Denis Shapovalov vs Grigor Dimitrov: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction

12th seed Denis Shapovalov sets up a scintillating showdown against 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters tonight. 

The Canadian began his campaign dispatching Guido Pella 6-2 6-3. He etched out a convincing straight-sets win over Pedro Martinez Portero in the round of 32. 

Facing an in-form Ugo Humbert, Shapovalov made a strong comeback after losing the first set to win the match 6-7 6-1 6-4 to book his place in the quarters. 

On the other hand, Dimitrov notched up a gutsy win over Gianluca Mager to begin his run. He whipped Yoshihito Nishikoa 6-1 6-0 in the round of 32. 

He was at his best against giant-killer Jannik Sinner who had taken out Stefanos Tsitsipas in his previous match. Despite losing the first set 6-4, Dimitrov relied on crucial breaks of serve in the second and third sets to pocket the match 4-6 6-4 6-4 after two hours and 25 minutes. 

Head to Head record 

Dimitrov leads the head to head record 2-0 against Shapovalov. This is their first meeting on the clay surface. Though not a clay-court specialist, Dimitrov has found the red dirt to his liking in this tournament. He has hit through his opponents with a mix of power and grace finding his range with his crisp movement in the crucial moments. 

Shapovalov has played the waiting game and shown enormous consistency. He needs to keep a check on his unforced errors if he wants to unsettle Dimitrov. 

Dimitrov is playing his first quarterfinal at Rome after being in the last eight way back in 2014. Both players are blessed with incredible shot-making ability, but discipline and tolerance during the long rallies could prove to be a big difference. 

While Dimitrov has found form in this tournament, Shapovalov is slowly climbing up the charts. With his booming first-serve, he would look to trouble Shapovalov by keeping him passive. Shapovalov needs to play first-strike tennis to get his first win against the Bulgarian. 

Prediction - Grigor Dimitrov to win in three sets

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