This fantastic male final between the two best players in the world closes the 2021 edition of the IBI. A long week that we will not forget, rich of emotions, great tennis and the return of the fans to the Foro Italico. The Live Blog ends here. Thank you for following us, point by point, match by match. See you next year !!!
20:01 – 5-3, Rafa serves for the Title of IBI21. He serves well, takes the lead 30-15 and then 40-30. Second Championship Point !!!! IT’S OVER! Djokovic’s backhand is badly centered, flies wide in the corridor. GAME MATCH MATCH NADAL !!! It is the TENTH cup in Rome. Immortal, Infinite champion. LEGEND! After Barcelona, he gets his second win this season on his beloved clay.
19:55 – Rafa returns ahead 5-2, on 30 all fires a terrific cross backhand, it’s Championship Point !!! Novak is saved with a perfect first serve. The Serbian stays in the match, the score is 5-3, now Nadal serves for the title.
19:44 – Wow, INCREDIBLE EFFORT BY RRRRRRRAFA! Djokovic pushes, but RN’s defenses are Superb! Djokovic collapses 0-40, 3 break points !!! Novak attacks short with the forehand, Rafa lowers to the ground and finds a sharp and precise backhand down the line. A sentence -> BREAK! Now Rafa ahead 4-2, he serves. Two jumps away from the title.
19:39 – Superb quality in the match, great emotions! Djokovic returns so well, leads the rallies and gets two break points! He wastes the first one, he was in control but the last shot dies into the net. Nadal with a full power forehand brings the point that leads him 3-2 ahead.
19:23 – Novak levels 1 all with a CRAZY backhand down the line, the ball flirts with the line and flies away. An interesting statistic: in the match, 15 points to 5 for Novak in rallies with more than 9 shots so far.
19:10 – Djokovic In The Zone! He puses hard with STUNNING control, in a 8 minutes game BREAK Rafa’s serve with a excellent rally, leading with his backhand. Djokovic leads 5-1, DOUBLE BREAK, serves for the second set! On 40-15 has 2 Set Point. Rafa fights hard, forces the game to deuce. ACE Djokovic, has a third one. It’s the last point of the set. 6-1 Djokovic, well deserved Novak. The IBI Final go third.
18:54 – Djokovic consolidates the advantage, leads 4-1 in the second. A bit of a rush Nadal in a couple rallies, forced a shot, missing it, instead of forcing the rival’s error.
18:47 – Djokovic saves a break point in the third game, and in the fourth NADAL DISASTER with the drop shot! Rafa tries a first one… too long, Djokovic arrives easy and closes. Rafa tries another one at 15-30, and ends up in the corridor. Djokovic BREAK Rafa with a beautiful backhand cross. 3-1 ahead Djoker!
18:31 – Second set, Novak to serve. At 30 he moves the score of the set, 1-0.
18:26 – Djokovic pushes in return, tries to force the set at the breaker. Rafa has different plans… From 0-30 he brings back 30 all with a perfect serve and a fantastic forehand. No Novak!?!? … He shoots a slow and short forehand, which dies in the middle of the court…. Rafa … “THANKS” and takes the point! SET POINT! Wow, find a great drop shot “Nole” to cancel it, after a great cross return! Miss Novak a forehand, hitting with poor balance. Second SET POINT Rafa! Quick as LIGHTNING Nadal to move on forehand and GOOO, shots a very tight ball, fantastic. 7-5 RRRRRRAFA! 1h and 15 minutes. The Serbian shakes his head, just a little hole in the eleventh game cost him the set. 21 to 10 the winners for the Majorcan and 84% of first serve in in the set. On clay, the KING is Rafa.
18:18 – 5 all, Novak to serve. He commits a double foult (ball deadly into the net) that force the game to the advantages. “The temperature” on court rises…! BRAVO Nadal, boosts a return loaded with spin that opens the court and than a terrific forehand down the line. BREAK POINT! NOVAK GOES WIDE! The n.1 is furious, barks at his corner insistently. He gave up the service game at a very critical moment, now EL REY serves for the first set, ahead 6-5.
18:11 – 5-4 Djokovic, Rafa to serve. The Serbian goes 15-30 in return, fires a very long shot that Rafa does not control. Small chance? NO! ACE RRRRRAFA! A terrific, winning forehand follows. 5 all.
18:02 – 4 all, long rally in the center field, Nadal hits his first, beautiful, drop shot, SOOO well played. Novak is surprised, he doesn’t even try to get it back. Drop shot on clay can be a very important shot to break the rally…
17:54 – So long the seventh game. Djokovic risks a serve and volley, touches decently a volley but… FLIES Rafa to recover the ball, finding a SPECTACULAR touch! But… braking he falls to the ground (like against Zverev!), because his shoe hits the line. Rafa is furious, the staff fix the line and go back on court. It’s break point! The Serbian plays very well, an angled serve, long drive in the center and a fast forehand on the open field. Djokovic saves, ahead 4-3 in the first set.
17:44 – The match goes on very quickly now, both players serve well, who returns can do nothing. 3 all.
17:39 – With a powerful strong first serve at T Nadal levels 2 all, big reaction from the Champ. Djokovic stays strong, love game and takes the lead 3-2. 27 minutes of match.
17:31 – … did anyone think that Rafa was letting Novak escape? NO! Immediate Counter BREAK by Rafa, who forces a couple of errors of the # 1 with drives loaded by power and spin. 2-1 Djokovic, but now El Rey to serve.
17:25 – Off to a hot start Djokovic! The # 1 literally FLIES on court, returns with his feet in the air … Novak plays perfect drop shots, returns strong and accurate. With a nice forcing with the backhand BREAK Rafa on the third chance. 2-0 ahead Novak.
17:15 – First game, Djokovic to serve. Very aggressive Novak, pushes safely with all the shots, at 30 moves the score of the match. Now Rafa to serve.
17:05 – Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have just entered on “Centrale”. The IBI21 men’s final is about to start.
15:26 – Pliskova tries to win at least one game, serving 0-6 0-5 below. Iga returns aggressively on the second serve of Karolina, no errors; the Czech hardly holds up the rally. At 15-30 she finds a good forehand cross, 30 all. Swiatek forced out a cross backhand from the center, one of the very rare mistakes of her match. For the first time, Pliskova reaches 40 in a game! 40-30 the score. She forces on serve to get the Ace, but the ball is just out (the Czech served badly today!). Nothing, another errors by Karolina, from the baseline. Pliskova finally serve an ACE! Karolina has fort the first time the ball to secure a game! She shoots wide a forehand cross. Iga eases to MATCH POINT after 46 minutes of match. Karolina is too slow, her defensive forehand flies away. Game Set Match Swiatek, a terrific 6-0 6-0. A final that will set a record for the tournament, but unfortunately the match has not even started. Almost perfect Swiatek, but totally mess Pliskova, able to win only 13 points against 51.
15:19 – Nothing, the game is sadly slipping away. Pliskova is petrified on serve. She can’t handle the rally. Collaps 0-30 and then 15-40. Swiatek fires a comfortable winner by forehand, it’s the TENTH game in a row. 4-0 in the second. Se serves again and with total fluency wins, again, a love game, closing it with an Ace. 6-0 5-0. No words.
15:13 – Iga’s first mini down. Perhaps distracted by how the opponent is so in trouble, Swiatek misses two easy shots. Karolina is called to the net by a poor drop shot, runs well forward and wins a point! The score is 15-40, two chances for Karo to finally enter into the match. It is only a moment: Swiatek immediately finds the first service again and depth with her forehand. With four points in a row, the score marks an incredible three zero. 6-0 , 3-0 = 9-0, all for Iga.
14:59 – 5-0 Swiatek! Terrible start by Pliskova, 9 mistakes and above all the misery of 3 points won so far in the match !!! She goes to serve, but her eyes seem to look to nothing. She can’t move fast on Iga’s aggressive ballas in return, and then remains motionless on the following shot. 0-30, what’s up Karo ??? Another winning shot by Swiatek, but it is clear that the Czech is almost motionless. 0-40 and THREE SET POINTS for the Polish. Pliskova shakes herself, finally boosts a forehand on court and wins a point. Just an Illusion… 6-0 SWIATEK in twenty minutes. Never seen a first set like this in a final at the IBI.
14:52 – Red Alert on Centre court!!! The Czech is in serious trouble, she does not serve well, she is terribly slow to arrive on her rival’s stokes. Collapses 0-40 and suffers the second break of the match. 13 minutes, 4-0 Swiatek. NO MATCH so far …
14:49 – Hell of an hot start from Swiatek! The Pole makes no mistake, she is very fast on court and takes advantage of a very slow Pliskova in this very fisrt games. In just 8 minutes Iga leads 3-0, she dominates.
14:20 – BUONA DOMENICA from Rome! Today the 78th edition of “Internazionali BNL d’Italia” ends. On “Centrale” the women’s final is about to begin: Karolina Pliskova (champion in 2019 and finalist in 2020) will face Iga Swiatek, winner of Roland Garros 2020. A very interesting match, curiously the very first one between Iga and Karo. Not before 17:00, will start the men’s final, the SUPER match Djokovic vs. Nadal. A game that needs no introduction, it is simply THE match. The sky above Rome is gray, but no rain is expected. An extraordinary afternoon awaits us, let’s live it together!