Djokovic Saves 2 MPs v Del Potro; Nadal Gets Rematch With Tsitsipas In Rome SF
by Staff | May 17th, 2019, 9:21 pm
  • 43 Comments

Juan Martin del Potro had Novak Djokovic dead to rights late Friday night in Rome, but the big Argentine just couldn’t finish the job.

After coming from a 2-5 hole, del Potro forced a second set breaker and held a 6-4 lead with a match point on his racquet. But a mishit off a short forehand nullified one and then with Djokovic serving, a delicately placed dropped shot saved the other. Djokovic won the last four points on the breaker then staved off an early charge in the third to get a tough 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in just over three hours.

“I never lost faith I could come back to the match. One break of serve, mini break in the tie-break when he was 6-4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back,” Djokovic said. “[He] missed a couple crucial points in the tiebreak. Also break point third set, quite easy forehand. That’s what happens. That’s sport. I’m just really pleased to overcome.”

Despite a long day yesterday, del Potro looked fit and was hitting the ball well. But just came up short on those match points.

Djokovic, who won two matches on Thursday, will now meet another Argentine, the surprising Diego Schwartzman in the semifinals. The diminutive Schwartzman collected his first Top 6 win (erasing an 0-15 mark) and scored a first victory over Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2 to reach his first Masters semifinal.

“It’s great for me, being in my first Masters 1000 quarterfinal,” said Schwartzman. “I’m very happy about today, beating Nishikori. He’s a great player in these kind of conditions, in Rome, on clay. I’m really happy and I will now focus on tomorrow.”

Nishikori was 3-0 against Schwartzman until today. But after two tough matches yesterday, the Japanese was at his best.

“He was playing good,” said Nishikori. “That’s for sure. Credit to him, that he was able to maintain his level first set and second set. Maybe he dropped his level from 5-0. If I could get the 5-4 game, maybe things could change. But he was playing aggressive, hitting good backhands and forehands, too. He came in very well. He was playing a little bit little more aggressive.”

While Roger Federer withdrew due to a right leg problem, Rafael Nadal took the court and just like Thursday’s demolitions, this one also didn’t take long. Nadal was down a break early but then crushed countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-0.

The 6-0 set was Nadal’s third in his last three matches, a record streak for him in his career.

“He was playing great, being honest. I was not playing bad at the beginning at all. But he was playing unbelievable. No mistakes, a lot of winners, taking the ball early. Was a very difficult first set,” Nadal said. “I think I had a good feelings during the whole match. Then after winning that first set, in the second… of course he slows down a little bit, but I was able to play a little bit more aggressive with the forehand. I did a lot of things well this afternoon.”

Into his 71st career Masters semifinal, Nadal will now seek his first clay final of the year against the man who beat him last week in Madrid, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“What happened, I know. The solution, I know. The execution is not easy,” Nadal said of the Greek. “The theory is always easy, but the execution is much more difficult. Tennis is a simple sport. After a lot of years here, I know what happened last week, and I going to try to do it better tomorrow.”

Djokovic leads Schwartzman 2-0. Nadal is up on Tsitsipas 3-1.

After two nice days of weather, rain is forecasted to return this weekend.

SATURDAY ROME SCHEDULE
Centrale 12:00 Noon
SF 6 Kiki Bertens v Johanna Konta
Not Before 2:30 Pm
SF 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas v Rafael Nadal
Not Before 5:00 Pm
SF 4 Karolina Pliskova v (Q) Maria Sakkari
Not Before 8:00 Pm
SF 1 Novak Djokovic v Diego Schwartzman
SF 1 Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo v 3 Juan Sebastian Cabal-Robert Farah


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Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas In Australian Open SF #1, Who’s The Pick?
Zverev Bests Nishikori Against In Rainy Washington, Murray WDs; Del Potro v Fognini In Los Cabos Final
Big 3 Of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer Headline Rome Field
Roger Federer Confirms Return To Rome

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43 Comments for Djokovic Saves 2 MPs v Del Potro; Nadal Gets Rematch With Tsitsipas In Rome SF

FedExpress Says:

Delpo choked in the TB when being 6-4 up. Mid court FH on the 1st MP and he shanks it. Doesnt win a point after that.

Then 3rd set. 3 BP chances. On two he had two sitters of a FH missed. Then in the next game at 40-30. three makeable balls but sucks on all of them and gets broken.

He will choke against any1 but not vs Federer.


chofer Says:

FedExpress

Delpo ONLY played 5 matches (counting this one) since Shangai 18. hence SIX FREAKING MONTHS OFF!!!

I was certain he would never recover from his 10.000th injury. All of a sudden, YOU blame him for shanking a FH when he was beong AGGRESSIVE and giving Djokovic the fits NO ONE in the current top 20 gave him ON CLAY so far.

You’re a crybaby. Woo
rse, you’re a disgrace to this site and, especifically, an undeserving Rofer fan. Ouch!

Gettoutahere!


chrisford1 Says:

One of the best matches of the season. Once again, and I hope it won’t be the last, Novak and Juan went to battle in full gladiator mode. Applause to both. I can’t believe FedExpress calls it a Delpo choke. I call it a classic match and a sign that JDP is done with his latest injury rehab and playing his best again.


Wog Boy Says:

Best match so far this CC season and maybe best match of the year.
Let me remind some sore losers with injured leg and pride here that actually Nole was the one who should have closed the match in two sets, he had 9 BP in the first two sets, he blew 6 of them in the first and was serving for second set, he was the one that chocked first.
Also agree with chofer, Delpo played excellent match and I have never seen his BH on fire as in this match, good sign for his wrist and good sign for the rest of the season, part of me really wanted him to win, keep it up Gentle Giant, great match.


chofer Says:

chrisford1

He complains about everything… when Roger plays bad, when Novak plays good, bad whatever. Everything is a “choke” to him. Regardless of minimum context ot thought behind.
I think, and I’m not bias about, it’s the best three out of five so far this year. A scorcher.

And I hope if Djokovic meets Rafa, it will be close or better still. I’m sure whoever loses against the eventual Champion will “choke”.

Much as I’d like Tsi Tsi Fly pulling up a surprise, I don’t see that happening twice in a row.


chofer Says:

WB

” Nole was the one who should have closed the match in two sets”

Exactly! Some see tennis with their feet.


Wog Boy Says:

chofer,
Rafa is heavy favourite, no question about that, but I wouldn’t write Tsisipas off, that boy has one very wise head on his shoulders, much wise than one 20 years old has, there is something him, his maturity, his body language…some inner strength that I haven’t seen in any player for a long long time.
You would have thought that after hiding that Rafa gave him at AO he would crumble in their next match, but he did completely opposite, full of confidence.
That reminds me of Delpo when Roger gave him hiding at AO 2009 that it was painful to watch, so what Delpo did in their next match? He won USO 2009.
Tsisipas is very mature, wise and level headed boy which is great asset.


chofer Says:

One more thing

I think speaks VOLUMES of Delpo’s mental strenght that with just 5 matches since last October and minimum training because his fractured kneecap could have almost taken this match away from someone who can play dirt all day long when focused.

I still say the young generation are behind him in the mental department, perhaps with the exception of the Greek which shows an upside superior (at his age) than Zverev and Thiem ever did.

Pity he couldn’t make a proper pre-season training. He rushed his appeareance at Delray Beach when he couldn’t barely move, yet.

So he played only ONE match in Madrid with some decent training and all of a sudden he’s expected to win in in worst surface against an in form opponent who loves this turf. Well, he almost did. Too bad!!


chofer Says:

WB

We think alike. I didn’t read your post when I was posting that.

Yes. But I don’t trust Tsi Tsi endurance, still. His head and variety is there. It’s his body that I think still needs honing. Especially when you habe to beat BOTH of these beasts in a row.
Thiem still couldn’t dom it. And he’s 26 and a superb athlete.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ “…in their next match” not literally next , just expression.


chofer Says:

Uh, ok.

Yes, i think Stefanos as my first option of “who will win a GS” other than the usual suspects. Thiem has to deal with both Rafa and Nole on clay over 5. Too much.

Unless someone loses early. Then, anything is possible.


Wog Boy Says:

Well, looking at Nole’s results since Wimbledon last year (Wimbledon included) he is more likely to lose to some lower ranking player than top 10 player, very much so.
He lost to only 1 top 10 player (Zverev) since after Rome last year and has beaten 17 top 10 players, at the same period he lost to fair few tourists on tour.
So you never know, FO is very unpredictable, but also at the best of five there are less chances for tourists to surprise Nole.


Wog Boy Says:

^^^”FO is very unpredictable..” with exception of Rafa:)


Andy Mira Says:

Agree with u guys all!….One of the best match i’ve ever seen so far this year!…whoo!!….Awesome!..

My God!….DelPo played like he never left the tour for months!….Very incredible to see him challenged the fittest & in form player in Nole like that!…Credit to both for giving us entertainment!….And it’s only QF!…hahaha…


Van Persie Says:

Enjoyed every point of this match, and since I like DelPo very very much, did not feel any anxiety when he had MP’s. Would have been glad if he had won it.

To be honnest, I expected not an easy match for Nole, but DelPo surprised me, given the fact this match was on clay.

Well done, DelPo. All the best for the rest of the season!

Now, I would like to see a Rafole final 😉


Madmax Says:

chofer Says:
FedExpress

Delpo ONLY played 5 matches (counting this one) since Shangai 18. hence SIX FREAKING MONTHS OFF!!!

I was certain he would never recover from his 10.000th injury. All of a sudden, YOU blame him for shanking a FH when he was beong AGGRESSIVE and giving Djokovic the fits NO ONE in the current top 20 gave him ON CLAY so far.

You’re a crybaby. Woo
rse, you’re a disgrace to this site and, especifically, an undeserving Rofer fan. Ouch!

Gettoutahere!

May 17th, 2019 at 11:07 pm

Chofer,

Ignore FedExpress, he doesn’t know what he is talking about and he is certainly no Federer fan. The grip reaper. At all times.

What Delpo has done has been nothing short of miraculous. His injuries, the poor guy. After winning the USO in 2009, that incredibly well fought final against Fed, into the night, he has been pretty much sidelined with a great match here and there.

Everyone wishes the best for Delpo, the gentle giant of the sport.


El_matador Says:

Chofer,
I am very proud of what our boy did…hell I am just happy that he’s playing again…it would be beyond unbelievable to see a delpo-diego semi but it’s what it’s…the fact that delpo gave nole such a great fight after coming back from yet another freaking injury and without any match practice makes me immensely proud…vamos delpo!!!…I hope he can just keep playing.


chofer Says:

MadMax

Thanks. I know. But even when he blows steam when Federer is losing a freaking point he’s unbereavable.

I frankly was expecting the match would not be a blowout (and in all honesty, who didn’t?)So it was surprising to see in a way. I checked the stats and Nole won 109 points to JMDP 104. That was close. For a moment, I had a deja vu of the 2016 Olympics. But then I realised this was not hard courts, Delpo’s serve would not be that effective like then (he didn’t faced a single BP chance at Rio)and this is certainly another Djokovic.
I think he played above my expetactions. In fact, I don’t remember him playing that well on clay in ages. Superior to his SF performance with Nadal in last year FO by miles. For one simple fact: he must have sliced five times the whole match (defending) and at least six times left wandering Nole off his FH side with deep drives with his *weak* BHTDL.
Perhaps, as the old adaggio says, being concerned with his knee and movement took over his concern for his left wrist. He forgot about being cautious with it. Therefore, he blasted off both sides, like in old times. One nail brings out another. At last!!


j-kath Says:

“SitSip” is one of the best of the new gen. but doubt he’ll win – it will be either Nole or Rafa.


FedExpress Says:

Yeah talk whatever madmax. Fake as ever.


fred stone Says:

Gutless umpire again.
Refuses to call time violation three times already in this match by the dirt lord.


Giles Says:

^^^ STFU. He’s Mr. Nadal to you.


chrisford1 Says:

Does a player that managed to win 6 Majors and 7 Masters 1000s belong on any list of the Greats?
Even if none of those wins was on clay?
I’d say yes.
Who am I talking about?


j-kath Says:

Yep Rafa – well done – you’ve set up a good final….”Sitsip” needs to develop his stamina – like all the next-gen.


Tennisfansince1976 Says:

@chrisford1 Nice shout out to Laurence Doherty 5 time Wimbledon and 1 time US open champion from the first decade of the 20th century.


chrisford1 Says:

Him and Rafa Nadal. Mind you I love the title Lord of Dirt or Dirt Lord, but Nadal is so freaking good that you take away every clay title and you have someone with the creds of an all time great. 6 Hardcourt and Grass Slam titles, 7 Masters with the majority one in Finals against one of the other Big 4.
That is how good a player Nadal is off clay. Compare that with others.
Then add his clay titles and you have a Legend.
And when this era ends, there is only one reason why Federer and Djokovic don’t have 3-4 French Open titles each and another 5-10 Masters 1000 titles.
Dirt Lord.


fred stone Says:

Somebody’s stealing my material:)
How about the Mugwump of Mud?


chofer Says:

Well, this Djokovic won’t lose this match. So a Rafaole is on the verge of happening. And Rafa is playing well again so tomorrow will be a real blueprint of where they’re at the moment. I don’t think the winner has to ne tagged as favourite for the FO, though. I think they’re co-favorites at the moment (Rafa will be tough in best of 5 and on his favorite court: Phulippe Chatrier) And we’ll appreciate what Delpo did yesterday better.


skeezer Says:

LOL DaJoker is having a hard time with “little man”.


FedExpress Says:

Diego a bit taller and he could have been a monster of a player. He has all the shots, sadly not a good serve.


FedExpress Says:

Rafa vs Nole

Nole in 3


Wog Boy Says:

…OL DaJoker is having a hard time with “little man”….

Due to a right leg problem..or maybe bad back…wait, it’s a knee…no, it’s mono….it’s old age …sure he must be expecting set of twins???


Wog Boy Says:

..OL DaJoker is having a hard time with “little man”….

Due to a right leg problem..or maybe bad back…wait, it’s a knee…no, it’s mono….it’s old age …sure he must be expecting set of twins???


chofer Says:

The good news to me is that my countrymen areready for RG. Playing well. Hope for a good dreaw there, especially for Delpo who has had terrible luck with those.

The second thought is that Delpo ALWAYS except for a Davis Cup match and Rio had the misfortune to face Novak on the crescent side if his curveballs. 90% of the times. And every time that happened and he was playin well, Djoker won but got him gassed.

Third thought. If there’s a proper time for Rafa to win and make some kind of statement against him (seriously, the menatll hurdles are for real. He just dissapeared at the AO F) is TOMORROW.

An inverted situation of Madrid. The fresher is Nadal. Will he regained his confidence back against Djokovic, who has spent more than 5 hours on court the last three days?

My rationale being thinks so. But he’ll have come out blazing. Even if he has three lungs, Djokovic real chances are getting it in two sets. He might be Superman, but this is still clay.

My fourth and final thought. One we could ALL agree on:
Rome, with some distance, is the WORST Masters 1000 tournament for more reasons than their pathetic scheduling.
Such a shame, since once upon a time was considered the “Fifth Slam”. Looong time ago…


Daniel Says:

Djoko in battle mode refusing to lose. Should be favorite against Nadal tomorrow. He is 9-2 last 11 meetings but the 2 loses were on clay.

And last time Nadal beat Djoko in any final was RG 2014.

I think if Djoko wins he is clear favorite for RG: Madrid and Rome back to back beating most clay specialist and Nadal in Rome would be the icing on the cake for his preparation.


Wog Boy Says:

chofer, agree, your countrymen gassed out Nole.
After battling them two nights in a row, finishing around and after midnight I don’t think Nole has much gas left in the tank, not even a day to recover, precisely 16 hours between his last point against Diego and first point against Rafa. On the other side Rafa cruised to final.
Anything more than dignified loss is a bonus.

Interesting observation about Delpo and Nole meeting in important tournaments, I remember Delpo saying once;
“I don’t have to look at draw, I just look where Nole is and I know I there too.” :)


Wog Boy Says:

^^^^ should say..” ..I am there too…”


Wog Boy Says:

One correction chofer, in last three days Nole spent more than 7,5 hours on court, four matches against quality opponents. In last two days, more than 5,5 hours in two super competitive matches.
I don’t understand why they put the final at 4pm, what’s wrong with 7pm (like AO), for a difference of FO they have lights?
Anyway these 600 points hopefully will come handy at the end of the year and into the first half of the next year;)


skeezer Says:

LOL Dkojer fan claiming “little man” burned him out. Seriously? It’s his own fault should beat him down in 2, quickly. Now claiming “Anything more than dignified loss is a bonus.” against Rafa.
#crock
Nole in 2.


skeezer Says:

Would like to see Rafa win this one. It would setup FO for the fans nicely. Both Novak and Rafa then would have a Clay title, thus setting up the FO for a Barn Burner. Got the feeling though – one of these guys are going to get upset at FO. A lot of variables this year….


chofer Says:

WB

I was seeing another sites comments in real time during yesterday’s match and I couldn’t believe how stupid people can be. Ok, nothing new.

You’re right about that Delpo quote. It’s funny, since tons of Murray fans on the site I mentioned where calling him “del choKer” when they should eternally thank him for gassing out Djokovic at Wimbledon (when he first won there) and Federer at the London Olympics (when he trashed him for his first gold) respectively. Fans have short time memories.

It’s like Juan is there to make the “dirty work” only. If they’re “anti.Djokovic” they want Juan to outlast him on a clay court. Insane petition. Outlandish. But they don’t ask the same things of players of similar height and weight- Why would that be? It’s not Delpo’s game his mobility. Never was. It’s like petition Nole to serve and volley on all points or outserve, don’t know, Isner on a super fast court. You win with what you have and ALSO with what the other lacked on that day. And I still think he has the tools to win even with those shortcomings.

But he has had really bad luck with Djoko all of his career. I think it’s his most troublesome matchup for many reasons, but he didn’t have the waver Zverev, to name one, had two years ago in the Rome final. With Djokovic visiby distracted and mysteriously erratic. This is a different Djokovic, obvs. When Juan is healthy and ready, you want to be sure Djokovic is dominating and in the crest of the wave. It never fails! I can tell.

And except for those two matches that I mentioned, Juan was ready at the wrong time with him. If he’s able to bring back that level for one GS when he’s not fully energized (much like what happened with Stan in his first win against him at the AO years back) it’s difficult to find the crack to “outlast” him not being one of the Big 3, of course. Wawa found him once, and that’s all that he needed to plant the seed of the doubt in Nole’s mind in other important best of 5 matches. His record against Nole is not much better than Delpo’s. Their matches not less closer, It may seem like this for the importance of some of them. It’s what changes everything.

Delpo found it with Roger after six hard losses, too. And Rafa. Call it luck. Once you know in clutch times, at a GS, you can win ONE clutched against those, you positively think you´ll win some more. Even if it’s not happening over and over. This is as old as tennis.

He never caught him on the diminishing physical curve ever. Except at Rio, which is like some kind of karma. It’s the match that has extended Delpo’s career. He was virtually retired after his last sugery. I mean, seriosuly, He was about to announce it publicly. But Djokovic somewhow regrouped and played shaky tennis at the US Open and got to the finals anyway when was awaiting… Wawrinka. I knew beforehand what would happen and tell it to the old tennis.com forum. Bad physical form, distractions, Monfils playing like bad Kyrgios on the SFs, whatever. Stan won. Many people that insulted me dissapeared. But it’s not like you needed to be Nostradamus, either.

But those things can fail against players of the same calibre. This year I predicted here Rafa would win the AO Final. I still believe, to this day, he was playing the best tennis of them all. He was crushing it. Aggressive on a hard court like I’ve never seen him since the last time he won the US Open against the same rival (forget Anderson!)

Well, Rafa virtually dissapeared. It’s true Djokovic didn’t let him into the match. But in no way there’s that abysmal difference between those two. Even on a hard court. It’s Djokovic getting into his head on important matches at the right time. Tennis memory can be cruel. Even for GOATS.

So my prediction for tomorrow is to shut up and enjoy!


Wog Boy Says:

chofer,
Thanks for responding with great insight. I will be watching replay since it is at odd hours here, I am not waking up anymore for anybody’s matches, unless call of the nature wakes me up, which tends to happen at my age;)


Giles Says:

Rafa in 2 tight sets.
Vamos Champ!

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