Zverev to face off against Fritz, while Tabilo meets Zhang on the tennis court

Zverev vs Fritz, Tabilo vs Zhang
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A spot in the Rome Masters semifinals will be at stake when Alexander Zverev faces Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. A much more surprising quarterfinal contest pits Alejandro Tabilo against unseeded Zhizhen Zhang.

(3) Alexander Zverev vs. (11) Taylor Fritz

Zverev and Fritz will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers and for the first time on clay when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday. The head-to-head series stands at 4-3 in Zverev’s favor, but Fritz won their most recent showdown 6-1, 6-4 at the 2023 United Cup. Their only previous Masters 1000 tilt came three years ago in Indian Wells, where the American prevailed in a third-set tiebreaker.

They have alternated wins dating all the way back to their second meeting in 2018, so if the trend continues it would be Zverev coming out on top in Rome. That would make sense, too, as the fifth-ranked German is in great form and is already a two-time finalist at this tournament (2017 champion, 2018 runner-up). So far this fortnight he has defeated Aleksandar Vukic, Luciano Darderi, and Nuno Borges all in straight sets. Fritz reached the last eight by beating Fabio Fognini, Sebastian Korda, and Grigor Dimitrov–losing just one set to Dimitrov 13-11 in a tiebreaker. The world No. 13 has been very good on dirt so far this spring, but in general Zverev is the better player on this surface and in a depleted draw is arguably the favorite to capture a second Rome title.

Pick: Zverev in 3

(29) Alejandro Tabilo vs. Zhizhen Zhang

Tabilo stunned Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-3 in the Rome third round and is showing no signs of slowing down on the heels of his biggest win. The 32nd-ranked Chilean followed it up two days later by upsetting Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 7-6(10) for a place in the quarterfinals. Tabilo, who opened with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Yannick Hanfmann, is now 18-9 in 2024 with his first ATP title in Auckland and a recent Challenger triumph on the red clay of Aix-en-Provence.

Up next for Tabilo on Wednesday is second meeting with Zhang. Their only previous encounter came in 2021 Wimbledon qualifying, where Zhang got the job done 7-6(5), 7-6(5). Like his opponent, Zhang has climbed up the rankings since then–currently 56th and expected to reach a career high of No. 42 even if he loses on Wednesday. The 27-year-old’s trip to a second Masters 1000 quarterfinal has come at the expense of Daniel Elahi Galan, Adrian Mannarino, Ben Shelton, and Thiago Monteiro. His win over Shelton was a decent one, but for the most part it has been an extremely favorable draw at a clay-court Masters 1000. It is also worth noting that Zhang had been a dreadful 7-12 this season prior to arriving in Rome. Tabilo has been the better player throughout 2024 and at this event, so he should have the advantage.

Pick: Tabilo in 3