On a rain-marred Friday, three of the four semi-final spots were decided at the Rome Open. Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic set up the semi-final in the bottom half of the draw while Coco Gauff awaits the winner of the quarter-final clash between 15th seed Iga Swiatek and fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the semi-final.
The ninth-seeded Pliskova reached the penultimate round after claiming a thrilling win against Jelena Ostapenko. The Czech faced three match points on her serve in the 10th game of the deciding set before romping to a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(1) victory.
Post-match, talking with the media, Pliskova said, “Just proud, I think mostly, how I fought. I'm just happy that I stayed in there and fought till the end”. Meanwhile, Martic defeated Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-4 in 100 minutes.
This is Martic’s first semi-final of the 2021 season. “The key was to overtake, to not let her play and take control of the points of the rally and just make me run. So, I tried to do that before her. I tried to use my serve.
Obviously, she didn't like my kick so much, so I knew I had to really be sharp on those first shots after return of serve and not let her overtake. I think I did that pretty well for the most part,” Martic observed, in the press conference after her win.
Rome Open: Coco Gauff's milestone
In the top half of the draw, Gauff advanced to the semi-final after her opponent, top-seed Ashleigh Barty retired mid-match with an injury to her right arm. At the time of her retirement, Barty was leading 6-4, 2-1.
In her press conference, Barty shared that the injury wasn’t new but something she has been dealing with all through her career. The Australian had been wearing a compression sleeve to try and manage the pain during the match.
“It became worse while we were playing. So, I think that's the challenging thing is to make the decision to stop. It's never nice. It's the thing that I hate the most is not being able to finish a tennis match.
But the pain was becoming too severe, so it was important that I listen to my body and of course, try and do the right thing, knowing that we have a Grand Slam in two weeks' time,” the world no. 1 said. Coco Gauff’s Rome Open’s semi-final opponent – either Swiatek or Svitolina – will need to play two matches on Saturday.
Swiatek and Svitolina will play their quarter-final – which was cancelled on Friday due to rain – at 11 AM local time.