Italian Open 2019: Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win file 34th Masters crown, Karolina Pliskova defeats Johanna Konta


Rome: Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win a ninth Italian Open title and a file 34th Masters crown on Sunday.

World primary Djokovic, winner on the Madrid Open final week, produced an error-strewn efficiency in his 54th assembly with second-ranked Nadal, who claimed the 81st title of his profession.

Nadal overtakes Djokovic on the prime of the record for Masters wins — the pair had been stage at 33 every earlier than Sunday’s ultimate — in a well timed enhance forward of his assault on a 12th French Open crown in per week’s time.

After three semi-final defeats in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal has returned to his finest type forward of Roland Garros and lifted his first title of the season.

The Spaniard dominated early with Djokovic shedding a set 6-Zero for the primary time to a participant he describes as his “greatest rival”. But Nadal missed 4 break probabilities within the second set, dropping his first set this week after shedding serve at 4-5, to throw the Serb a lifeline.

The fightback was transient because the 31-year-old Djokovic dropped his serve instantly within the third set, smashing his racket in frustration.

Nadal broke his opponent twice extra to seal a 3rd win over Djokovic of their 5 Rome finals, though the latter nonetheless holds a 28-26 profession edge.

Nadal, seeded second, was enjoying his fourth straight semi-final, however had not managed to go additional on clay this season. The 32-year-old had been surprised by Stefanos Tsitsipas, seeded eighth and 12 years his junior, within the semi-finals on the Madrid Open final weekend.

In the ladies’s singles ultimate, Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova swept previous Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-Four to win the WTA Italian Open.

Pliskova, the 2017 French Open semi-finalist, clinched her 13th profession title, within the ultimate main warm-up match on clay earlier than Roland Garros begins on 26 May.

A break in every set was sufficient for the previous world primary to get previous Konta, sealing victory on her third match level after 85 minutes on courtroom.

“It was a great week for me and my team. There were a couple of tough matches so I was happy to fight through them. I was a little bit nervous today, but it was my first final in Rome, so that’s to be expected,” stated the 27-year-old, now coached by former Rome champion Conchita Martinez.

She had by no means gone previous the semi-finals in her 4 earlier appearances in Rome. Last 12 months she exited in shame after smashing a gap within the umpire’s chair in a mood tantrum after shedding within the second spherical.

Pliskova, the best remaining seed, bought an early break within the ultimate and swept 3-Zero up in simply eight minutes on the pink clay of the Foro Italico.

A double fault when serving for the set handed Konta a break level however the British primary squandered the possibility with a smash into the web with the complete courtroom open to her.

Konta then hit a weak forehand shot into the tape and the ball bounced large, permitting Pliskova to wrap up the primary set in 36 minutes.

Pliskova broke within the seventh sport of the second set, regardless of Konta saving two break factors, with the Czech world quantity seven powering by for the largest title of her profession since Cincinnati in 2016. She turns into the primary Czech girl to win the Rome match since Regina Marsikova in 1978.

For Konta, who has received three WTA titles, it was her second straight defeat in a ultimate on clay after the Morocco Open earlier this month.

“It’s always tough playing Karolina. There’s rarely really a rhythm to the match. She plays with big shots, quite flat, and big serves. It can feel sometimes you’re fighting an uphill battle. That was the case today. She didn’t really have a letdown throughout the match. She played very consistently. I found it quite hard to get a footing into the match, which is credit to her,” stated former world quantity 4 Konta, who has slipped to 42nd.

The 28-year-old Konta, the primary British girl within the Rome ultimate since Virginia Wade in 1971, will now be seeded on the French Open later this month.

“I’m definitely pleased with this week. This is my second final in three weeks. That’s still quite an achievement. I’m looking forward to Paris,” stated Konta.

Top seeds Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova pulled out injured throughout the Rome occasion, whereas Roland Garros champion Simona Halep crashed out in her opening match in Italy.

Four-time Rome winner Serena Williams additionally withdrew earlier than the second spherical as her return after a two-month layoff was minimize quick when her knee damage flared up.

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