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LIVE BLOG: Djokovic defeats a great Sonego in three. Nadal pasts Opelka. Swiatek vs. Pliskova the final

21:22Eighth game, 30 all. Sonego fails to touch a drop shot, Djokovic runs easy ahead and slips a forehand along the line that gives him another MATCH POINT, 54 minutes after those he had in the second set. Lorenzo clings to his serve to stay in the game … The Italian’s first serve is long; Sonego’s forehand dies into the net. GAME MATCH MATCH DJOKOVIC. BEAUTIFUL HUG between the two on the net. The # 1 congratulates Lorenzo for his stunning level of tennis tonight. The audience applause the winner and Lorenzo, a true GLADIATOR. Djokovic tomorrow will face Nadal for the title, their fierce rivalry will have another page. 

21:16Novak flies like an eagle on the (easy) smash that gives him the point of 5-2. A VERY solid moment of the Serbian, accurate on serve, deep drive and NO errors.

21:06 – Fourth game, Sonego is in trouble! 0-30, with a nice shot rises 15-30. Oh No Lorenzo, too much power on this forehand, it’s 15-40!?! What a return the Djoker … Long, precise, BREAK the service game to the Italian, it is the first tear of the third set, 3-1 ahead of Djokovic.

20:53 – Sonego starts very strong in the third, thanks to the resounding victory of the second at the breaker. Boosts magic shots, Djokovic seems down. IT’S 0-40, THREE BALLS BREAK Sonegooooo!!! Djokovic saves them all, soooo hard the n.1, but Sonego almost hit the jackpot on the third, a top forehand ended up out by nothing!?! 1-0 Djokovic, 5 points in a row for the Serbian.

20:45 – Djokovic starts strong in the tiebreak, pushes and forces Sonego’s mistakes. 4-2 Djokovic at change court, but Sonego’s sensational reaction starts here! A double foul by the Serbian, then Lorenzo runs forward, recovers every ball and closes aggressively. 6-4 Sonego from 2-4, Two Set Points !!! Djokovic’s return on the second is long, SET SONEGO !!! The match go third. What emotions!

20:33Sonego ON FIRE !!! Cancel 2 match point and levels the set to Decider! Incredible effort, what a FIGHTER LORENZOOOO

20:21 – Eleventh game. The Serbian stretches in an IRREAL way to put back a short ball cross, it is 15-40 and two Break Balls. Sonego saves the first, but on the second Novak – called to the net by Lorenzo – runs forward and manages to find the coordination for a touch of a backhand cross ABSURD! The scream of the Djoker shakes the Central. BREAK DJOKOVIC! Next 6-5, he goes to serve for the match.

20:08 – DRAMA mod. ON in the ninth game! Sonego saves two break points in a 10 minute game. Intense, with great rallies, soft touches and some winners. Sonego rejects the assault of # 1, now Djokovic serves under 4-5.

19:53 – Sonego hols a very tough seventh game. Saves three break points, with great courage. Djokovic tried to break the set here, but the Italian served well and was lucid. Sonego risks a very well executed drop shot, which surprised the # 1 4-3 ahead Sonego, now Djokovic to serve.

19:38 – 25 minutes, Sonego ahead 3-2. Lorenzo is so good at winning ALL the points decided by touches closed to the net. Great “hand”, speed, so responsive.

19:27 – Sonego’s attitude is excellent. The Italian serves at his best and pushes immediately, he doesn’t want to sink into the rallies. Great risks, some mistakes, but it is the correct way to try to play against this “alien” called Novak. 2-1 Sonego in the 2nd.

19:14 – 6-3 Djokovic, n.1 takes the first! So strong Novak, he stays resolutely behind the baseline and not giving the Italian anything to hit. Solid as a Rock.

19:02 – The set now runs very fast on the serve, even Sonego wins a game to zero. The problem, BIG PROBLEM, of Italian is to bo strong in return …

18:53 – Djokovic starts to hammer… Very aggressive, leads the rally and moves Sonego, who is forced to chase. Collapses 15-40 the Italian, 2 break points. The Serbian misses the first, but on the second he returns very fast, moves Lorenzo on the left, and enters strong on the right. Sonego defense is OUT. BREAK DJOKOVIC, 3-1 and serve.

18:49 – In control “Nole”: serve in, pushes safely hos drives straight to move Lorenzo far from the baseline and then BOOM, another drive off into a corner. Powerful progression. 2-1 Djokovic, 11 minutes of the match.

18:41The 2nd semifinal starts! Djokovic to serve. The first point is a long rally, Lorenzo is called to the net, runs forward, touches cross but Novak arrives in a slide and takes the point. Djokovic holds, 1-0.


Iga Swiatek vs. Karolina Pliskova, the IBI21 women’s final

17:44 – Swiatek fires services and forehand at his best. Gauff returns out. 30-0 and 40-0, it’s THREE MATCH POINT SWIATEK! The American clears the first with a nice backhand cross, what an anticipation! But there are still two to be canceled … Double foul! 30-40, third MP. Rally… A perfect backhand is the last shots of the match. The Polish closes here, 7-6 6-3 the score of the match. 

17:40 – Gauff keeps fighting! At 15 she wins her service game, moves 3-5. Iga now serves to close the match for the second time.

Iga, Wow!

17:35 – GAME SET MATCH RRRRRAFA! NO problems, Nadal closes the second set 6-4 and secures the 12th final in Rome. Infinite Champ, no words. He wait for the winner of Sonego – Djokovic, on court at 18.30.

17:22 – Rafael Nadal is playing his 500th career clay-court match (457-42).

17:16 – BREAK Swiatek! The fourth game go to the advantages, the pressure of Iga forces Cori to miss some shots. 3-1 and serve for the Polish. Both matches run fast now.

17:10 – Rafa flies away in the second set. Opelka does not find the first service, Nadal returns and in the rally — NO match — . On the second break point, Reilly tries an acceleration down the line with his backhand, but the ball lands a little long. BREAK Rafa, 2-1 and serve. In a minute he is already 3-1 ahead.

16:57 – Decider on Grand Stand! Firestart by Iga, so aggressive in return. 4-1 and 6-1. Cori serves well now, stay in touch under 3-6. Long rally, a backhand cross by the American dies juuuuust wide. 7-3 Swiatek. A well-deserved set, the Pole was more continuous and produced more winners.

16:526-4 RRRRRRAFA! Closes with Ace. Well done Champ.

Roma 12 Maggio 2021 Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2021 Rafael Nadal Foto Giampiero Sposito

16:47 – Nadal took control of the match. Opelka fights hard, in the seventh game saves 3 break points, and stays in touch by winning a very complicated game, 3-4. Rafa “in style” goes 5-3.

16:34 – Counter break on the Grand Stand! Gauff breaks service game from the Polish, at the third chance in the match. 4 all the score. Beautiful match so far, Iga forcing and power vs. Cori’s defenses.

16:29 – The break arrives! Rafa manages to respond to Opelka’ services, fast 230 km/h. Opelka under pressure, forces OUT. 3-2 and serve for the champion. 12th final in sight for him?

16:27 – Rafa saves three break points in the fourth game, so smart at attacking immediately, and plays very aggressive in return. He fires a winning backhand down the line, and then forces two Opelka’s errors. BREAK Nadal in the fifth game, now leads 3-2.

16:15 – Swiatek takes the lead! The American concedes two break points on 1 all. Saves the first with an Ace. On the second … double fault! 2-1 and 3-1 Swiatek.

16:08 – First game also on Centre court, Opelka challenges “El Rey” Nadal. At 30, the American goes 1-0. Rafa to serve.

16:03 – Take off on the Grand Stand Arena, Gauff – Swiatek. The winner challenges Pliskova for the title. Gauff on serve, at 30 he goes 1-0. Good game also by Iga, 1 all.

15:40Boom Boom Boom! Karolina is the classic “front runner”, when she is in command and does not feel the pressure she becomes unstoppable. Leads 5-2 with the double break, runs 30-0 and 40-15, Two Match Points !!! Double foul, she wastes the first one. Great service to take the second and the MATCH! She flies to the final, the third in a row at the IBI. She waits the winner of Swiatek – Gauff, starting in minutes on the Grand Stand Arena. Great tournament for Martic, cheers!

15:33 – Break and Counter Break on the Centre court !!! Pliskova collapses again, at zero loses her service game to the Croatian. Immediate reaction, a long fifth game arrives, and the Czech takes the lead. 3-2 and service Pliskova, and then 4-2.

The semifinal between Cori Gauff and Iga Swiatek has been moved to the Grand Stand Arena, it will start after the end of Pliskova – Martic

14:58Martic closes 6-3 !!! Karolina almost disappears, she lost intensity and effectiveness. Martic with the forehand now leads the rally, moves the Czech and forces to mistakes. Pliskova loses the service game again at the second set point. We go third.

Roma 14 Maggio 2021 Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2021 Petra Martic Foto Giampiero Sposito

14:48 – Seventh game, sudden turn around. Pliskova turns slower and misses two shots. She gives Martic a break point at 30-40, and… Double Foul! Petra finds herself ahead 4-3 and serves. Starting another match ???

14:12 – 6-1 Pliskova. The Czech wins a hard-fought seventh game, closing it at the second set point. At the moment, “No Match”. Martic throws a racket to his bag at the change of court, but against such a focused and fast Karolina, she doesn’t seem to have weapons.

14:04 – ROCKET start for Pliskova! Excellent on serve, terrific her forehand, Karolina is also very fest on court (which does not often happen to her in the early game …). She leads with a double break, 4-1 and service. Martic clearly struggling to contain the speed of the Czech’s shots.

Karolina Pliskova

13:41 – SONEGOOOOO!!!! The ninth game is PURE DRAMA, Rublev is astonished, fires a terrible backhand… MATCH POINT SONEGO! The second one is GOOD! Rublev smashes his forehand WIDE!!! GAME MATCH MATCH S-O-N-E-G-O !!!!!!!! Incredible, Lorenzo dances with the fans, he is in the SEMIFINAL IN ROME !!! 6-3 to the third after 2 hours and 34 minutes of struggle. It is a fairy tale that has come true, the Italian demolished the Russian with a superb mix of courage and quality. Tonight will play Djokovic. Incredible! 29 winners and 26 errors for the Italian.

13:22 – On “Centrale” the score is 6-5 Djokovic, Tsitsipas to serve. And 0-30 … Stunning rally, Stefanos in control but… his forehand “takes off” .. 0-40 ++++ 3 MATCH POINT DJOKOVIC ++++++ On the second one, Stefanos’ backhand flies very wide. Game Set Match Djokovic! Too good at imposing his rhythms and hard defenses against the attacks of a stratospheric Tsitsipas. Novak beats his hand over his chest, what a victory! Incredible champion. 3h and 16 minutes spread over two days. The match of the tournament!

Roma 15 Maggio 2021 Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2021 Novak Djokovic Foto Giampiero Sposito

13:13Rublev in confusion !!! A forehand by Andrey dies badly into the net, he senses the pressure, even from the public that incites the Italian to sooooo many decibels. NO! The Russian smash out a comfortable smash, 0-40! The break arrives, 3-2 and serve Sonego, what intensity Lorenzo! He’s aggressive and fast, “in the Zone”!

13:08 – What a return Novak! The # 1 refuses the defeat, forces the set to 5 all. Incredible, incredible battle.

13:01 – The ninth game on the “Central” sees a CRAZY level. Beautiful rallies, fight on every ball. The point of the match arrives, incredible fight, TsiTsi wins it with a wonderful backhand. 5-4 and serve, Tsitsipas.

12:46 – 7-5 SWIATEK !!! So goof the Polish, secures a spot to the semifinals. Great tennis, power and quality. That formidable tennis “machine” of RG20 seems to be back

12:45 – 6-4 SONEGO! Total “caciara” on the Grand Stand, what an atmosphere! Sonego only 7 mistakes in the set, a huge level of the Italian. The Russian not so good with his serve, but Lorenzo absolutely deserved the set. We go third.

12:30 – 3-1 Tsitsipas. With serve and super aggressive forehand, he wins a VERY HARD game and consolidates his advantage. Incredible the speed of his feet and how he anticipates Novak’s spectacular returns, charging the ball with more speed, angle and absolute precision. Beautiful tennis on “Centrale”, pure passion.

12:25 – Great Sonego so far, he concedes anything and leads the second set, 3-2 and then 4-2 with a nice service game. 4 all Swiatek and Svitolina in the second set.

12:01 – BREAK SONEGO! What a heart the Piedmontes, he fights on every point, sprints, runs, rushes to net. No fear at all! He mixes any shot to break his rival’s pace and… he does! He gets a ball for the break and… it’s BREAK! Rublev throws along a forehand from the center, and smashes the racket to the ground! Now he is forced to chase. 1-0 Sonego.

11:59 – SET DJOKOVIC! The Serbian wins the second, 7-5 at the fourth set point. Djokovic leads the tempo of the match, leads the rallies with high rhythm and balls loaded with top spin. He turns more intense and continuous than the Greek, totally higher level compared to yesterday. Novak fires a terrific forehand, SET! 15 winners each, but 14 errors to 10 for the Greek. Novak has shifted the match on intensity, on the high pace and rhythm with good top spin. Exactly where he wanted to bring the match…

11:51 – SET RUBLEV. What power Andrey. The Russian hammers the Italian with the forehand, who fights to the maximum but fails to stem the pressure of the rival. A deserved set, the pressing of the Russian is truly remarkable. 84% of firsts in the field and 81% of points won with the first.

11:46 – Iga ahead 5-2, overwhelming with his powerful shots! She gets Set Point, Elina defends herself as hard as she could. The Set points become three,… that’s the good one! 6-2 Swiatek! Wow, what a power Iga, she stuns the Ukrainian with an impressive progression and great anticipation.

Iga Świątek

11:39 – DJOKOVIC BREAK, 4 ALL! Serbian levels the match, phenomenal forcing by the Champ. He took control of the tempo of the match, with rallies of quantity and precision. So good to move the game to his side. Another “match” has started…

11:35 – Overwhelming Rublev. He gets the ball of 4-1 and double break, but Andrey misses a forehand in an hard rally. WOW! Sonego calls Andrey on the net and passes with PERFECT forehand. In a game of almost seven minutes, and saving 4 break points (3 consecutive), Sonego goes 2-3. What a fight!

11:15 – Off to a hot start Swiatek!!! Iga breaks Svitolina in the second game, on the second break point. He consolidates the lead and leads 3-0. Tsitsipas and Djokovic started very strong, Novak has a higher intensity than yesterday… Come back in progress?

10:55 – GOOOOOOD Morning Rome!!! What a beautiful sun this morning after yesterday’s rain. Everything is ready for an incredible Saturday @ Foro Italico. Matches not finished yesterday start by the minute. On “Centrale” Stefanos Tsitsipas is ahead set and break on the n.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic. Lorenzo Sonego and Andrey Rublev on the Grand Stand Arena, like Iga Swiatek and Elina Svtolina, start their quarterfinal matches. Not before 12, the first women’s semifinal, Pliskova vs. Martic; to follow Nadal vs. Opelka. Later the second semifinals, the men’s one not before 18.30 on the Centrale. R U READY!!!! Let’s go!

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