ATP Rome: Novak Djokovic lost, Rune and Ruud win, the quarters Highlights

Novak Djokovic's title defense at the Internazionali BNL d'Italian in Rome ends in the quarterfinals

by Lorenzo Ciotti
ATP Rome: Novak Djokovic lost, Rune and Ruud win, the quarters Highlights

Novak Djokovic's title defense at the Internazionali BNL d'Italian in Rome ends in the quarterfinals. The tennis player from Belgrade, still number one in the world for a few days, is defeated by Holger Rune in three sets: 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in favor of the Dane, who in his first appearance in Rome still amazes, as in the Paris-Bercy final.

The first set is an indicator of a Djokovic who is not in the best physical condition. In the previous rounds he managed to dominate the opponents and some physical ailments, but this time it seems that it is a factor that affects him.

We see a Djokovic exhausted, at times without particular energy, who not by chance calls his physio in the set. Rune, who instead arrived in Rome with excellent premises, takes advantage of it in two servings. The first break comes at 15 in the first innings, the second break comes in the fifth, this time at 30.

Casper Ruud will challenge Holger Rune to try and earn a place in the final at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The Norwegian reached for the third time out of four editions played - in 2021 he did not play the Italian tournament, the semifinals at the Masters 1000 in Rome by beating Francisco Cerundolo, Jannik's executioner 7-6(5), 6-4 Sinner in the round of 16.

For the first time, however, Ruud won't have to deal with Novak Djokovic in the penultimate act of the Roman event. In fact, the Serbian prevented him from winning the final on two occasions. The first two quarters highlights:

The women's results

The semifinal of the top-half of the women's main draw will instead see Elena Rybakina and Jelena Ostapenko engaged.

She certainly didn't expect to beat WTA number one Iga Swiatek for the third time in a row in this way, but Rybakina nevertheless became the first Kazakh to gain access to the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The Pole dominated the match in the first set, as demonstrated by the 6-2, and she probably relaxed too much on the 4-2 imposed on the Kazakh in the first minutes of the second set. Swiatek first wasted the ball to make it 5-2 and then gave up the serve by making two bad mistakes with her forehand.

Before the tie-break, the world number one threw away another five great chances. Rybakina was rewarded by her aggressiveness and reached the third set. Swaitek suffered a problem with her right leg during the tie-break and was forced to request medical time out.

The 21-year-old from Warsaw tried to continue the match, but in order not to put her body at risk she withdrew after just four games in the deciding set. Ostapenko conquered the semifinals in Rome on her third attempt: in fact, in two editions she had stopped in the quarterfinals.

This is the first semifinal reached on clay since the surprising victory obtained at the Roland Garros in 2017. The 25-year-old from Riga overcame Paula Badosa in three sets with the final score of 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. In the first part, the Latvian took off by winning five of the last six games with merit and leaving only two games to the Spanish.

Ostapenko's false start in the second set instead gave confidence to Badosa, who managed to get her head back up even after having thwarted her advantage. Ostapenko had a bad serve game at 4-5, which ended with a serious backhand error.

The Latvian started pushing again with determination in the decisive fraction, but she was immediately taken back by Badosa who set the score at 2-2. The final stretch, the one that took place at 4-2, proved fatal for Badosa. Ostapenko didn't waver anymore and wrote the final word by signing another break.

Novak Djokovic Internazionali Bnl