ATP

Nadal knows 'how to handle the pressure' after claiming 10th Internazionali d'Italia title

By Sports Desk May 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal believes his ability to handle pressure was key to a record-extending 10th Internazionali d'Italia win on Sunday.

Nadal overcame Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3 to seal his first Masters 1000 triumph of the year, while improving to 4-2 in the finals he has played against the Serbian at the Foro Italico venue in Rome.

Victory also gave Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

The 34-year-old king of clay-court tennis was delighted to get his hands on the trophy for a 10th time and said there has been no let-up in his motivation to succeed.

"It's amazing to have the trophy with me again, one more time here in Rome," Nadal said.

"I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. After achieving 10 at Roland Garros, 10 in Monte Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one. It's a super important tournament for me.

"I went through a lot of things during the week. Some positive, some great moments, some lucky moments, suffering moments. At the end I think I played a very solid week of tennis. It's the right moment to win an important title."

Nadal added, quoted on the ATP website: "I don't put extra pressure on myself at all. I want to win every day and every tournament that I play. But the passion and the motivation to try is always the same. I know how to handle the pressure."

Nadal plans to rest for a few days before making minor tweaks to his game ahead of a tilt at a record-breaking 21st grand slam title at the French Open, which starts on May 30.

"I'll take a couple of days off and then start working," Nadal added. "I think I can work on a couple of things that I can do a little bit better. I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with those improvements, because when you improve, you're able to do it every day for a longer time.

"I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work on over the next couple of weeks, and I'm going to do it. Work, relax mentally, and work the right way."

Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego.

However, he insisted fatigue was not behind his defeat.

"Not at all, I did not feel any fatigue," Djokovic said. "He managed to break my serve and played better, that's it.

"Until the last shot it was quite close. I had my shot to win it, but it wasn't meant to be. I didn't feel fatigue. Actually, I was very happy with the way I felt on the court. I could have gone for another few hours.

"I could have easily gone out of this tournament in the quarters. I'm very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually.

"Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played at a high level. Unfortunately the decisive moments in the first and third sets just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate."

Related items

  • Keys eliminated as three seeds exit Silicon Valley Classic Keys eliminated as three seeds exit Silicon Valley Classic

    World number 26 Madison Keys was one of three seeded players to be eliminated in the second round of the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Wednesday.

    The American third seed was beaten by China's Zhang Shuai 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in one hour and 39 minutes.

    Keys sent down 7-1 aces but Zhang, ranked 51st in the world, was excellent on return, converting four of her 11 break points.

    Fourth seed Daria Kasatkina was also in danger after losing the first set but rallied to win 3-6 7-5 6-3 over France's Caroline Garcia.

    "It was a tough match. From my point of view, I think the level of the game was very good, and I'm really happy that I was able to turn the match in the second set," Kasatkina said in the on-court interview.

    Ninth seed Alison Riske was emphatically beaten by Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes, while sixth seed Petra Martic bowed out to Poland's Magda Linette 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

  • Nadal outlasts Sock in three-hour Citi Open epic as seeds fall Nadal outlasts Sock in three-hour Citi Open epic as seeds fall

    World number three Rafael Nadal outlasted Jack Sock in a three-hour epic to progress through to the third round at the Citi Open in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

    The 20-time Grand Slam winner needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat American wildcard Sock 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-1).

    Sock, who is currently ranked 192nd in the world, stormed back into the match with an early break in the second set after the Spaniard cruised in the first.

    In a three-hour-and-a-four-minute match which saw only five breaks, Nadal got the edge winning more on his second serve, while he produced some vintage winners too.

    Nadal goes through to the third round where he will face 14th seed Lloyd Harris, who progresses after a walkover with Tennys Sandgren retiring mid-match.

    Third seed and world number 18 Alex De Minaur was bundled out by world number 81 Steve Johnson 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2.

    Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov also was dumped out with a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Belarussian world number 65 Ilya Ivashka.

    Sixth seed Dan Evans went out in straight sets to 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 while 10th seed Taylor Fritz also bowed out to Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2.

    Former winner Kei Nishikori knocked off ninth seed Alexander Bublik 6-2 7-5, while 13th seed Benoit Paire lost in three sets to Mackenzie McDonald.

    Fifth seed Jannik Sinner got through in straight sets against Emil Ruusuvuori, along with eighth seed Reilly Opelka and 11th seed John Millman.

  • Seeds Collins and Putintseva ease to wins at Silicon Valley Classic Seeds Collins and Putintseva ease to wins at Silicon Valley Classic

    Danielle Collins eased past Shelby Rogers 6-4 6-3 to book her spot in the second round at the Silicon Valley Classic on Tuesday.

    World number 36 Collins proved too strong for American compatriot Rogers, winning in one hour and 25 minutes.

    Collins will meet another American in the second round, with Sloane Stephens up next.

    Former U.S. Open winner Stephens beat Caty McNally 6-4 6-2 earlier in the day.

    Yulia Putintseva, meanwhile, eased her way into the second round with a 7-5 6-3 win over Croatian Donna Vekic.

    Putintseva will face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round after she fought back to overcome Amanda Anisimova 1-6 7-5 7-5.

    France's Kristina Mladenovic won 6-4 6-4 over Han Na-Lae, while American Claire Liu won in three sets against Dayana Yastremska.

    Mladenovic will face top seed Elise Mertens, while Liu meets second seed Elena Rybakina.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.