Nadal stunned by Schwartzman

Diego Schwartzman pulled off the biggest upsets of the Rome Masters when he toppled the nine-time champion Rafa Nadal in the quarterfinals, a feat he achieved in straight sets!

Plíšková passes Mertens test as Vondrousova swats Svitolina

No 2 seed Karolina Plíšková took another step toward her Rome title defence on Saturday after correcting a mid-match wobble to defeat No 11 seed Elise Mertens in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-finals; while 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova upset two-time winner...

Muguruza stops Azarenka to meet Halep in Rome semis

Garbiñe Muguruza stopped Victoria Azarenka’s outstanding run of 14 wins in the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, coming from a set and a break down to reach her third semi-final in Rome where she will meet Simona Halep, who advanced into the last 4...

Muguruza downs Konta to face Azarenka

On a day of attrition and compassion in Rome, Friday’s play at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia saw Johanna Konta fall to Garbiñe Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka comfort an injured Daria Kasatkina after a nasty tumble, and top seeds Simona Halep and Karolina Plíšková...

Nadal not obsessed with records

The two tournament favourites draw closer to settling this year’s Rome Masters 1000 title as they successfully reached the last eight on opposing sides of the draw with the second seeded Rafa Nadal seemingly having the easier passage so far.

Musetti continues his Roman run

At four-all in the second set the lights went out during the Italian Open which could have disrupted the concentration of Italy’s emerging starlet, the 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti, who was on his way to eliminating another top player from the Rome Masters listings.

ATP and WTA Kremlin Cup tournaments cancelled

The ATP and WTA jointly announced on Friday that the 2020 Kremlin Cup tournaments in Moscow have been cancelled by a mandate from health officials in the Russian capital, where there has been a surge in coronavirus infections.

Osaka withdraws from Paris, fans reduced

Japan’s Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury, while the FFT is reducing the number of fans that will be allowed to attend Roland Garros due to the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.

On the day of the Bagel 

Bagels are pretty rare in pro tennis but in Rome on Thursday, Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka scored three between them - Konta taking one against clay-court specialist Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-0 6-4, while just five days after losing the US Open final, Azarenka...

Battling mental health issues to return to the court

In a short film released this week, the LTA follows 38-year-old tennis player Steven McCann from North London, as he shares his inspirational story of battling addiction to reignite his love and passion for the sport. The feature brings to life Steven’s journey to...
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Miki | GB level after Day 1 of Fed Cup play

Team GB are tied at 1-1 against hosts Japan after the opening day’s play at the Play-Off for a place in 2019 World Group II Fed Cup being played at the Bourbon Beans Dome in Miki (north of Kobe) in Japan.  The winning nation will be promoted to the World Group II in 2019.

Today she was just way too good.  She has improved a lot since I last played her. You can tell she’s confident at the moment as she hit a great shot every time when she was behind in a game Heather Watson

In the opening rubber Heather Watson, Britain’s No.2, fell to Naomi Osaka, the youngster who, a few weeks ago, won the Indian Wells title, 6-2 6-3. Watson, who hasn’t had the best of seasons this year, was outgunned by the Japanese No.1 who was in control from the third game when she staved off three break points with massive serves, to go on and break her opponent twice to take the first set.

It was a similar story in the second as Osaka broke again in the fourth game after Watson had a point for 2-all.  The Japanese hit two aces in a row to capture the eighth game and despite facing two break points when serving for the match (both erased with backhand winners), Osaka put Japan ahead after 77-minutes of play.

“I felt in the second set I had more rhythm and got a better read on the ball but Naomi was flawless. I was hoping for a few errors from her.  Every time I had a small chance she would hit an ace or a winner.” Osaka in fact hit 11 aces during the match.

“Today she was just way too good.  She has improved a lot since I last played her. You can tell she’s confident at the moment as she hit a great shot every time when she was behind in a game.

“My strategy was to get as many returns in play as possible. She hit a lot of aces today and there was nothing to do.  On this fast court it was hard to make her move more as the points were so quick.  The crowd was very fair and it was a great atmosphere to play in,” the vanquished Briton said.

Jo Konta levels the tie

Johanna Konta however, brought the visitors back into the tie, as she proved too strong for Japan’s No.2 Kurumi Nara as she wept to a 6-4 6-2 victory after 85-mminutes.

A break of serve in the first game of each set proved the deciding factor and despite Nara breaking back once from 0-3 to 2-3 in the second set, Konta was not to be denied.  Each time she was threatened, Britain’s No.1 stepped up with some resilient play, such as saving three break points in her very first service game, serving three aces or hanging tough in the 10th game of the first set, finally coming through on her fourth set point.

Konta admitted, “I knew going in it was going to be tough. Kurumi used the inspiration from the crowd very well and overall, she played at a very high level. I’m pleased to have come through that one and put us as 1-1 at the end of the day.

“Tomorrow’s match (when she faces her counterpart Osako in the reverse singles) will be a big challenge. My goal will be to compete hard and ask a lot of questions of Naomi. I’ve played her twice, know what to expect but tomorrow will be new match so I will focus on my performance and what I can control.”

Captain Anne Keothavong commented at the end of day one’s play, “Tomorrow will definitely be a case of who can produce the best on the day.  Osaka played some very strong tennis against Heather, who had a handful of chances. As Jo said, Nara brought a very high level to the court but Jo was just too strong on the big points and executed her game plan.  This is a competition that means a lot to us and we want to do really well. We have lost at this stage three times since 2012 so we will be very eager tomorrow.”




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