Masters of Rome: Rafael Nadal takes revenge on Alexander Zverev to stay on track for his 10th title | Tennis News




Rafael Nadal takes a gentle revenge on Alexander Zverev to reach the semi-finals of the Rome Masters where he will face the great Reilly Opelka; Karolina Pliskova sets up meeting with world No.25 Petra Martic after both players complete their quarter-final matches

Last updated: 05/14/21 16:49 pm

Rafael Nadal won his first game in four games against Alexander Zverev to reach the semi-finals at Foro Italico

Rafael Nadal pulled off his 75th Masters 1000 semi-final by taking revenge on Alexander Zverev to stay on track for his 10th title in Rome.

The Spaniard needed nearly three and a half hours to defeat Denis Shapovalov in the third round on Thursday, saving two match points, and backed him up brilliantly with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Zverev.

The German had won his last three meetings with Nadal, including in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open last week, but saw his opportunities constantly stifled.

Nadal suffered a heavy fall in his match against Zverev

Nadal suffered a heavy fall in his match against Zverev

In a reversal of his fortunes against Shapovalov, Nadal took a 4-0 lead before Zverev got a foothold in the game and tightened things up.

There was an ominous moment for Nadal when he caught his foot on the service line as he slid towards the ball and fell heavily, but he recovered quickly to serve the set.

The second set was one of the best in the tournament, with the pair engaging in mind-blowing rallies, but a single break of service ultimately proved the difference as Nadal saved all eight breakpoints he faced.

The Spaniard will face giant Reilly Opelka for a place in the final

The Spaniard will face giant Reilly Opelka for a place in the final

“Today I played a lot better than yesterday,” said the second seed. “I did a lot of things well, playing a lot stronger. I think I played one of the strongest matches on clay this year against a very tough opponent. It’s a great win for me. .

“Under the pressure, in difficult times where I sometimes lost important points in recent weeks, today, yesterday, the day before yesterday, I managed to manage the pressure well, to put one more ball .

“I think my movements have improved. Today was a good day. I’m super happy because after yesterday’s battle to be able to be on the pitch against a player like Sascha – he also had a game difficile., but he’s more than 10 years younger than me.

“I remember the feeling on the body well when you’re younger than today and the feeling is completely different. And I was able to be in good shape, to be ready, and that’s something that gives me trust.”

Opelka - 6 feet 11 inches tall - will play Nadal for the first time

Opelka – 6 feet 11 inches tall – will play Nadal for the first time

Nadal then faces a surprise opponent in American Reilly Opelka, who is in his first Masters semi-final after a 7-5 7-6 (7-2) victory over Federico Delbonis.

Opelka said: “I’m really happy. We worked hard. I made a few adjustments to my game. It’s nice to see them come into play. Rafa is brutal. But it will be a good test. never played Rafa. “

In the female draw, Czech Karolina Pliskova came from a set to defeat former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

The ninth seed will take Petra martic for a place in Sunday’s final after the Croatian defeated American Jessica Pegula 7-5 6-4.

Martic, who worked with 2010 Roland Garros winner Francesca Schiavone, believes the Italian has restored confidence in her game.

She said: “Obviously my game really started to come together, like the pieces really came together. Now it looks like a full picture at last, and I don’t need to think so much on the pitch anymore.

“We really just worked on the basics because once I’m confident about the baseline then the net is going to work, my serve is going to come, things are going to be okay. to find my base game, and that was my strength.

“I really feel like I have more and more confidence in myself with every second I spend on the pitch.”

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