Tennis: No Christmas, the road to Rome is open

The defeat of reigning champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday in Rome paved the way for new favorite Novak Djokovic, who will play his quarter-finals on Friday evening, but has the appetite of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud, the top three classified. for the last four.

The defeat of reigning champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday in Rome paved the way for new favorite Novak Djokovic, who will play his quarter-finals on Friday evening, but has the appetite of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud, the top three classified. for the last four.

Among the ladies, the current world champion and number 1 Iga Swiatek shows no sign of weakness with a 26th consecutive victory synonymous with the semifinals, a stage where the Tunisian Ons Jabeur is invited, passing near the start of the track. before repairing the situation against the Greek Maria Sakkari.

Without the phenomenon of Carlos Alcaraz, absent to prepare Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5), and without Christmas, the emperor with ten coronations in Rome limping from the stage, Novak can consider a sixth title on earth batuda romana. And a first trophy in 2022, after the false start that represented his incredible expulsion from Australia for lack of vaccination.

“Nole” will try to reach the quarterfinals in the evening against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (9th), 21 years old. A win would ensure he maintains his No. 1 spot coveted by Daniil Medvedev on Monday.

But there is no shortage of candidates to succeed Nadal, starting with the other former winner in Rome still in the running: Zverev, crowned in 2017, winner of the Chilean Cristian Garin (45th in the world) 7-5, 6-2.

Rafael Nadal leaves the track eliminated by Denis Shapovalov at the Masters 1000 in Rome, May 12, 2022

Andreas SOLARO – AFP

The 25-year-old German had a thought for Christmas: “I’m sorry for Rafa. I hope he’s fine, he has ten days to play in Paris.”

– Third half Zverev-Tsitsipas in less than a month –

Stefanos Tsitsipas facing young Italian Jannik Sinner in Rome, May 13, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas facing young Italian Jannik Sinner in Rome, May 13, 2022

Andreas SOLARO – AFP

In the semifinals, world number 3 will face Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th), who beat Jannik Sinner (13th) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, on a sunlit center court and a public acquired in Italian.

The 23-year-old Greek has suffered from the blue’s millimeter drops, but has been solid in the service to pocket the tie-break and then unfold in the face of a diminished Sinner.

This will be the third semi-final in a month between Zverev and Tsitsipas after Monte Carlo (victory of the Greek before winning the tournament) and Madrid (success of the German, beaten in the final by Carlos Alcaraz).

“He’s a player who challenges me a lot. It’s hard to win,” Tsitsipas said.

Alexander Zverev too strong for Chilean Christian Garin at the Foro Italico, May 13, 2022

Alexander Zverev too strong for Chilean Christian Garin at the Foro Italico, May 13, 2022

Andreas SOLARO – AFP

Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Nadal, fell to Casper Ruud in sets followed by 7-6 (9/7), 7-5. The latter will meet Djokovic or Auger-Aliassime.

– 26 consecutive for Swiatek –

Among women, the world number 1 and reigning champion Iga Swiatek is running for a fifth consecutive final, after dominating by 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 the Canadian Bianca Andreescu (90th).

Swiatek will face Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, No. 3 seed, in the semi-finals to repeat the final in Stuttgart in late April, where the 20-year-old Polish won her fourth consecutive tournament after Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

Poland's Iga Swiatek defeated Canadian Bianca Andreescu in Rome on March 13, 2022

Poland’s Iga Swiatek defeated Canadian Bianca Andreescu in Rome on March 13, 2022

Tiziana FABI – AFP

The former Roland-Garros winner (2020) did not lose a single set in Rome, continuing with a 26th consecutive victory.

Since 2000, only Venus Williams (35, the record), Serena Williams and Justine Henin have done better: “I’m very happy with that because consistency is what I wanted to work on last year.”

Jabeur, who started in Madrid in the absence of Swiatek, has relied on his confidence at the moment to repair a very bad situation in front of the Greek Maria Sakkari (4th) 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.

He had a foot out, in the second set, behind 1-6, 2-5, service to follow for the Greek. But he was able to find his “grit” to pocket the next eight games and knock out Sakkari.

“I didn’t want to end like this after these two or three weeks … Confirming Madrid’s performance is very important for me,” said the Tunisian, who on Monday proclaimed her desire to win this year’s Grand Slam.

AFP / Rome (AFP) / © 2022 AFP

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