Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2015 Contents A51
Saturday, May 16, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns the ball to Tomas Berdych, of Czech
Republic, during a quarter final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in
Rome, yesterday. Federer kept alive his pursuit of an elusive clay-court title with
a routine 6-3, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych to reach the Italian Open
semifinals. AP PHOTO
ROME---With the French Open rap-
idly approaching, Rafael Nadal is sud-
denly not so dominant on clay any-
The Spaniard was beaten 7-6 (7), 6-
2 by eighth-seeded Stan Wawrinka in
the Italian Open quarterfinals yesterday,
his fifth loss on clay this season.
Nadal wasted four set points in the
tiebreaker, surrendering a 6-2 lead.
The last time Nadal was beaten so
many times on his favorite surface was
12 years ago---in his rookie season.
Nadal has won the French Open nine
of the past ten years. But he's struggling
to get back to his best after a wrist injury
and an appendectomy last season.
On Monday, Nadal dropped out of
the top five in the ATP rankings for the
first time in ten years---falling to No 7.
Nadal had won all 12 of his meetings
with Wawrinka until the Swiss player
beat him in last year's Australian Open
final for his first Grand Slam title. Now,
Wawrinka has won two straight in the
series. Wawrinka dictated with powerful
groundstrokes from both sides and often
came forward to end points at the net.
Wawrinka raised his arms in triumph
to celebrate and sent a message to his
semifinal opponent---fellow Swiss player
Roger Federer. Handed a pen to sign a
camera lens, Wawrinka scribbled, "See
you tomorrow RF"
Federer kept up his pursuit of an elu-
sive title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over sixth-
seeded Tomas Berdych.
Along with Monte Carlo, Rome is one
of only two Masters series titles that
the 17-time Grand Slam champion has
never won. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic,
meanwhile, was pushed to three sets
for the third consecutive match in a 6-
3, 3-6, 6-1 win over fifth-seeded Kei
Djokovic's semifinal opponent will be
seventh-seeded David Ferrer, who beat
David Goffin of Belgium 6-2, 4-6, 6-
3. In the women's tournament, two-
time Rome champion Maria Sharapova
defeated former No 1 Victoria Azarenka
6-3, 6-2. Sharapova will face 21-year-
old Daria Gavrilova of Russia, who beat
Christina McHale of the United States
6-2, 6-4 in a matchup of two qualifiers.
Also, second-seeded Simona Halep
routed qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 6-
1, 6-0 in an all-Romanian matchup.
Halep will next face 10th-seeded Carla
Suarez Navarro of Spain, who eliminated
last week's Madrid Open champion Petra
Kvitova 6-3, 6-2.
Djokovic, the defending champion
also went the distance by Nicolas Alma-
gro and Thomaz Bellucci in his opening
two matches. Still, he extended his win-
ning streak to 20 matches.
"(There were) ups and downs for my
side in all three matches," Djokovic said.
"But in the end (it's about) just finding
a way. This is what it takes to win, just
finding the proper way and managing
to perform your best when it matters."
Under overcast skies with some rain
drops falling briefly, Federer fell behind
a break midway through the first set
but recovered it immediately and cruised
"From the baseline I was playing very
well." Federer said. "My serve was not
quite there from the beginning. I was
hitting too many second serves and he
was able to take advantage of that and
break early. So it was important to pick
it up on the serve, which is maybe the
easiest thing to do."
"I felt good again on the return and
(was) moving well, so as the match went
on I got better and better," he added.
"The wind picked up in the second set---
that's when I think Tomas didn't play
so well anymore and I was able to get
the job done."
After winning a title on clay in Istanbul
two weeks ago, Federer lost his opening
match to rising Australian Nick Kyrgios
at last week's Madrid Open. But he has
played solidly here, also beating Kevin
Anderson of South Africa in straight
sets in his opening match.
Making his 15th appearance at the
Foro Italico, Federer is a three-time final-
ist. He was beaten by Felix Mantilla in
2003, by Nadal in a fifth-set tiebreaker
in 2006, and by Nadal again in 2013.
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