Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Djokovic edges out Schwartzman to set up Nadal final

Djokovic edges out Schwartzman to set up Nadal final

"But we saw Novak in Australia, the same focus, the same attitude [to beat Nadal in straight sets in the final]".

Across the last 12 months, there's nearly an 11% advantage in Nadal's favour when looking at their combined hold/break percentages, and while Djokovic is 8-2 in their head to head in the last three years, both of Nadal's wins were on clay, in Madrid in 2017 and Rome in 2018. I was just running out of fuel a little bit today.

Nadal never looked back sealing a third win over Djokovic in their five Rome finals, although the latter still holds a 28-26 career edge.

Konta's response was concerted as the second set went with serve before Pliskova had the opportunity to establish a 4-3 lead.

That match previous year saw Nadal priced around the [1.20] mark, and while Djokovic had his struggles at that stage last season, it's a rather large gap between that price and today's market pricing.

"I had luck in the decisive moments in the second set tiebreak", the 31-year-old said. "But I never lost faith", the four-time Rome victor said.

Although Djokovic managed to break back on both occasions and force a tiebreaker, the Argentine played some of his best tennis of the match to win the "breaker" easily and force a decider.

Aiming for a ninth trophy in Rome, Nadal's opponent in Sunday's final will be Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman, who were playing later.

"After a lot of years here, I know what happened last week, and I'm going to try to do it better tomorrow", 17-time grand slam victor Nadal said.

The 2016 U.S. Open runner-up, Pliskova also reached the Australian Open semifinals and the Miami Open final after opening this season with a title in Brisbane, Australia.

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"Karolina's been at the top of the game for years now", said Konta.

"Everyone is trying to peak for Roland Garros, without a doubt".

"I am not 100 per cent physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play", he said.

In the women's tournament, Johanna Konta rallied past sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in almost three hours to reach the biggest clay-court final of her career.

Nadal got off to a flying start by whitewashing a shellshocked Djokovic in the opening set.

Nadal will be boosted by the his return to form ahead of the start of the French Open a week today, where he will be searching for a 12th title.

Karolina Pliskova defeated Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to win the Italian Open on Sunday.

For Konta, who has won three WTA titles, it was her second straight defeat in a final on clay after the Morocco Open earlier this month.

The Czech fourth seed next plays Maria Sakkari of Greece who also needed three sets to get past France's Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.

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