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Krawietz/Tecau Advance Past Cilic/Melo In Rome

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

On a rainy Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Kevin Krawietz teamed up with Horia Tecau to take out Marin Cilic and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-2. Krawietz and Tecau have appeared in the Barcelona and Rotterdam finals together this year.

Seventh seeds Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Italian wild cards Marco Cecchinato and Stefano Travaglia 4-6, 6-1, 10-7. Koolhof is seeking his second title of the season after winning Munich with  Krawietz.

In the only other completed match, Lukasz Kubot and Franko Skugor beat Greek sibling duo Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(7), 6-3.

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Behind The Scenes With Djokovic During Rome Rain Delay

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

When there’s a rain delay like there was on Tuesday evening at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, nobody sees what the players do once off the court. So what happens as they wait out the weather indoors?

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic brought fans behind the scenes after he finished off Taylor Fritz in straight sets. The Serbian explained how he passed the nearly three hours of time between leaving Center Court and returning later in the evening.

“We played a social game. It wasn’t Uno, it was Parcheesi,” Djokovic said. “We do play that daily now. We try to kill some time with that.”

Last year, Djokovic spoke about how much his team enjoyed playing UNO, a card game. But now they are having fun with Parcheesi, which Rafael Nadal has long played with his team.

The Serbian acknowledged that there is a fair amount of uncertainty during rain delays, especially when it comes to figuring out when play will resume. That affects when the player has to warm up and eat, among other things.

“Every half an hour it’s a checkpoint, and they will let you know whether the match is postponed or they’re going to call it or they’re just going to call it a night, then you have to go to hotel,” Djokovic said. “Also with eating, whether you rest or you get some sleep or not. You really have to feel yourself and know what’s best for you. Sometimes if you fall asleep, wake up, maybe it takes time to get those engines moving.”

On Tuesday, the World No. 1 didn’t take a nap. Instead, he spent the delay with his team.

“I was awake. I was listening to some music, talked to my coach about his observation of my game, what needs to be done better. But we also had some fun,” Djokovic said. “I spoke to my kids. There’s always something to do. I was definitely not bored.”

Djokovic will next play Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Briton Cameron Norrie for a spot in the quarter-finals. The top seed is pursuing his sixth title at the Foro Italico this week.

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Preview: Nadal To Battle Sinner In Rome

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal will take the court Wednesday against Jannik Sinner at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The 34-year-old has faced the #NextGenATP star just once before, beating him at Roland Garros last year in straight sets.

“I try my best every single day, doesn’t matter the opponent,” Nadal said. “Tomorrow I need to play well, of course. I know he’s playing well. I know he’s going to be excited about the match. So am I.”

Nadal and Sinner were also practice partners during the lead-up to the Australian Open. Sinner recently cracked the Top 20 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 in Miami and upsetting Andrey Rublev on his way to the Barcelona semi-finals.

“I think the past couple of weeks have been quite good,” Sinner said. “I have to say starting from Miami, then coming back on clay, I played actually the first week quite well in Monte-Carlo. So [that] gave me a little bit of confidence for Barcelona and I played some good matches there.”

Third seed Daniil Medvedev will face off against countryman Aslan Karatsev after rain cancelled their match on Tuesday. It will be their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

Karatsev is 20-6 this season while Medvedev has yet to find his footing on clay. After testing positive for COVID-19 in Monte-Carlo, he lost in the third round of Madrid. Karatsev is 7-3 on clay after a final run in Belgrade saw him take out World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Dominic Thiem will open his Rome campaign against Marton Fucsovics. Thiem won their only meeting two years ago in Hamburg and enters the week on the heels of a semi-final appearance in Madrid. Fucsovics, a finalist in Rotterdam in March, is seeking his first clay-court win of the season.

Elsewhere, Madrid champion Alexander Zverev will take on qualifier Hugo Dellien and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic. Madrid finalist and home favorite Matteo Berrettini plays his second-round against John Millman and seventh seed Rublev will battle Jan-Lennard Struff. 



CENTER COURT start 10:00 am
[4] D. Thiem (AUT) vs M. Fucsovics (HUN)
WTA – S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) vs [7] A. Sabalenka (BLR)
Not Before 2.00PM
WTA – [8] S. Williams (USA) vs N. Podoroska (ARG)
[9] M. Berrettini (ITA) vs J. Millman (AUS)
Not Before 6:00 pm
J. Sinner (ITA) vs [2] R. Nadal (ESP)

GRAND STAND ARENA start 10:00 am
[10] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs C. Garin (CHI)
[WC] G. Mager (ITA) vs L. Sonego (ITA)
A. Karatsev (RUS) vs [3] D. Medvedev (RUS)
WTA – [4] S. Kenin (USA) vs B. Krejcikova (CZE)

PIETRANGELI start 10:00 am
WTA – [1] A. Barty (AUS) vs [DA SR] Y. Shvedova (KAZ)
WTA – J. Pegula (USA) vs [2] N. Osaka (JPN)
[6] A. Zverev (GER) vs [Q] H. Dellien (BOL)
M. Cilic (CRO) vs [5] S. Tsitsipas (GRE)
[13] D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs [WC] S. Travaglia (ITA)

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
WTA – [9] K. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
WTA – [Q] V. Zvonareva (RUS) vs [11] P. Kvitova (CZE)
[Q] F. Delbonis (ARG) vs [12] D. Goffin (BEL)
[WC] L. Sonego (ITA) / A. Vavassori (ITA) vs A. Mannarino (FRA) / B. Paire (FRA)

COURT 4 start 10:00 am
[Q] C. Norrie (GBR) vs [Q] A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)
J. Struff (GER) vs [7] A. Rublev (RUS)
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [WC] F. Fognini (ITA) / L. Musetti (ITA)
A. de Minaur (AUS) / J. Struff (GER) vs [3] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK)
M. Purcell (AUS) / L. Saville (AUS) vs [Alt] L. Broady (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR)
S. Gille (BEL) / J. Vliegen (BEL) vs [5] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
WTA – D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Klepac (SLO) vs [6] H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE)
WTA – [ND] A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs [8] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Muhammad (USA)
[Alt] M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Middelkoop (NED) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)
A. Bublik (KAZ) / C. Garin (CHI) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)
[4] M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs A. Molteni (ARG) / D. Schwartzman (ARG)
M. Gonzalez (ARG) / F. Martin (FRA) vs R. Klaasen (RSA) / B. McLachlan (JPN)

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Djokovic Moves Past Fritz In Rainy Rome

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

On a rainy Tuesday, Novak Djokovic managed to close out a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. All other remaining matches have been cancelled including Daniil Medvedev’s showdown with Aslan Karatsev.

Djokovic and Fritz’s most recent encounter was a five-set battle in the third round of the Australian Open, but this time Djokovic came out sharp. The Serbian broke in Fritz’s first service game, and made 70 per cent of his first serves in the opening set to comfortably close it out.

“It was a very strange match with strange conditions. Obviously playing under the rain non-stop for almost two full sets, it is challenging for both me and him,” Djokovic said. “I thought that I had an advantage there because the conditions were slower which allows me to return his serves, because he’s got really big serves.”

The second set began in nearly identical fashion with Djokovic breaking in the first game to establish early dominance. The World No. 1 had to step his level up to save a two break points at 4-3, but then Fritz went for broke on Djokovic’s next service game at 5-4 and was rewarded for it by evening out the match. After already playing most of the match in rainy conditions, play was stopped at 5-5 at 4:40 p.m. 

“I kind of kept the match under my control for most part of the two sets, then served for the match; very sloppy service game,” Djokovic said. “He played well, made a great passing shot to come back. I was stressed out in the end obviously, but I think it was the right call to stop the match.”

When they returned to the court three hours later, both players held serve comfortably and Djokovic closed out the win on his first match point in the tie-break. Djokovic is 4-2 since winning his 17th major at the Australian Open after a third-round exit in Monte-Carlo and a semi-final appearance in Belgrade.

“I haven’t played a lot at all, so I don’t feel physically exhausted or worn out,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic improves to 4-0 in his ATP Head2Head Series against Fritz as he looks to defend his crown in Rome where he is 56-9 with five titles. He’ll next face either Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

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Tsitsipas On Leading Race: 'I’m Fighting For It Every Week'

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas has plenty to be excited about this week at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where he made the semi-finals two years ago. Despite a third-round loss last week in Madrid, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion still leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.

“That’s great news that I’m still there. I’m fighting for it every single week,” Tsitsipas said. “I didn’t have a very good week last week in Madrid, but so far it’s looking good. I’ve been very consistent, which obviously helps being in that situation. I’m looking forward to performing the same way, doing better and perform even better in the future.”

The Greek star is also looking forward to playing on grass and hard courts later in the season and maintaining his form throughout. The 22-year-old is keen to adapt well to every surface.

“I want to be a complete player,” Tsitsipas said. “That’s important for my psychological state, knowing that I can play on every surface.”

After winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and reaching the final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he held championship point against Rafael Nadal before falling short, Tsitsipas lost in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. Norwegian Casper Ruud, who eventually made the semi-finals, stopped him there.

“I think you can take the good and the bad things from every situation, whether that would be [losing in] the first round or winning a tournament. You can always come into the next week with something better. For me personally, obviously my opponent played better and it wasn’t meant [to be] for me to be that day. I took that opportunity to come here earlier, prepare, acclimatise to the new conditions.”

The conditions in Rome are closer to those in Monte-Carlo than they are to Madrid, where altitude makes it quicker. Tsitsipas is simply focussing on the task at hand and what he’s dealing with at the Foro Italico, where he will begin his run against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.

“Tennis is different and that’s what I’m expecting this week,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s a new tournament, you never know who you’ll have to face, how ready you have to be. Every tournament has something unique and different to offer. Again, just staying humble, working my way up and seeing if things are going to work again.”

Did You Know?
Tsitsipas played doubles this week with his brother, Petros Tsitsipas. They lost on Tuesday against Lukasz Kubot and Franko Skugor.

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Felix Flies Past Schwartzman In Rome

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his third Top 10 win on Tuesday, powering past World No. 10 Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

The first time these two met, last year in Cologne, Schwartzman clawed past the #NextGenATP star after two hours and 32 minutes in conditions seemingly more suitable for the Canadian. But at the Foro Italico, in heavy conditions, it was Auger-Aliassime who played better, claiming five of his six break points to triumph after 64 minutes.

“It was tricky conditions overall. A lot of rain, heavy conditions. I think maybe it suited me better. I think he was struggling to find openings on the court,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I took advantage of that. I kept going for my shot with no hesitation, stuck to my game plan. I was able to do that well outside of the little bit of slump in the second.”

Last September, Schwartzman enjoyed one of the best tournaments of his career in Rome, defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals and Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final. But on Tuesday, he hit just one winner to 25 unforced errors and was never able to dig into the match against the 20-year-old.

Auger-Aliassime protected his serve well in the rainy conditions, winning 67 per cent of his second-serve points. And the seven-time ATP Tour finalist put pressure on the Argentine’s serve, pouncing early in rallies and stopping Schwartzman from finding a rhythm. The eighth seed only won 40 per cent of his service points.


This is Auger-Aliassime’s first Top 10 victory since eliminating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Queen’s Club in 2019, and he is now 3-15 against the elite group. The World No. 21 will next play 12th seed David Goffin or Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.

“Of course, Diego is a tough opponent always. Again, sometimes matches against those ranked 20, 30, 40, are tougher,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Most of the time players in the Top 10 are tough. For me it’s just two men trying to win. That’s really what it is.”

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Berrettini Survives Rome Test

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

World No. 9 Matteo Berrettini lived to fight another day on Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, less than 48 hours after competing in a night final a the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Italian, who lost to Alexander Zverev in his first ATP Masters 1000 final in the Spanish capital on Sunday, recorded his ninth win in his past 10 matches by beating Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and two minutes.

“When you have big weapons and they aren’t working, you feel a little bit weaker,” said Berrettini. “He was returning really well. He played a really good match and struggled in the first set. I then found a way to fight through. I found the right energy and motivation, to be calm, and not get tight. Playing so many matches in the past few weeks helped me a lot. You always want to be clutch in the important moments.”

Berrettini, who is now 17-4 on the season, is currently eighth place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November and will hoping for a strong showing at the Foro Italico in Rome. Last year, he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Ruud).

Two weeks ago, Berrettini picked up his fourth ATP Tour title at the Serbia Open in Belgrade (d. Karatsev), prior to his Madrid final run. He will now prepare to play Australia’s John Millman, who defeated Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4 in 86 minutes.

Basilashvili, winner of Qatar ExxonMobil Open and BMW Open crowns this year, got the decisive breakthrough en route to clinching the 37-minute first set with a forehand winner. But Berrettini responded with two breaks and 10 winners in the second set. The 25-year-old went on to save three break points at 3-3 in the decider, and secured his fourth win over Basilashvili, when the World No. 30 mis-hit a forehand wide.

Italian Lorenzo Sonego came through another tough battle, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 against No. 14 seed Gael Monfils of France, in two hours and 48 minutes.

Sonego, who is now 12-8 on the year, which includes singles and doubles titles at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, struck 29 winners, and now challenges compatriot and wild card Gianluca Mager

Monfils, who was competing for the first time since 8 February, when he picked up a calf injury at the Australian Open, reached the 2006 Rome semi-finals (l. to Nadal).


Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 10 seed, posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over American qualifier Tommy Paul in one hour and 31 minutes. It was repeat of their scoreline at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters last month. He now faces Chile’s Cristian Garin.

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Thiem: 'In Near Future, More Players Outside Of Big 3 Will Win A Slam'

  • Posted: May 11, 2021

Dominic Thiem believes that it’s only going to be a matter of time before more players outside of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic start to win major titles.

“The Grand Slams are still dominated by the Big 3,” said Thiem, the 2020 US Open titlist, ahead of the start of his Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign. “It’s way tougher to beat them, to win three sets against them, it’s way more difficult of course than to win two [sets]. That’s one of the big reasons. But we have a lot of finals already in Grand Slam tournaments. I think in the near future it’s also going to happen that somebody else is going to win them.

“I also think a lot of people underestimate the time and the era we are playing in, with by far the three best players in the history of the game. I think it’s more than clear that it’s incredibly tough to win Grand Slam tournaments, having to beat two of them most of the time.”

Federer and Nadal have each won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, while World No. 1 Djokovic has captured 18 major crowns, including the Australian Open in February.  Djokovic has lifted a record 36 ATP Masters 1000 trophies, closely followed by Nadal (35) and Federer (28).


The World No. 4, who returned to the ATP Tour last week and reached the Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals (l. to eventual Zverev), is happy with his form ahead of his first match in Rome against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

“It’s always a great experience playing in Madrid,” said Thiem. “I love that tournament. Health-wise everything is fine. Before Madrid, I had like two-and-a-half, three weeks really tough practice, so I got used to it again. [I] also got blisters on [my] hand. That’s why I [had] taping… Beside that, everything is fine. The knee, which was causing me trouble in the preparation [to the tournament], is pain-free. Everything is good. Also, I recovered quite well after the four matches.

“I always had some kind of little troubles here after coming from Madrid. Luckily, I was always playing well in Madrid, so [I] didn’t have so much time to prepare. It’s from altitude to sea level. I think it’s a different type of clay, as well. Way slower, obviously. So completely different conditions. I hope that I can do better than the last two times I played here. I lost my first match both times.”

The 27-year-old has competed on five previous occasions at the Foro Italico in Rome (8-5 match record), with his best result coming in 2017 with a run to the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).

“The pressure is always the same,” said Thiem. “When I step on court, I want to win the match. There are going to be lots of close calls, close situations. I’m always going to be nervous. That’s how it’s going to be until the end of my career. But still the break was really good.”

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