Three to See, Rome: Almagro looks to stop the speeding Rafa train

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Nadal has won 14 of his 15 career matches against Almagro. (AP)

Each day this week, we'll preview and predict three must-see matches at the Italian Open.

Simona Halep [6] vs. Laura Siegemund

Has The Siege of the WTA come to an end? The way Siegemund went through the draw at Stuttgart last month, it looked like we had a new French Open contender on our hands, but she fell back to earth in Madrid. One of the women she beat in Stuttgart was Halep, in a straight-set semifinal; she did the same thing, to the same player, at the same tournament, the year before. Halep hasn’t lost since, and she should be pleased to get a chance at revenge while her confidence is high.

Winner: Halep

Rafael Nadal [4] vs. Nicolas Almagro [Q]

It would have been understandable, and maybe even prudent, if Rafa had skipped Rome and turned his eyes toward Paris. But this is his time of year to rack up the wins, so why not get a few more, and possibly an eighth title, in Rome? Almagro has been playing some decent tennis lately—that bizarre thumb-sucking celebration aside. But Nadal leads their head to head 14-1.

Winner: Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro vs. Kyle Edmund

Do you like forehands? Do you like to see them hit 100 m.p.h.? This match will feature two of the biggest in the game; Delpo and Edmund never miss a chance to give the ball a rip, and there should be some spectacular results. They’ve never played, but while Edmund is slowly climbing the ladder, Del Potro is still on a higher rung. After his win over Grigor Dimitrov, he looks like he could do some damage this clay season.

Winner: Del Potro

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