PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal into Italian Open final and looking sharp for French Open

(AAP) – Rafael Nadal has beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 to reach the Italian Open final.

Saturday’s victory was a measure of revenge for Rafa after losing to Tsitsipas in three sets at this stage in the Madrid Open last week.

The victory should also restore Rafa’s confidence as he seeks a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend.

“I’m playing better every match, every weekend,” Rafa said.

Aiming for a ninth trophy in Rome, Rafa’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be either Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman, who play later.

Rafa is in the middle of his longest title drought to begin a season since he came onto the scene in 2004. His last trophy came in Toronto last August.

The crowd attempted to encourage Tsitsipas with chants of “Tsi-Tsi-Tsi; Pas-Pas-Pas” but the 20-year-old Greek player couldn’t keep up with Rafa on the long rallies – even though he was fresh from a rest day after Roger Federer withdrew from the quarter-finals.

Conditions were much slower than on the high-altitude court in Madrid, which favoured Nadal and made it tougher for Tsitsipas to execute his attacking game.

Midway through the first set, Rafa produced an awesome forehand winner up the line on the run, drawing a loud roar from the packed Campo Centrale crowd.

Rafa  broke Tsitsipas’ serve early in both sets.

Source: AAP

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17 comments

  1. I am so glad you are in the final tomorrow. Today’s win was amazing, but defeating Djoker would be the BEST! You can do it. Make your opponent suffer just enough to get the “W.”

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  2. All the Best RAFA for the Final.Awin against Djoko will give you a much better confidence in preparation for 12th RG

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  3. We have our Rafa back YIPEEE!!!!!! I so enjoyed watching this match and yeah I was worried because of the last time they played Stef won but Rafa had his head on straight . He stayed focused and attacked with greatness. Such a Powerhouse Rafa is when he has his mind set on Winning and destroying his Competition . Best of Luck for Finale Rafa . Remember to stay focused and have that taste for Victory in your mouth and don’t let the other player get in your head. You are there for one reason and one reason only to WIN . Dominate the Court and take home the Win
    Love ya Rafa. stay strong and Healthy

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  4. Well don Rafa your on a roll,vamossssssssss champ you can do it the king of CLAY looking to see you tomorrow win 💪💪💪🎾🎾🎾😘😘😘❤️❤️❤️👍👍👍💪💪💪😘😘😘🎾🎾🎾❤️❤️❤️

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  5. He wasn’t gracious, did he really think he’d beat Rafa twice in a row?
    Not a question of “solving” Rafa had a zillion break chances last week and was still shaking off match rust and gaining confidence.
    Stef is a great new player but still a kid. Will allow his age to excuse his inappropriate behavior toward ref and line calls.
    When the ball is out, and most he questiined clearly were, that’s it. Bsll isn’t in because fans want it to be.

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    • I don’t think age is an excuse for bad/unsportsmanlike behaviour. How he behaves now can indicate how he’ll behave later. Case in point is McEnroe who behaved badly from his first appearance at Wimbledon aged 18, to the end of his career.

      On the other hand you have champions who behaved impeccably from a younger age than Tsitsipas, e.g. Sampras, who won his first US Open at 19, Borg as well.

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  6. Glad to see Rafa being more aggressive and using his great volley.

    Is it just me, or did Tsitsipas not seem a very gracious loser? Hope success is not going to his head.

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    • He’s probably pissed with all the line calls! I don’t think he’s a sore loser because I’ve seen him losing matches but was gracious.

      I think he’s more disappointed with himself, this loss came when he thought after his win at Madrid, that he managed to solve the Rafa puzzle. Remember that he was so upset with himself when he received a shellacking from Rafa at the AO this year?

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      • Tsitsi needs more seasoning. He’s not mature enough to “look for solutions” when Plan A isn’t working. Delighted that the King of Clay finally made an appearance this season! Rafa came out focused and ready to fight and never took his foot off the gas.

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