Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic finished as runner-up at last year's Italian Open.TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images
  • Top seed Rafael Nadal may face in-form Dominic Thiem in the quarter-final.
  • Four-time champion Novak Djokovic eyes return to peak form ahead of French Open.
  • Alexander Zverev is favorite to defend his Italian Open title in Rome.

Italian Open (Rome Masters), the final major stop on the ATP circuit before Roland Garros, began Monday, May 14 with big names, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, emerging successful in their first-round match.

How to watch Italian Open 2018 live on TV, online in India

Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD will provide live television coverage of the match in India. Live stream will be available on Sony Liv. 

Djokovic, the runner-up at last year's edition of the Masters 1000 tournament, made a rousing start to his campaign by outclassing Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in straight sets. Nishikori, who had reached the final of Monte Carlo Masters, also made a good start by sealing a straight-set win over Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

Djokovic could meet Nishikori, whom he defeated in the first round of Madrid Open last week, in the quarter-final of the ongoing tournament. Notably, the Serb is searching for a back-to-back win for the first time since Monte Carlo Masters.

The four-time champion, who will take on the winner of the first round match between two qualifiers — Nikoloz Basilashvili and Filippo Baldi, though is likely to face a stiff test against eighth seed John Isner as early as in the third round.

Nadal eyes return to winning ways in Rome

Meanwhile, top seed and seven-time champion, Rafael Nadal will start his campaign against the winner of the first-round tie between Fernando Verdasco and Damir Dzumhur.

Nadal will be eager to go the distance in the ongoing tournament and ascertain his dominance over the rest of the pack on the red dirt ahead of his title defense at the French Open.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion, who was stopped by Dominic Thiem in the quarter-final last year, heads into the tournament on the back of a last-eight defeat in Madrid.

The Spanish ace will be hoping to avenge his Madrid Open defeat to Thiem as the two are likely to meet in yet another quarter-final matchup, this time in Rome.

Can in-form Zverev retain Rome Masters crown?

Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem
Alexander Zverev defeated Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open final on Sunday, May 13.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Second seed and defending champion Alexander Zverev headlines the second half of the draw, which also has fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro, fourth seed Marin Cilic and seventh seed Kevin Anderson.

Zverev is among the strong favorites to finish on the top step of the podium in Rome as he is in red-hot form.

The 21-year-old is gearing up for this title defense on the back of a title-winning run in Madrid Open last week.

Quarter-finals predictions - Italian Open 2018

  • Rafael Nadal [1] vs Dominic Thiem [6]
  • Kei Nishikori vs Novak Djokovic [11]
  • Kevin Anderson [7] v Marin Cilic [4]
  • Alexander Zverev [2] Juan Martin del Potro [5]

Italian Open 2018 - Global TV listings and live stream

US: Tennis Channel

UK: TV - Sky Sports; Live stream: Sky Go

Germany: Sky

Japan: NHK

Malaysia: Astro Supersport

South Africa: Supersport