Angry Djokovic Knocks Out Norrie At Rome Masters, Rune Next Wed; Sinner Out

by Staff | May 16th, 2023, 8:05 pm
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The scoreline was straightforward but Novak Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie at the Rome Masters was anything but.

Djokovic was not pleased with Norrie’s on-court conduct.

The match was delayed as the Serb was finishing up some undisclosed medical treatment and then Norrie started right off with the “come ons”. Later, on a bunny overhead smash, Norrie hit Djokovic on the back of the leg. Djokovic had already turned around conceding the point. But after he was struck, the world No. 1 gave a long glare to the Brit.

“I did watch the replay when he hit me,” Djokovic said after. “Maybe you could say he didn’t hit me deliberately. I don’t know if he saw me.

“Peripheralically you can always see where the player is positioned on the court. The ball was super slow and super close to the net. I just turned around because the point was over for me.

“It was not so much maybe about that, but it was maybe a combination of things. From the very beginning,” he said, “he was doing all the things that were allowed. He’s allowed to take a medical timeout. He’s allowed to hit a player. He’s allowed to say C’mon in the face more or less every single point from basically first game.

“Those are the things that we players know in the locker room it’s not fair play, it’s not how we treat each other. But, again, it’s allowed. I got along with Cameron really well all these years that he’s been on the tour. Practiced with each other. He’s very nice guy off the court, so I don’t understand this kind of attitude on the court, to be honest.”

“But it is what it is. He brought the fire, and I responded to that. I’m not going to allow someone behaving like this just bending my head. I’m going to respond to that.”

Djokovic will be back on court tomorrow with another guy who likes to getting into things on the court and that’s Holger Rune. Rune edged Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

Djokovic fell to Rune at Paris last fall.

“I lost to him in Paris Bercy finals in a really close match, tough match,” Djokovic said. “Even though he’s really young, I know his game quite well. He’s been on the tour now for last few years playing some great tennis, particularly in the last I would say six to eight months. He’s been really establishing himself as a top player. He’s a top-10 player, deservedly so. He’s been playing some really high-quality tennis.

“He’s one of the hardest workers out there. Nice guy. I get along well with him. On the court obviously we certainly want to win against each other. He kind of reminds me a little bit, the way he plays.”

Djokovic has now made 17 straight Rome quarterfinals. He’s never lost in Rome before the last eight.

It was a tough day for the top Italians.

Jannik Sinner’s title hopes were squashed by Francisco Cerundolo 6-7(3-7), 6-2, 6-2. Sinner tossed in 50 unforced errors. And at 1:45am, Stefanos Tsitsipas eliminated Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 7-5. Both had won matches earlier in the day. Musetti finished off Frances Tiafoe while Tsitsipas ousted Lorenzo Sonego.

No. 4 seed Casper Ruud eased past Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-1, 6-3. Ruud is a 2-time Rome semifinalist.

Russians were mixed as Andrey Rublev fell in a surprise to qualifier Yannik Hanfmann 7-6(7-5), 4-6, 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev took down rival Alexander Zverev 6-2, 7-6(7-3). The German, who was playing his second match of the day after defeating J.J. Wolf, had a set point on the Medvedev serve at 5-4 in the second.

“He started to play a little bit better for sure,” Medvedev told the ATP. “We had some long games, and I should have played better on this game at 4-3… I should have done better from 40-0.

“I made a few easy errors, but that’s tennis and I knew that I had to continue. It was not an easy moment, set point to save. I’m happy with my level throughout the whole match, except this game and I’m really looking forward to the next match.”

Medvedev will face Hanfmann in the Thursday quarters. Tsitsipas will take on Coric who eliminated qualifier Fabian Marozsan in three sets.

Tomorrow in the quarters, Djokovic faces Rune and Ruud meets Cerundolo.

Starting At: 1:00 pm
ATP Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [1] vs Holger RUNE (DEN) [7]
Not Before 3:00 PM
WTA Paula Badosa (ESP) vs Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [20]

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP Casper RUUD (NOR) [4] vs Francisco CERUNDOLO (ARG) [24]
Not Before 8:30 PM
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL) [1] vs Elena Rybakina (KAZ) [7]

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Top story: Shaky Djokovic Gets His Revenge On Musetti, Gets De Minaur Next; Sinner v Rune