This content was published 3 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem survived their challenging debuts in the fourth day of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2021, while Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas managed to make their matches look easier. The biggest upset of the day came by the hands of Aslan Karatsev, who defeated compatriot and world number two Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.
It was far from an easy start to his Roman campaign for Dominic Thiem, who struggled to find a good feeling with the courts and the heavier conditions compared to the ones of Madrid, as he admitted also during the press conference. Down of a set and a break with Marton Fucsovics, the Austrian started to find more precision with his groundstrokes and forced the set to a tiebreak. The two went on serve for the whole duration of it, until on 6-5 Fucsovisc missed a forehand to hand the only minibreak and the set with it. From then on, Thiem was unstoppable and easily wrapped the decider with a peremptory 6-0.
Quite a similar situation for Andrey Rublev, who needed three sets to tame Jan Lennard Struff 6-7(7) 6-1 6-4. The Russian was capable to react to a mentally tough passage after failing to convert two set points in the tiebreak and to book a slot in the last 16 against Roberto Bautista Agut, who battled for two hours against Christian Garin before closing 7-6(3) 6-3.
There was no problem of adaptation to the surface for Madrid champion, Alexander Zverev. The German gave a double 6-2 to Christian Garin in just 1.20 hours. His opponent in last week’s final, Matteo Berrettini, also confirmed his great moment and easily handled John Millman 6-4 6-2. A quick match was also needed by Federico Delbonis against David Goffin and Davidovich Fokina against Cameron Norrie.
In one of the two most anticipated matches of the day, Aslan Karatsev won the all-Russian encounter against Daniil Medvedev. 2021 revelation put on a great display of his all-round skills to dominate the world number two, whose relationship with clay is anything but a love story. In front of the eyes of friend Rublev, Medvedev lost his patience a handful times while finding no way to trouble his opponent. Karatsev kept his cool and went on to close the match 6-2 6-4.
A double 6-4 closed the Italian derby in favour of Lorenzo Sonego against his friend Gianluca Mager, while Stefanos Tsitsipas needed a little while to start reading Marin Cilic’s serve, but after breaking him for the first set, it all went downhill. 7-5 6-2 the final score for the Greek. Similarly, Denis Shapovalov was forced to the tiebreak in the first set by Stefano Travaglia, but then led from the start of the second set to seize a 7-6(2) 6-3 victory.
In the evening session on the Campo Centrale, Rafael Nadal was tested thoroughly by Italian rising-star Jannik Sinner. In a humid night, the two exchanged breaks in the opening games, but it was clear from the get-go that whoever wanted to come out as the winner would have needed his best tennis. Sinner showed great improvements, especially on the backhand side, managing to withstand the pressure imposed by the Spanish lefty forehand. The 19-year-old saved three set points on 5-4, but little could do not long afterwards and eventually surrendered the partial 7-5.
He did not let any negative thoughts come closer and immediately started the second set by putting pressure on the 9-times Rome champion to go up 4-2. However, the reaction of Nadal came immediately and this time it left Sinner unable to contain it. Nadal closed the match 7-5 6-4, but had great words to praise his young opponent.