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Barty lets Coco through, Pliskova to meet Martic

On a wet and dreary Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, World No 1 Ash Barty retired from her quarter-final match against Coco Gauff, waving on the American teenager into the semis after leading by a set, while Karolina Pliskova survived 3 match...

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Up to the quarter-final stage of the Rome Masters, Rafa Nadal could be said to have had a fairly torrid time and when he faced Alexander Zverev for a place in the last four, many expected the German, last week’s Madrid Masters winner, to maintain his winning form over...

Pliskova to meet Ostapenko in Rome quarters

Karolina Pliskova is the sole seed in the lower half of the draw and takes on Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while Petra Martic and Jessica Pegula will contest the last quarter on Friday.

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World No 1 Ash Barty remains on track to add the Rome title to her expanding collection but must overcome Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, who upset Aryna Sabalenka, the Madrid champion, at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday, while Elina Svitolina took out...

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Osaka leads march of seeds out of Rome

On a day of major upsets at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, the underdogs prevailed, seeing off seeds Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, and Maria Sakkari in a procession of upsets at the Foro Italico in Rome.

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Rafa Nadal, playing his first match at the Foro Italico following his quarter-final loss to Alexander Zverev at last week’s Madrid Masters, declared himself happy with his performance in overcoming Jannik Sinner in straight sets, but not so with the scheduling by the...

Konta follows Bencic and Mertens out of Rome

Seeds started to tumble at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, with Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens followed out of the draw by Jo Konta, while Garbiñe Muguruza and Angelique Kerber were among those to win through on Tuesday.

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The Internazionali BNL d’Italia got under way at the Foro Italico in Rome on Monday, with some of the seeds in action and coming through unscathed, although Petra Kvitova had to come from a set down against Magda Linette to advance, while Jennifer Brady won in...
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Thiem crashes out at first hurdle

Lloyd Harris recorded the best win of his career when he took out the top seed and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem in round two of the Dubai Duty Free Championships.

[I had] troubles returning his serve, and also way too many easy mistakes from my side, from the baseline. I said a couple of days ago that if I am not playing at my best level, it is not enough against all of the players in the draw Dominic Thiem

The 25-year-old South African qualifier, ranked 81, defeated the Austrian 6-3 6-4 in 72-minutes to earn the first top-ten win of his career, is starting to make a reputation for himself having beaten Stan Wawrinka in Doha last week.

His next opponent is Filip Krajinovic, the 14th seed from Serbia who dispatched Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-4.

The world No.4 meanwhile, is having to take stock of the situation.

“I just need to reset myself a little bit to really go fresh into the clay season. “Obviously right now I’m in a tough period and just it wouldn’t be the right thing to go to Miami,” Thiem, who also fell as the top seed in the quarter-finals of Doha, said.

“Just make a little reset, regroup and hopefully have a good clay season. After these tough weeks, that’s my main goal now.

“Right now I’m not in the greatest shape in any way.

“[I had] troubles returning his serve, and also way too many easy mistakes from my side, from the baseline. I said a couple of days ago that if I am not playing at my best level, it is not enough against all of the players in the draw.”


Lloyd Harris delighted at defeating the top seed in Dubai

Francois Nel/Getty Images

In contrast Harris was delighted with his victory.

“I’m super, super happy with that win. [He is] by far the highest-ranked player I have beaten,” the Springbok said in his on-court interview.

“I look up to Domi a lot so, for me, it is a special feeling. I am really happy. Just the fact that I am playing good tennis, match in, match out now is giving me a lot of confidence.”

On the actual match which he dominated with his serve, Harris added: “I was serving really well. I don’t think I faced any break points.

“I took control of those games and [in] one or two games on his serve, I gave myself a good look. I played some of the important points very well. I am very proud of that.”


Andrey Rublev joins Alexander Zverev in criticisng the ATP ranking sytem

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev, the Russian second seed, cruised past the Finnish qualifier, Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-4 to extend his winning streak at 500-level events to 21 matches.

He has won his last four events at this level dating back to Hamburg last September and following his victory over the Finn, joined Alexander Zverev in criticising the current ATP ranking system.

Zverev, the German world No.7, recently described the revised system as “absurd” because he is ranked lower than Roger Federer even though the Swiss missed an entire year due to knee surgery, while he has been active.

“If we would have the normal system, I would be like No.4 in the world I think. So what do you think is better for me, to be No.8 or No.4?” Rublev replied when asked to comment on Zverev’s comments.

“With the system that we’re having now, for me, it’s much tougher to be No.4, so here is the answer.”

Rublev’s next opponent is the American 15th seed Taylor Fritz who avenged his Doha quarter-final defeat to Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili – who went on to win the title – 4-6 6-3 7-6(4).


Denis Shapovalov is considering reducing the number of tournaments he plays this year

Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

Canadian world No. 12 Denis Shapovalov voiced his own displeasure at current protocols and announced he plans to compete in fewer tournaments this season if the tennis tour continues to operate under strict coronavirus bubble conditions for players.

Shapovalov, who enjoyed a winning debut in Dubai thanks to a 6-1 6-3 second-round success over German big-server Jan-Lennard Struff, says being confined to a hotel room at every tournament due to pandemic restrictions can take a mental toll on players.

“I definitely don’t want to play too much this year if it’s going to be a bubble life because it is extremely difficult mentally to be locked up like this,” the 21-year-old said.

“Of course it’s amazing to play, but as the weeks go on, you kind of lose that passion for tennis and a lot of players are struggling with that. So we’re trying to take the approach of minimising that as much as possible and just enjoying every match that I do go out and play this year.”

In other second round action, Kei Nishikori defeated the 5th seeded David Goffin 6-3 7-6(3) and faces Aljaz Bedene next, the Slovenian having beaten Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino, a late replacement for Croatian Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3.

Karen Khachanov also advanced to the third round by outclassing Singapore champion from Australia Alexei Popyrin 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) in two hours and 16 minutes.

The Russian will meet Frenchman Jeremy Chardy for a place in the quarter-finals.

Italy’s rising star Jannik Sinner came back from one set down to beat Kazhak Alexander Bublik 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 after 2 hours and goes on to face Spain’s fourth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, the Doha finalist.



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