Rafael Nadal gets his revenge over Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach Italian Open final

Conditions were much slower than on the high-altitude court in Madrid, which favoured Nadal and made it tougher for Tsitsipas to execute his attacking game.

Published: 18th May 2019 09:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2019 09:27 PM   |  A+A-

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during a semifinal match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during a semifinal match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome (Photo| AP)

By Associated Press

ROME: After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Rafael Nadal looked more like his old, dominant self when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to reach the Italian Open final.

It was a measure of revenge for Nadal after losing to Tsitsipas in three sets at this stage in Madrid last week. The victory should also restore Nadal's confidence as he seeks a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend.m "I'm playing better every match, every weekend," Nadal said.

Aiming for a ninth trophy in Rome, Nadal's opponent in Sunday's final will be either Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman, who were playing later. Nadal is in the middle of his longest title drought to begin a season since he came onto the scene in 2004. His last trophy came in Toronto last August.

The crowd attempted to encourage Tsitsipas with chants of "Tsi-Tsi-Tsi; Pas-Pas-Pas" but the 20-year-old Greek player couldn't keep up with Nadal on the long rallies - even though he didn't play a day earlier after Roger Federer withdrew from the quarterfinals.

Conditions were much slower than on the high-altitude court in Madrid, which favoured Nadal and made it tougher for Tsitsipas to execute his attacking game. Midway through the first set, Nadal produced an awesome forehand winner up the line on the run, drawing a loud roar from the packed Campo Centrale crowd. Nadal broke Tsitsipas' serve early in both sets.

In the women's tournament, Johanna Konta rallied past sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in nearly three hours to reach the biggest clay-court final of her career. Konta's only previous final on clay came recently in Rabat, Morocco, where she lost the title match to Maria Sakkari. Konta could get a rematch with Sakkari if the Greek qualifier beats fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the other semifinal.

Midway through the first set, Konta surprised Bertens with a drop shot winner during a baseline rally, causing Bertens to fall on her stomach to the clay as she rapidly changed directions. Then in the next game, Konta ran down a drop shot and produced an angled winner.

Bertens was coming off the Madrid Open title. "She played really smart with the drop shots. I was all the time getting myself together and trying to push for more energy. But it was not there," Bertens said. The 42nd-ranked Konta served for the first set at 5-4 but was broken at love. But Bertens double-faulted to let Konta serve for the second set and Konta got an early break in the third.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tennis news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp