Archive for the 'Rome Masters' Category


Is a healthy Rafa unbeatable on clay?

Rafael Nadal shrugged off two lengthy rain delays to beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and claim a fifth Rome Masters title in six years.

After winning the Monte Carlo Masters two weeks ago, Nadal improved his record on clay this year to 10-0 with a 7-5 6-2 victory.

The win also enabled Nadal to match Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters Series titles.

The match was finely balanced at 4-4 in the first set when rain first forced the players off court.

When play resumed an hour later Ferrer, who had saved five break points in the fifth game, held his nerve to move into a 5-4 lead.

However, Nadal broke at his next opportunity and then saved his first break point of the match to serve out for the opening set.

The second rain break came early in the second set, but by then Nadal had broken serve for a 2-1 lead.

Another break when play eventually resumed an hour and 45 minutes later helped Nadal ease to victory and further demonstrate the Spaniard is getting back to his dominant best on clay.

Give Ferrer – who had beaten three players ranked higher than him, including Andy Murray in the third round to reach the final – his due. The score may read 7-5, 6-2 but each and every point was won through gritted teeth and ferocious intensity.

If anything – and this ought to frighten the socks off everyone else preparing for the French Open later this month – Nadal is getting even better. It is an alarming thought.

Nadal lost serve once in the tournament, he dropped one set, to the hugely impressive Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the semi-finals, he devoured acres of the new court at the Foro Italico, he sustained a number of rallies with improbable defensive tennis, his forehand raked across the dirt, his intensity never dropped. He could not stop grinning throughout another ceremony that concluded with him taking a bite out of a trophy. And it is not often you see Nadal racing around a court, spraying ball boys and girls with champagne after a final – the champion’s joy was unconfined.


Rafa survives a scare to reach the Rome final.

Rafael Nadal today survived a gruelling battle with Ernests Gulbis to remain on course for a fifth Rome Masters title.

Nadal needed two hours and 47 minutes to get the better of Latvia’s Gulbis in the Italian capital, eventually sealing a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory.

Gulbis, who beat world number one and French Open champion Roger Federer earlier this week, fired down 14 aces to none from Nadal, but could only convert one of his seven break points.

That was enough to help him level the match after Nadal had taken a hard-fought opener, but Gulbis was firmly on the back foot in the decider.

Nadal eventually took one of his six break points to edge ahead and held his nerve to complete a tough win.


Ferrer reaches the Rome Masters final as Verdasco runs out of gas!

David Ferrer is through to the final of the Rome Masters after a straight sets victory over compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

The world number 17 sealed his 7-5 6-3 victory in an hour and a half to reach his first Masters final.

The 13th seed was 5-1 down in the first set but rallied to win it as Verdasco faded.

 Ferrer was able to take advantage of a sluggish Verdasco who had fought his way to a marathon 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 quarter-final victory over world number two Novak Djokovic a day earlier.

However, the world number nine, who has reached the final of his last two tournaments – losing to Nadal in Monte Carlo two weeks ago and beating Robin Soderling to win the Barcelona Open last weekend – seized the initiative in the first set.

But he then lost his composure and a number of unforced errors entered his game as he lost six straight games to give Ferrer the set and control of the match.

The second set was more straightforward for the superior Ferrer who has not dropped a set this week and leads the tour with 23 wins on clay this season.


Verdasco battles past Djokovic.

Fernando Verdasco ended Novak Djokovic’s hopes of winning the Rome Masters after an epic three-hour victory took the Spaniard into the last four.

Verdasco eventually beat the world number two from Serbia 7-6 3-6 6-4 in three hours 18 minutes to seal a semifinal berth and record his 12th win in 13 matches.

 Verdasco lost in the final to Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo two weeks ago before winning the Barcelona Open last week.

Verdasco twice went up a break in a hard-fought opener but both times Djokovic pegged him back, once when he was serving for the set. The tie-break went 7-4 in the world number nine’s favor.

Djokovic hit back in the second set, giving Verdasco the runaround and breaking three times on his way to a 6-3 success.

But in the decider Verdasco broke Djokovic’s serve in the third game and held on through some long and dramatic rallies to claim it 6-4.


Murray’s return to from ends after just one match!

Andy Murray was defeated 6-3 6-4 by 13th seed David Ferrer in the third round of the Rome Masters.

The world number five avoided a fourth straight ATP Tour defeat with a 6-2 6-4 win over Andreas Seppi on Thursday.

But Murray, 22, struggled to make an impression on the important points against Ferrer, dropping a service game in each set. From the outset Murray’s body language gave an indication that he was indifferent about being on court. His shoulders slumped as he cursed the clay, his feet, the umpire and Ferrer.

Second seed Novak Djokovic is also through to the quarter-finals after a 6-4 6-4 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.

Djokovic will play Fernando Verdasco next after the Spaniard eliminated compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4 7-6 (7-2) to take his record on clay this year to 13 wins and two defeats.


A routine Murray win makes front page news in the UK!

Andy Murray rediscovered his form with a straight-sets victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi at the ATP Rome Masters.

Murray was making his fifth appearance at the event, but only previously progressed when Juan Martin Del Potro withdrew with a back injury in 2008 and lost in the first round in 2006, 2007 and last year to Juan Monaco.

But the Scot appeared to have recovered from a recent wobble – he had lost three matches in a row on the tour – and had no such trouble this time around, seeing off the challenge of Seppi 6-2 6-4 in one hour 20 minutes.

The 22-year-old is seeded four in Rome with Del Potro absent with a wrist injury and will next meet David Ferrer or Potito Starace.

Murray is seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer lining up in the opposite half of the draw – the latter already having been ousted by Ernests Gulbis.

After his lapses in Miami and Monte Carlo, Murray seemed rejuvenated.

He said: “Everyone’s panicking saying ‘what’s your problem?’

“I played a couple of bad tournaments – it happens sometimes.

“Roger’s had a couple of bad weeks, it happens to everybody.

“I went away, worked hard and got my mind right – I think mentally I was a bit tired after the start of the year.”

“I started the match well. He played a really poor game first game and I felt a lot more comfortable straight away.

“I served really well when I needed to, especially at the end of the match.

“There were a few things I could’ve done better, but for a first round it was good.”


Rafa looking for his 5th. Rome Masters title.

Rafael Nadal has claimed this BNL D’Italia Masters four times in the past five years and when he was defeated in the second round by Juan Carlos Ferrero, his fellow Spaniard, two years ago, the blisters on his feet were more devastating than any of Ferrero’s shots.

Nadal subsequently won the French Open without dropping a set and may well do something as devastating next month. But, in a European spring clay-court season crammed into eight weeks, tougher decisions need to be taken. Nadal is 24 in June, still a young man but the demands he places on his body do not diminish, and neither does his fervour to win.

“It was a very hard decision to not play in my home club [Barcelona], but the clay season is so tight. It is difficult to play three weeks in a row. Last year wasn’t the best experience.”

He will receive a stern test tomorrow against Philipp Kohlschreiber, the German who thrashed Andy Murray in Monte Carlo. “Against Nadal you can look as if you are just a beginner and someone said to me if I get two games a set, that is as good as a victory,” Kohlschreiber said. “I will just try my best.”


Ferrero the first casualty in Rome!

Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo unleashed an arsenal of winners to upset former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-0, 6-3 in the opening round at the Rome Masters.

The 76th-ranked Giraldo hit 32 winners to Ferrero’s nine on Monday, and required only 17 minutes to win the opening set.

Ferrero won this tournament in 2001 and entered with an 18-3 record on clay this season. But Giraldo came in on a run of his own, having beaten tour veterans Nicolas Lapentti and Jarkko Nieminen in qualifying.

Ernests Gulbis of Latvia cruised past Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-2, 6-2 and will face top-ranked Roger Federer.

In other matches, Italian wild card Paolo Lorenzi rallied to beat Albert Montanes 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany eliminated Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-7 (1), 6-1, 6-4.


‘Whatever anyone writes, doesn’t bother me,’ says Murray.

Andy Murray will need a clear head and an even clearer game plan when he plays Andreas Seppi, of Italy, in front of a raucous Foro Italico crowd in his opening match of the Rome Masters tomorrow.

If Murray remains mystified as to why he has played so disjointedly and with such lack of relish in his past two tournaments, he knows only one person can put it right. The defeats by Mardy Fish in Miami and Philipp Kohlschreiber in Monte Carlo gave the amateur psychiatrists a field day and penetrated the 22-year-old’s skin.

“As soon as I had one bad tournament in Miami, it was like everyone was asking, ‘Are you OK? What’s going wrong?’ Then you start thinking, ‘What is it? Is it my tennis? Is it something going on off the court? Is it family-related?’ I don’t think there’s a problem. It’s based on a couple of matches when mentally I didn’t turn up and I think I’m allowed to do that, given as many matches as I’ve played.

“Last year I played a lot of bad matches and came through them by fighting and thinking right. I’ve seen better players struggle worse than I am at the moment. It depends on what you let it do to you. For me, it’s made me want to practise harder and go to the gym more, which has been good for my mind and my tennis. Whatever anyone else says or writes doesn’t bother me.”

Courtesy  The Times.


Federer given a doubles widcard in Rome!

Roger Federer has entered the doubles tournament at the Rome Masters with Swiss Davis Cup teammate Yves Allegro.

Federer is playing his first tournament on clay since winning his first French Open title last year.

Federer and Allegro were given a wild card, and will open against Johan Brunstrom of Sweden and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles.

Federer and Allegro hold a 3-2 record in Davis Cup doubles.

With Rafael Nadal down to No.3 in the world after his injuries and lean spell, there was always going to be a 50% chance that he would be drawn in the same half as Roger Federer for this year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia, and this is exactly what has happened.

Defending champion Nadal, who finally got back to winning ways at Monte Carlo last week after a barren spell without a title to his name since Rome last year, is scheduled to face world No.1 Federer in the semi-finals (providing of course that all matches go according to seeding). Last year’s finalist and 2008 champion Novak Djokovic is No.2 seed this year and finds himself in what looks on paper like the slightly easier half of the draw, though with plenty of players having withdrawn through injury, others (Djokovic included) struggling for form and the European clay season barely more than a week old, anything could happen here at the Foro Italico over the coming eight days.

The top eight of the 16 seeds have a bye in the first round but there are already a number of big matches in store for the second round. Nadal will face the winner of Pablo Cuevas and dangerous German Philipp Kohlschreiber, ranked No.28 in the world and a tough nut for anyone to crack so early in the tournament. Federer meanwhile will have to take on whoever emerges victorious from the Marcos Baghdatis – Ernests Gulbis match which is one of the main ties of the first round.

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