Djokovic, Halep and Pliskova book berths in Italian Open quarter-finals - GulfToday

Djokovic, Halep and Pliskova book berths in Italian Open quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic returns to Filip Krajnovic (unseen) during their Italian Open match in Rome on Friday. Associated Press

World number one Novak Djokovic won a battle with fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic to advance to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Friday.

The 33-year-old came through 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 and next plays either Italian Lorenzo Musetti or Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, who both came through the qualifying rounds.

The top seed is warming up on clay at the Foro Italico in Rome for the French Open in 10 days time, a tournament the 17-time Grand Slam winner claimed in 2016.

Djokovic  unbeaten this season before being disqualified from the US Open — double faulted on the first of his three set points in the first-set tiebreak but a quick break in the second put him through in a tournament he has won four times.

Djokovic, a four-time Rome champion, will next play one of two qualifiers, either 18-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti or Dominik Koepfer.

15th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov ended the run of Italian teenager Jannik Sinner by 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Sinner, who beat third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the previous round, missed an easy overhead smash into the net on Dimitrov’s fifth match point.

Dimitrov’s quarter-final opponent will be Denis Shapovalov, who rallied past Ugo Humbert 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4. Shapovalov, who reached the US Open quarterfinals in singles and doubles, is aiming to do even better in both draws this week.

Matteo Berrettini, the big-serving Roman who reached last year’s US Open semifinals, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1). He’ll next meet Casper Ruud, who defeated Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (6).

French tennis player Gael Monfils revealed on Friday that he had received a barrage of racist abuse through social media after his second-round exit in the Italian Open.

In an Instagram post starting with the warning “watch your eyes” the world number nine shared a few of the abusive messages which made reference to his colour and called him a “loser”.

Often Monfils, 35, responds to frequent abuse directed at him and his family with emojis of black hands.

“Unfortunately I gave it everything, but was very bad,” he wrote above one insulting post after Thursday’s match. Not a good evening, but I hope to come back stronger.”

After receiving a first-round bye he was eliminated 6-2, 6-4 by German qualifier Dominik Koepfer, ranked 97th in the world.

“It was really not great,” said Monfils of his last warm-up before the French Open, where he reached the semi-finals in 2008.

“It frustrates me enormously to have played so badly.”

Meanwhile, Simona Halep and defending women’s champion Karolina Pliskova both eased into the quarter-finals on Friday.

Top seed Halep rallied from 3-0 down in the first set to see off Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in a 7-5, 6-4 victory that took one hour and 28 minutes.

“Big picture, I think it was a great match and gives me confidence that even in these conditions with a big hitter that I could win in two sets,” said Halep.

The two-time Rome finalist next meets Yulia Putintseva, who battled back from 6-4, 5-2 down to see off fellow Kazakh Elena Rybakina, the 10th seed, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.

Halep is warming up on clay for the French Open after skipping the US tour because of coronavirus fears. Her last win was in Prague a month ago.

Pliskova dominated 65th-ranked Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-3 in their third round match.

The second-seed Czech, who defended her Brisbane title in January, got off to a stumbling start with two double faults in the opening game allowing Blinkova to break. But the 22-year-old Russian was unable to build on her advantage against the former world number one, who next meets 11th seed Elise Mertens after she got past Danta Kovinic 6-4, 6-4.

Garbine Muguruza advanced to her sixth quarter-final this year with a straight-sets win over Johanna Konta. Both players hit 15 winners each but Briton Konta paid for 22 unforced errors to the Spaniard’s 13.

Muguruza prevailed 6-4, 6-1 against seventh-seeded Konta to reach the last eight in Rome for the third time. The former French Open winner will next face US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka who advanced after Russian Daria Kasatkina retired injured in their first set tiebreak.


Related articles