Djokovic survives scare, Nadal coasts into Rome semi-finals

Tanya Simon
May 20, 2019

Rafael Nadal avenged his Madrid Open defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas as Czech Republic's Karolína Plíšková set up a meeting with Britain's Johanna Konta in the women's final at the Italian Open.

The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam victor was playing in Rome to prepare for his return to the French Open for the first time since 2015. After splitting sets in his second-round match against Ruud, the Australian faced a break point and he proceeded to frame a forehand wide to hand the break straight back to the 21-year old. "The good thing is during the last month my feeling is every week was better than the previous one".

The 32-year-old Nadal, seeded second, advanced to his fourth straight semi-final but has not managed to go further on clay this season, ahead of his bid for a 12th French Open title at Roland Garros, starting on May 26.

"He keeps on showing to the world why he's one of the biggest legends of tennis history", Djokovic said of Nadal. "So it's true, I practiced with both generations", Roger Federer said.

Federer wrote: "I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today".

Nadal will now face the victor of other semi-final clash between world number one Novak Djokovic and Argentina star Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.

Osaka now heads into the French Open where she'll be the top seed at a Slam for the first time in her career. But I am going to have another very tough opponent in Tsitsipas. "I've seen the physio", she said.

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"It would have been great to have the chance to play against him here in the semi-finals. But I am doing the right steps to be there". "Recovery of the knee again. was not easy to come back and to prepare myself the right way". "So I was like, maybe I slept on it and maybe it will go away, but it didn't". It was one of the first sets that I am happier with.

Konta, celebrating her 28th birthday, hit 42 winners against the 19-year-old Vondrousova and dominated the final set to clinch victory in one hour 53 minutes.

Naomi Osaka and Roger Federer have pulled out of their quarterfinal singles matches at the Italian Open after succumbing to injury.

Japan's Naomi Osaka shows her hands as she meets the journalists at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Friday, May, 17, 2019.

Karolina Pliskova beat Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari in the other semifinal, 6-4, 6-4.

The Argentinian world number nine was first to strike in the opening set, breaking Djokovic's serve in the seventh game and surviving two break points on his own serve in the 10th before holding to take it 6-4 after just over an hour.

"It's a final of a tournament, so you're not going to have an easy match whoever you play".

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