This content was published 13 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
10.55 pm: Novak Djokovic defeats Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-0. Wow. He finished off with two aces, as one does. Incredible display. Soderling came out all guns blazing but shot his bolt early doors, to coin three cliches in one sentence.
So tomorrow we’ll have Nadal – Gasquet at 2 pm, Djokovic – Murray at 8 pm. Wonderful – what a top line-up. There’s also the women’s semis and they start at 12 pm, so don’t sleep in too late! A domani !
10.43 pm: 3-0 Nole. Start the car.
10.29 pm: He rolls to a break to open the second as well. Whoosh.
10.22 pm: Jinx! Nole holds, breaks then holds to love with a big ‘un right down the middle. Suddenly 3-3 is 6-3 Djoker. That’s how Nole rolls.
10.15 pm: The match settles into a holding pattern, as ’twere, but Sod’s backhands are crisp and he carves out another break point that Nole does well to stave off.
9.44 pm: Ah. Then Bobby Sod wides a few backhands and we’re even steven. Nole-mal service is resumed.
9.40 pm: Four points, four incredible Bobby Sod returns. Djoker broken to love to open. Whoa Nole!
9.30 pm: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling. Nole leads the h2h 5-1, but that one was the most recent (18 months ago at the ATP World Tour Finals though). Nole won here against Robin in 2007, in three sets. The Djoker has six tour titles this year, twice as many as the next man (who by the way is called Robin – yup, Bobby Sod got off to a 19-1 start to the season, winning Brisbane, Rotterdam and Marseille and briefly overtaking Andy Murray. Muzz though had no points to defend during the US hard court or the clay swing and overtook him again).
7.13 pm: Two great forehands, an ace into the corner and then a backhand down the line – that’s the way to serve out to love! Richard Gasquet defeates Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in what was a great match of contrasting styles, to earn himself a crack at Rrrrrrrrafa Nadal tomorrow at 2 pm on Centre. They each had seven break points and Ritchie won four of his to two for Tom. And that was it – there wasn’t much else between them.
Right, Djokovic – Soderling isn’t til 9.15 pm but there’s obviously Sharapova – Azarenka on the WTA blog to follow in the mean time.
7.07 pm: Ritchie holds from 0-30 down. Four more points…
7.01 pm: Or alternatively we could have the third consecutive break to 30! TBerd second serves, kicking it up but Ritchie is a mile behind the baseline and sends a beautiful, deep backhand return which TBred shanks wide. 4-3, crucialissimo seventh game, and Ritchie is eight points from the semis. He celebrates by putting a new grip on his racquet in the two-minute changeover.
6.56 pm: Berdych breaks straight back with a forehand that lands right on the baseline at Ritchie’s feet that he can’t dig out. Come on, let’s have a tie-break in this one!
6.52 pm: And then two games later it’s 3-2 Gasquet with the Frenchman on service!
6.45 pm: 2-1 Berdych on service. This one is going to stretch on and on.
6.25 pm: 6-2 Gasquet in the second. He was all over TBerd’s service, both first and second, in that set with those beautiful one-handed backhands of his.
6.16 pm: TBerd is 5-2 down and on a warning from the umpire for vociferously arguing a line call. Ritchie to serve to take it to a decider.
6.05 pm: Wow, one-way traffic in the second – Ritchie is fore and backhanding beautifully and leads 4-1 with his service to come, two breaks to the good.
6 pm: Rafa has described himself as feeling “Much better. Yesterday after the match I was all with fever then towards the end of the day I started to feel a little bit better and I woke up today a little bit better. Just a little bit of fever at the beginning of the day before the match now, so now I am feeling – well that is a normal thing because after the match you feel a little bit worse and it is nothing … and I think I started the match with a greater intensity and so I was able to move faster and to play more aggressive with the legs and if I play more aggressive with the legs then the shots are automatically more aggressive.”
5.49 pm: Break right back at ya, but unfortunately at a far less crucial juncture. Ritchie hits a full-stretch cross-court forehand winner, à la Elena Dementieva, and leads 1-0 in the second.
5.44 pm: Sneaketty break, breaketty sneak. In the 10th game of the set Tomas suddenly raced into a 15-40 lead. Ritchie saved the first but not the second, and that’s TBerd a set away from the semis, having 6-4d the first.
5.30 pm: It’s been a tight one so far – 4-4. They’re both serving well and there has only been one break point thus far, which Ritchie saved.
4.52 pm: Gasquet – Berdych! The Federer-beater against the world no.7. Berdych won their last meeting in straight sets at the Aus Open this year, but the h2h is 2-2. However, TBerd took their only ever meeting on clay, at the Monte Carlo Masters last year for the loss of only two games. He then went on to make it to the semis of the subsequent French Open, so he’s no mug on clay, is the Czech, who also made the Wimbledon final last year.
Neither player has won a tourney yet this year – in fact semi-finals is all they can boast. One of them will have one more semi to add to their career list in a few hours’ time.
3.45 pm: Rafael Nadal defeats Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-3 and will remain as world no.1 for the foreseeable future -well, until the end of Roland Garros. Cilic saved a first match point with an ace but the second was the charm. Rafa was looking fully fit out there – Marin didn’t have a single break point, with Rafa winning 81% on his first service, 64% on his second. Cilic also made 30 unforced errors as he chased the game – twas ever thus against Rafa, who will face the winner of Ritchie Gasquet and Tomas Berdych, which will start on Pietrangeli once Wozniacki and Jankovic have finished their decider.
3.30 pm: 3-3 and I was about to write that Cilic was looking stronger on service and then Rafa goes and breaks him. To love. In the crucialissimo (that’s Italian, that is) seventh game of the set. 4-3 and Rafa’s almost home and hosed.
2.57 pm: 6-1 Nadal. Whoosh. He feasted on the Cilic second serve, which isn’t much of a weapon and with Marin only first-ing at a 50% clip, he was in trouble from the off.
2.52 pm: Cilic gets on the board but only after Nadal had raced into a 5-0 lead! Whatever cold cure he took, give me some as well! Echinacea, caffeine and Shiraz tends to be my cure…
2.32 pm: Nadal holds via deuce then breaks to 15. Whoosh. L’Equipe is reporting that his uncle and coach Toni wanted him to withdrew prior to the Lopez match yesterday due to his illness but Rafa insisted on staying on and playing on.
2.10 pm: OK, here it comes, Nadal – Cilic! If Nadal wins, he stays no.1 in the world, whatever happens tomorrow and Sunday. They met at this year’s Aus Open with Rafa winning 2, 4 and 3 at a canter, but in Beijing in 2009, Marin dumped him out of the semis 1 and 3. Interesting…
1.48 pm: Andy Murray defeats Florian Mayer 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 and becomes the first male Brit to make it into the final four at Rome. If you ignore the fact that Muzz thought the match started at 1 pm and everything before that was just a hit-out with some guy he’d never seen before, he was brilliant. It took him a while (a set, in fact) to work out how Mayer was hitting and also to defrost his own service (which still looked a bit burnt o
n the outside, frozen in the middle, like a good British sausage on a barbecue), but overall, Murray got the job done. He’s in the Soderling/Djokovic part of the draw.
Right, Nadal – Cilic up next in about 15 minutes!
1.18 pm: 1-6, 6-1. Murray wins the second with needing a first service (his was still ropey) as Mayer’s was non-existant. He won 36% on first and 11% on second service. I presume the decider will bring more of the same.
1.13 pm: Somebody told Murray his match started at 1 pm. He’s now 4-1 up and serving. The Mayer bubble seems to have burst – Murray lays down a drop shot (for the 9 millionth time in his career) that is too deep (for the 7 millionth time in his career), Mayer can’t capitalise, gets lobbed and then eschews the tweener that is on offer, attempting instead to hit a backwards underarm forehand, almost falling over in the process. 5-1 Murray. Someone give him an earlier wake-up call tomorrow.
1.06 pm: Morag, break out the malt whisky! Murray holds service, for the first time in the match. At the fifth time of asking! He’s 3-1 up, what can he do now? Hardly the display of a world no.4 and serious Grand Slam pretender (more pretender than serious) but to give credit where credit’s due, Mayer’s game plan had been working a treat up until now.
12.56 pm: And Mayer breaks him right back. To 15. Murray’s left his first service back in the hotel and if he doesn’t send someone out to fetch it quickly, then he’s toast. It’s been rank rotten up until now, as has his second ‘un.
12.51 pm: Mayer off to a flyer, Murray off to an absolute shocker. Three breaks of service from Mayer who lures Murray into the net then passes him with alarming regularity. What can Murray do to counter this? Well he can break to open the second for a start, which he does to 15, staying resolutely behind the baseline and not giving the German anything to hit. Better from Muzz.
12.32 pm: Here’s a bit of poetry for you: Florian Mayer, off to a flyer. The German leads Murray 3-1. He’s 27, world no.37 and is looking for only his eighth ever win against a top 10 player. Well, he’s a quarter of the way there in his first meeting with the Scotsman.
12.10 pm: Morning everyone, and welcome to the men’s quarter-finals! And play is about to start! Andy Murray has just been cheered out onto Centre Court, where he will face German no.1 Florian Mayer. After that we have Nadal – Cilic at 2-ish, Gasquet – Berdych at around 3.30 pm on Pietrangeli then the late, late show with Robin Soderling versus Novak Djokovic at 9.15 on Centre (no matches on Pietrangeli from now on in the evenings, just one ATP and one WTA on Centre).
Murray in two, Nadal in two, Gasquet in three and the Djoker in two really, really tight ones is my call. What say you? Tweet me @DrewLilley and let me know.