ATP

Djokovic saved by the rain in Rome as Nadal gains revenge over Zverev

By Sports Desk May 14, 2021

Novak Djokovic's Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-final with Stefanos Tsitsipas was halted by persistent rain on Friday with the world number one a set and a game down.

Reigning champion Djokovic, who is seeking a sixth triumph in Rome, struggled to get going against Tsitsipas and trails 6-4 2-1 ahead of the scheduled resumption of play on Saturday.

The top seed lost serve in the first game and continued to make some uncharacteristic errors that saw him trail 4-1 at one point.

While Djokovic did earn a first break in the sixth game, Tsitsipas stood firm to take the opening set and was in total control when again breaking his opponent early in the next set.

However, soon after the Greek had opened up a 2-1 advantage, the worsening conditions led to a pause in proceedings and organisers were eventually forced to bring the day's play to an end.

Djokovic, who converted just one of his six break point opportunities, will return to the court on Saturday and will need to improve if he is to join Rafael Nadal in the final four.

Nadal exacted some revenge on Alexander Zverev earlier on Friday to reach the semi-finals for a 12th time.

The Spaniard lost to Zverev at the same stage of the Madrid Open seven days ago but responded to questions over his form by easing through this latest encounter.

Nadal, who saved two match points before beating Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, raced 4-0 ahead in the first set against Zverev and had little trouble seeing the job through.

Aiming for a record-extending 10th title in the Italian capital, Nadal saved all eight break points he faced in the second set to advance 6-3 6-4 in two hours.

"I played more solid than Madrid. Conditions are different," he said in his post-match interview. "Here the conditions are a little more normal. I was able to control a little bit more."

"I'm happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to. It's an important victory for me against a great player."

Nadal will face Reilly Opelka for a place in the final, the American beating qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-5 7-6 (7-2) to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

Opelka entered the tournament on a six-game losing streak, but he kept his good run going in Rome by earning the only break of the opening set in the 12th game.

Both players held throughout the second set and it was big-serving Opelka who prevailed 7-2 in the tie-break.

The day's other quarter-final between Lorenzo Sonego and Andrey Rublev also fell victim to the bad weather and will get under way on Saturday.

Related items

  • Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final

    Jack Draper retired in the third set of his semi-final against Australian Alex de Minaur at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

    Draper left the court 4-0 down in the final set because of an undisclosed illness after he staged a strong comeback from a set down to the defending champion.

    The Australian started strongly, taking the first 6-3 and capitalising on four of six break points – the first set Draper had dropped in the tournament.

    But the British number three staged a valiant comeback, winning the second set 6-2 with some strong returns.

    His illness became an issue towards the end of the second set with the 22-year-old receiving treatment from the physiotherapist and tournament doctor.

    Things only got worse in the third set as the Australian won four consecutive games before Draper retired from the match.

    De Minaur said after the match that he wishes Draper a “speedy recovery”.

    “He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious,” he said.

  • Katie Boulter into biggest semi-final of career to set up highest ranking Katie Boulter into biggest semi-final of career to set up highest ranking

    Katie Boulter is through to a first WTA 500 semi-final after beating Croatia’s Donna Vekic in straight sets at the San Diego Open.

    The British number one followed up her win over second seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last 16 by knocking out the 2022 runner-up 6-4 6-3.

    From trailing 3-1 in the first set, Boulter won nine of the next 10 games in another confident display.

    She will climb to a career-high ranking, on the brink of the top 40, following her latest victory.

    Vecic, seeded seventh, broke first in the opening set but then allowed Boulter to hit straight back after an error-strewn service game.

    Boulter then saved three break points to hold and grabbed a crucial second break for 5-4 before serving out the set.

    Two stunning Boulter backhands brought the 27-year-old from Leicester another break at the start of the second, and a subsequent break to love put her in complete control.

    Boulter let Vecic claw one break back as she served for the set, but she converted her first match point with a clubbing forehand after the longest rally of the match, wrapping up the victory in an hour and 36 minutes.

    “It was an absolute battle in tricky conditions, it was not easy to get any rhythm as we are both big hitters,” Boulter said in her on-court interview.

    “I got over the line in the first set and played some good stuff in the second.”

  • Andrey Rublev defaulted for allegedly abusing line judge at Dubai Open Andrey Rublev defaulted for allegedly abusing line judge at Dubai Open

    World number five Andrey Rublev was sensationally defaulted after being accused of swearing at a line judge in the deciding set of his semi-final at the Dubai Open.

    The combustible Russian was trailing 6-5 in the third against Alexander Bublik when he appeared to say something to the line judge.

    ATP supervisor Roland Herfel came down to the court accompanied by a Russian speaker, who claimed Rublev had sworn in his native language.

    Rublev protested, insisting he was speaking in English, while Bublik also backed his opponent.

    “I didn’t say ‘f******’. I swear to God. This is huge. I swear to God,” said Rublev.

    The offence would usually merit a warning in the first instance, but the 26-year-old was defaulted by umpire Miriam Bley amid jeers from the crowd in Dubai.

    It was a controversial end to a tight match, with Kazakhstan’s Bublik progressing to the final 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-5.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.