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Italian Open: Kyle Edmund loses to Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro injured, Rafael Nadal wins

  • Posted: May 17, 2018

British number one Kyle Edmund saved seven match points before eventually losing to rising German star Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open last 16.

Edmund, who moved into the world’s top 20 this week, lost 7-5 7-6 (13-11) to the 21-year-old third seed.

World number six Juan Martin Del Potro has suffered an injury scare, retiring from his match with David Goffin.

World number two Rafael Nadal cruised past Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-1, while Marin Cilic also won.

The Croat fourth seed won 6-3 6-4 against France’s Benoit Paire and will play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the last eight.

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Edmund continues to push the big names

Edmund, 23, has claimed eye-catching scalps in 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov this year, helping the Yorkshireman rise into the top 20 for the first time in his career.

But he could not earn a notable victory against defending champion Zverev in Rome – despite pushing him hard throughout a gripping contest.

Edmund, now 19th in the world, became the first opponent to break Zverev in 65 service games to level at 5-5 in the first set, only to lose his own serve in the next game as Zverev went on to clinch the opener.

Zverev was searching for an 11th straight victory following back-to-back tournament wins in Munich and Madrid, finally sealing victory at the eighth attempt in a thrilling tie-break.

Zverev – who has won all three of his meetings with Edmund – will meet Goffin in the quarter-finals.

Injury concern for Del Potro

Belgium’s world number 10 Goffin was leading 6-2 4-5 when Del Potro, who had just missed a set point, retired with a groin injury.

Argentine Del Potro, 29, has been hampered by wrist problems in recent years.

But he has battled back to fitness and form over the past two years, winning his first ATP Masters title by beating Roger Federer at Indian Wells in March.

Shapovalov, considered one of the game’s rising stars, beat the 31-year-old Nadal in Montreal last year – but could not replicate the result on the Spaniard’s favoured clay surface.

Nadal will meet Italian home favourite Fabio Fognini, who beat Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-4, in the last eight.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1 7-5 to set up a quarter final against Japan’s Kei Nishikori who beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-2.

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Italian Open: Johanna Konta loses to Jelena Ostapenko in Rome

  • Posted: May 17, 2018

British number one Johanna Konta was knocked out of the Italian Open on her 27th birthday by French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Latvian fifth seed Ostapenko, 20, recovered from losing the first set to win the last-16 match 2-6 6-3 6-4 in Rome.

Defeat was world number 22 Konta’s fifth in a succession against a top-10 player.

Ostapenko will play Maria Sharapova or Daria Gavrilova in the quarter-finals.

Konta raced away with the opening set, breaking Ostapenko’s serve twice to lead 4-1 after only 17 minutes, then serving out.

She had blown a first-set lead in her three previous matches against top-10 players, and the same pattern followed against the world number six.

Ostapenko soon rediscovered the form which helped her claim a shock victory as an unseeded teenager at Roland Garros last year, landing some ferocious winners as Konta rarely failed to attack her serve in the second set.

Ostapenko broke Konta’s serve early in a more evenly contested final set and, after Konta wasted a break point at 3-4 with a wild return, clinched victory in two hours 13 minutes with her first match point.

Romanian world number one Simona Halep was given a walkover into the quarter-finals as American Madison Keys withdrew because of a rib injury.

Reigning champion Elina Svitolina, from Ukraine, beat Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-3 6-2.

She will play two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber in the last eight after the German won 6-1 6-1 against Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

France’s Caroline Garcia set up a quarter-final with Halep was by beating American Sloane Stephens 6-1 7-6 while Maria Sharapova of Russia also made it through to the last eight with a win over Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-4.

The Italian Open is one of the final clay-court tournaments before the French Open starts on 27 May in Paris.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Konta is, to some extent, still in recovery mode – but her prospects look brighter, even though she is still looking for a first win over a top-10 player since last year’s Wimbledon.

In the first set, Konta was accurate, aggressive and played with great clarity. There could perhaps have been an opening for her early in the second set, but Ostapenko held on and began to hit her stride.

Konta fought hard in the decider, having dropped the opening game on serve, but her one fleeting chance to break back was missed and she will head to the French Open after a long weekend at home.

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