Rome Masters 2013: Highlighting Biggest Disappointments at Italian Open

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Rome Masters 2013: Highlighting Biggest Disappointments at Italian Open
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Rome Masters is the last stop for a majority of tennis' top stars before they gear up for the season's second Grand Slam: the French Open at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been strong to this point on the men's side, and top-ranked female players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka have cruised through the women's draw.

But not all of the top stars brought their A-game to the Italian capital.

Here we'll recap some of the biggest disappointments in Rome this past week.

 

Novak Djokovic 

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been inconsistent since knocking off Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo last month. He lost in the second round of the Madrid Masters to Grigor Dimitrov and was defeated by Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals of Rome this week.

Djokovic struggled mightily in his return game against Berdych, winning just 20 percent of his first-serve return points for the match.

You have to believe he'll patch up his game before heading to the French Open, but he's missed another golden opportunity to put some doubt in Rafael Nadal's mind before the year's second major.

The fact that Djokovic is considered to be the one guy capable of upending Nadal in Paris this summer is what makes his Rome performance so disappointing.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

Following a first-round bye in Rome this week, women's world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska turned out a disappointing effort in her first match of the tournament: a second-round loss to Simona Halep.

The 24-year-old Polish star has never been particularly dominant on clay, winning just two career singles titles on the surface and never getting past the fourth round at the French Open. But there's no excuse for dropping the final two sets 1-6, 2-6 to a player ranked No. 64 in the world.

Halep is a clay-court specialist, but if Radwanska is going to contend for the No. 1 ranking, she has to be able to overcome lesser players on challenging surfaces. 

After early exits in Madrid and now Rome, Radwanska looks poised for another early exit in the French Open this summer.

 

Juan Martin del Potro

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's hard to believe that Juan Martin del Potro hasn't strung together consecutive match wins since Indian Wells last March.

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The 6'6" Argentine lost his first match at the Miami Masters soon after Indian Wells and fell in the third round at Monte Carlo last month. And in Rome on Thursday he dropped his third-round match against Benoit Paire, falling in straight sets to the unseeded Frenchman.

The result is a huge disappointment for the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who has won four clay-court tournaments over the course of his career.

Delpo reached the quarterfinals at the French Open in 2012 and the semifinals at Roland Garros four years ago. In between those impressive runs at the French Open, he bowed out in the third round in 2011.

And it looks like he will do the same in 2013 based on what we've seen from him on the red stuff thus far.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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