Italian Open Saturday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

Italian Open Saturday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

It’s semifinal day in Rome, and hopefully the rain in the forecast doesn’t disturb the order of play.

Published

on

Rafael Nadal (photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Quarterfinal day actually carried over into semifinal day, as Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro battled well past 1:00am.  Djokovic saved two match points and prevailed in an over three-hour affair. He and Rafael Nadal are just one win away from their first meeting on clay this year, an occasion the tennis world has been anxiously awaiting.  But first, Nadal must face the man who defeated him last week, Stefanos Tsitsipas. In the women’s semifinals, two of the WTA’s most consistent performers face two surprise semifinalists.

 

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (8)

This is a rematch from last Saturday’s semifinal in Madrid, where Tsitsipas took out the King of Clay in his nation’s capital.  Nadal will be eager to avenge that loss, and even more eager to gain more confidence just eight days before the French Open begins.  Perhaps Nadal is finally rounding into form. In the three matches he’s played this week, he’s only dropped six games in six sets. He won three of those sets 6-0.  However, Tsitsipas is a step up in competition from Rafa’s last three opponents, and should be well-rested after Roger Federer withdrew from their quarterfinal yesterday.  It’s hard to imagine the 20-year-old upsetting Nadal on clay for the second straight week. I expect a hungry Nadal to prevail in straight sets.

Kiki Bertens (6) vs. Johanna Konta

With a win today, Bertens would usurp Simona Halep as the new world No.2.  Johanna Konta, former world No.4, has already done enough this week to get her ranking back high enough to be seeded at Roland Garros.  The British No.1 has struggled mightily since making the Wimbledon semifinals two years ago. And she’s never fared well on clay. In fact, she had a losing record on this surface in each of the last three seasons.  But a run to the final in Rabat two weeks, where she lost to fellow Rome semifinalist Maria Sakkari, was the confidence boost she needed. Konta is now 9-2 on clay this year. However, Bertens is the WTA’s most winningest player on clay over the past few years, and is on an eight-match winning streak coming off her title run last week in Madrid.  Bertens was completely exhausted on Thursday, but somehow pulled out two three-set matches in one day. She was surely thrilled to have a day off yesterday thanks to the withdrawal of Naomi Osaka. Bertens and Konta have split their four previous matches, though they’ve never played on clay. Bertens will be the favorite on the terra baute of Rome, but don’t count out Konta considering her current form and Kiki’s self-described exhaustion.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday in Rome:

  • Novak Djokovic (1), who will be happy to be back in the night session considering his quarterfinal ended earlier this morning, vs. Diego Schwartzman, who defeated another tired player yesterday in Kei Nishikori.
  • Karolina Pliskova (4) vs. 23-year-old Maria Sakkari of Greece.  Their only previous meeting was last year at this tournament, when Sakkari upset Pliskova 7-5 in the third, and Pliskova repeatedly hit the chair umpire structure with her racket after a bad line call.

Focus

Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

Published

on

Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

 

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

Continue Reading

Focus

Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

Published

on

The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

Continue Reading

Focus

Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

Published

on

Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending