I should add #1 is not incredibly awful either... but I'd rather him lose in the 3rd round to Nadal than anyone else.
Or even better... I'd love to see him break the streak
It'd be like playing Federer with absolutely nothing to lose