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LIVE BLOG: Rain over Rome, day 6 ends here. Tsitsipas takes 1st on Djokovic, Barty retires

OFFICIAL: the day 6 ends here. Due to persistent rain, the remaining matches are canceled.

19:10 – Tsitsipas starts very strong even in the second set. In the third game, he flies 0-30 and then shoots a cross forehand that leaves Novak totally still. Break Point! Rally, the Serbian smashes a forehand into the net. BREAK TsiTsi, 2-1 and serve. …But the match is interrupted, the rain falls very heavy again. On the Grand Stand Arena, Rublev and Sonego did the warm up but not started. Everyone in the locker room.

18:57 – 5-4, Tsitsipas serves to win the set. Play BIG the Greek, very quick to push with the first shot after his serve. Rushes to the net, the defense of Novak does not pass. 40-15 and Two Set Points! OK the second one: long the return of “Nole”. 6-4 SET TSITSIPAS! So good to restart after the long stop as if the match had never stopped.

18:50 – Let’s go again! Tsitsipas on serve. No rallies at all the points decided by serve and returns. 5-3 Stefanos. Novak serves to stay in the set.

18:20 – The groundsman are on “Centrale”, the procedure for preparing the court starts again. At 19:00, on Grand Stand Arena will start Sonego vs. Rublev.

18:11 – Barty suffered a problem in her right arm, which led to the decision to retire. Gauff tomorrow will play the winner of Svitolina vs. Swiatek.

18:01 – Second set, the score is 2-1 Barty. At the change court, the Aussie calls the trainer. A little conversation, Ash shakes her head… ++++++ BARTY RERIRES ++++++ The match ends here. What a pity, the match was entertaining and well played. The young American snatches a place in the semifinals.

17:45 – The game resumed on the Grande Stand Arena. The set between Barty and Gauff advances quickly. At 5-4 Barty, Gauff returns and the game becomes a fierce battle. Ash snatches 4 set points, the American so good at canceling them with courage, even taking the point at the net. In the fifth set point, she runs to the net following a shot forehand, easy for Barty the passing shot. SET Barty.

17:16Barty and Gauff return om court, but thay can play just one game (# 1 goes 3-2). The rain falls quite heavy again. New stop. On “Centrale”, the groundsman cover the court.

15:21 – RAIN DELAY. The players return to the locker room, the rain is too heavy. On the Centre court, the score is 4-3 Tsitsipas, with the Greek to serve. On Grand Stand Arena, 2 all (with a break each in the third and fourth game), Barty starts again to serve.

15:17 – On the Grand Stand Barty complains about the condition of the pitch, she says the referee is too slippery, it’s raining. Nouni sends the groundsman to clean up the lines. The match stops on 2 all, but the players are still on the field.

15:15 – Novak bring back to life in return, struggles as hard as he can, it’s break point on 30-40 and this time his forehand return is HUGE, so powerful and accurate that TsiTsi’s backhand movement is late. The ball goes off for a tangent… BREAK Djokovic, recovers one of the two games behind, serves 2-4.

15:05 – Tsitsipas starts very strong, BREAK goes ahead 2-1 at the start. The fourth game is CRAZY, unreal level. The last points are one and only WINNERS! Backhands from Stefanos, returns from Djokovic. PIVOTAL game, INCREDILBLE tennis. After 10 minutes and 9 seconds, finally Stefanos wins this game! S-T-R-A-T-O-S-F-E-R-I-C-O !!!!!!! 3-1 ahead of the Greek.

14:38 – Pliskova Ostapenko ends at Decider. Pliskova moves forward. With her terrific forehand… BOOM! All instinct, all Czech power. 4-1 and then with another all-power forehand inside out is 5-1. At court change, Jelena throws bottles of water to the ground, frustrating to be so close to win, and now the match is running away. Jelena’s backhand is wide, 6-1 and 5 match points! BOOM, the last, terrific, forehand winner. GSM, Pliskova! What suffering, what a struggle. Karolina in semifinal again.

14:17 – TONS of Emotions! Rafa serves 5-4 to close the match. With another drop shot Rafa calls forward Zverev, but Rafa misses the passing shot with open field. Third break point. Excelent first serve to cancel it. 40 all. Two hours of match, so intense. Power rallies, Nadal pushes Zverev away from the baseline the rival. Match Point! Serve and Volley Rafa…. OKKKK! Game Set Match Nadal! Another great victory for Rafa, raises his fist to the sky, thanks the applause of his fans. Another SF for Nadal. Infinite champ.

14:06 – … think about that some consider Rafa a “poor talented player” … Look at that touch on the first point, sudden drop shot with the forehand. PERFECT. 15-0.

14:02 – Ostapenko breaks Karolina’s serve in the second game, neither of them manages to run away. Now the match goes on serve, for the first time so far. 3-2 Ostapenko.

13:42 – BREAK RRRRRRRAFA! The champion is out there, rushing, pushing. He saved 3 break points in the fourth game, now hammers in return and BREAK the service game of Zverev. Now leads 3-2 and service. He gets the control of tempo of the match. Zverev is forced to chase.

13:32 – The balance on the Grand Stand is not broken! Pliskova breaks Ostapenko’s serve game, goes to serve for the second set ahead 5-4. At the time of closing she forces out a couple of balls that cost her 15-40. Jelena takes advantage of it, it’s 5 all.

13:05 Nadal falls to the ground! Running towards the net, his foot blocks on the ground near the half-way line, but luckily his ankle doesn’t turn. All right! Zverev wastes a break point and Rafa closes 6-3. Too many mistakes for Sasha on the set, 17.

12:556-4 Ostapenko! Pliskova creates and destroys, raises the level, turns on the light and turns it off in an instant. The Czech had returned 4 all, she seemed in control of the set, and instead… CLICK, light off. She serves 4-5, she smashes two balls totally still on her feet. She gives away the service game and the set to Jelena.

12:39 – Zverev and Pliskova enter the game. Karolina from 0-4 starts to grind her tennis, takes control of the rallies with her terrific drives and goes 3-4. Zverev takes courage: he is quicker with his feet and fires longer and more intense strokes. He moves finally the score and starts to put Rafa in trouble. Start of another match?

12:34 – Double BREAK Rafa! 4-0 and serve. At the moment, NO match. Zverev after losing the second game of service, drops to his knees. It can’t be tiredness, it’s discouragement, the set is running away. Perfect Nadal, Zverev down

12:27 – Rocket start for Ostapenko. The former RG champion runs from the blocks like a sprinter, finds great power and leads 3-0. Pliskova has not yet “set in motion”.

12:26 – What an point! Nadal is already VERY intense with his drives, Zverev gives in. 15-40, two break points for Rafa. Zverev cancel the first with powerful shot, but on the second one… Double Fault! A total mess and terrible way to give away a service game to Nadal …

11:52 – TIEBREAK OPELKA – DELBONIS! The US giant begins, serve. BOOM, 1-0.. Federisco misses a easy shot, his backhand into the net, the classic unforced error. Reilly is out there, SO focused. Perfect return and forehand cross, all too easy for the Giant. 3-0 and serve. 5-0! At 5-2 Reilly finds a great shot running, what an angle! 6-2 and 4 MATCH POINT! OK the first! The backhand of the Argentinian dies into the net. The American is the first semifinalist at the IBI21, a truly surprising result, but absolutely deserved. Opelka has shown a LOT more of its Superb service this week.

11:49 – GSM Martic! The Croatian serves to close it now, and pushes hard, leading the rally with her forehand.6-4 at the second set point. Semifinal in Rome, best career result on clay for the former n.14 in the world, who returns very close to the top20 WTA. She was more powerful and incisive with the forehand, commanding much during the match. So a well-deserved success. BRAVA!

11:39 – The QUALITY of Opelka’ service is stunning. Not just terrific speed, but also perfect angles and a lot of variety in effects. From such a height, he manages to find shots that are forbidden to most of his colleagues. 6-5, tiebreak in sight …

11:23 – Fifth game and FIVE break points wasted by Martic, a little chaos so far in this set… A SIXTH break point arrives… Finally the Croatian finds a powerful forehand, runs to the net and secured the BREAK. 3-2 ahead.

Petra Martic

11:20 – The second set runs so fast on the service games on Grand Stand. Such of a nightmare for the Argentine to find a way to break Opelka…. In many points the rally does not even start, and the American does not give him any rhythm.

Barty training!

10:58 – 7-5 MARTIC! Same score in the women’s match, but with a totally different story. Great tension, rallies with many unforced, breaks and counter breaks. On 5 all, Martic breaks the service game at the fourth break point, a very tough one. The match that is not that beautiful, more unforced than the winning shots.

10:55 – SET OPELKA! Bravissimo Reilly, ahead 6-5 and returning, risks any shot and finds excellent timing of impact. Delbonis suffers the moment and his forehand turns not accurate. 30-40, it’s Set Point! Opelka rushes to the net, the Delbonis passing shot, under enormous pressure, is… OUT! 7-5 for the US giant, so good to sense the “moment”.

10:18 – Third very complicated game for Opleka. Collapses 0-40, three break points! He clings to her super service and deletes them all. With five points in a row, he leads 2-1, Delbonis to serve. 2 all Pegula – Martic, break and immediate counterbreak in the second and third game.

9:55 – Good morning !!!! It’s Friday, at IBI21 means quarter finals. Eight great matches to be lived together. On Centre court ready to start Martic vs. Pegula, very open match. Not before 12, one of the SUPER Matches of the day: Nadal – Zverev, re-match after their meeting in Madrid last week. In the afternoon Tsitsipas against Djokovic, another big big one. Delbonis and Opelka take off on the Grand Stand Arena, to elect the “black horse” of the tournament. Pliskova vs. Ostapenko will follow, battle between “hard hitters”. Barty – Gauff will close the afternoon program. That’s all? No!!! At 7 pm on the Centrale a “tasty” Swiatek vs. Svitolina; on Grand Stand Arena the Italian fan favorite Lorenzo Sonego, facing the Russian Rublev. Ready for another loooong ride? GO! 

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