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Author Archive for Kevin Mitchell in Rome

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Elina Svitolina retains Italian Open title with straight sets win over Simona Halep

• Ukrainian wins 6-0, 6-4 in Rome in just 67 minutes• Halep hampered by injury for second successive yearOn an otherwise perfect day, the world No1 Simona Halep collapsed spectacularly in her rematch with Elina Svitolina to gift the Ukrainian a second …

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Rafael Nadal recovers to ruin Fabio Fognini’s hopes of Rome triumph

• Nadal reaches semis with 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Italian• Maria Sharapova batters aside Jelena Ostapenko 6-7, 6-4, 7-5It seems odd that Rafael Nadal’s domination on clay in Monte Carlo,Barcelona and Paris has not been so evident in Rome, where he has …

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Johanna Konta fades in Italian Open defeat by Jelena Ostapenko

Briton loses 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to French Open championKonta once again blows lead against a top-10 playerJohanna Konta leaves Rome for Paris mildly encouraged but also maybe concerned after blowing a first-set lead against a top-10 player for the fourth ti…

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Konta brushes aside Hsieh in Rome to avenge French Open defeat

Konta wins 6–0, 6–4 and faces Jelena Ostapenko in third roundSimona Halep thrashes Naomi Osaka 6–0, 6–1 at Italian OpenJohanna Konta simultaneously laid a ghost and a marker in Rome on Wednesday, overpowering the artful but lightweight Hsieh Su-wei, wh…

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Kyle Edmund ready to calmly climb even higher after Novak Djokovic win

• British No 1 can rise in the world top 20 on clay in Rome and Paris• Lucas Pouille is second-round opponent after beating Malek JaziriKyle Edmund, the absurdly quiet man of tennis, might be ready to make some noise but solely with the “thwap” of…

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Serena Williams sets sights on French Open while Konta finds form in Rome

• Williams’s coach says she will ‘play the French Open to win it’• Konta delighted after beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3Optimism laughs at the scoreboard at all levels of sport and, in different circumstances, Serena Williams and Johanna Konta to…

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Andy Murray’s conqueror Fognini backs Alexander Zverev as future world No1

• Zverev knocks out Fognini and Novak Djokovic beats Roberto Bautista Agut
• Johanna Konta defeated 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 by 36-year-old Venus Williams

Fabio Fognini, whose blazing two-set destruction of Andy Murray this week left the world No1 with a major headache on the eve of the French Open, thinks his own conqueror, Alexander Zverev, will one day usurp the Scot and the rest of the competition as the best player in the world.

Related: Andy Murray is struggling and anxious – it may be a good thing | Kevin Mitchell

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Andy Murray’s conqueror Fognini backs Alexander Zverev as future world No1

• Zverev knocks out Fognini and Novak Djokovic beats Roberto Bautista Agut
• Johanna Konta defeated 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 by 36-year-old Venus Williams

Fabio Fognini, whose blazing two-set destruction of Andy Murray this week left the world No1 with a major headache on the eve of the French Open, thinks his own conqueror, Alexander Zverev, will one day usurp the Scot and the rest of the competition as the best player in the world.

Related: Andy Murray is struggling and anxious – it may be a good thing | Kevin Mitchell

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Maria Sharapova vows to rise again after being denied wildcard for French Open

• Russian refused entry and Wimbledon expected to follow suit
• Sharapova retires in Italian Open second round with thigh injury

Maria Sharapova’s reaction to learning on Tuesday night that she has no chance of playing in the French Open, was to say: “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way.”

She has won the tournament twice and had at least slim ambitions of winning again, but the French Tennis Federation refused to offer her a wildcard following the completion of her suspension for a doping offence.

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Andy Murray admits to ‘not playing good tennis’ after Italian Open exit

• World No1 beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Italian world No29 Fabio Fognini
• Latest shock defeat puts Murray on backfoot ahead of French Open

Andy Murray, the defending Italian Open champion, suffered another worrying defeat when he failed to tame the inspired hitting of Fabio Fognini, who rose to the raucous urgings of his Italian fans in the magnificent Campo Centrale on a deceptively mild Tuesday evening.

Whatever the power and placement of Fognini’s groundstrokes for the hour and 33 minutes it took him to win 6-2, 6-4, Murray realises his hopes of retaining his Wimbledon title and his world No1 ranking depend now on a lot of hard work with Ivan Lendl, who arrives on Sunday to prepare him for the French Open, which begins at the end of the month.

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Novak Djokovic berates umpire after Rome final defeat by Andy Murray

• ‘It was a very heavy court. I could’ve twisted my ankle several times’
• Murray’s victory is only his second in 14 matches over world No1

The clay that Andy Murray once viewed with suspicion has become his friend and, a week before the French Open, a straight‑sets win against the best player in the world, Novak Djokovic, was sweet indeed. Had he not beaten Djokovic in his first Rome Masters final on Sunday – 6-3, 6-3, with crisp, powerful groundstrokes from deep and artful work near the net – he knows the questions about the Serb’s dominance over him would have invaded every conversation between now and Roland Garros, where he lost a tight semi‑final against the world No1 last year.

Related: Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to win Rome Masters claycourt title

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Serena Williams defeats Madison Keys to win fourth Italian Open title

• French Open champion wins in straight sets to claim first title in nine months
• Keys pays the penalty for 32 unforced errors in 7-6, 6-3 defeat

Serena Williams returns this week to Paris, her second home, as reigning French Open champion and owner of her fourth Italian Open title, a considerable comfort to her after failing to win two previous finals in an uneven start to the 2016 season. It was her first title in nine months.

Related: Roger Federer finds time catching up with him as French Open decision awaits | Kevin Mitchell

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Andy Murray prepares for Italian Open semi with lucky-loser Lucas Pouille

• Frenchman called up when Tsonga pulled out on day one
• Novak Djokovic sees off Rafael Nadal 7–5, 7–6

Whatever the lucky loser Lucas Pouille does against Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Saturday, he will leave Rome feeling more blessed than the Pope. It is hard to imagine a run of form and fortune to match that which has accompanied the young Frenchman in recent weeks and Murray, who views fate as suspiciously as does any athlete, will be alive to the dangers of an upset.

Related: Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal at the Rome Masters – as it happened

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Andy Murray beats Jérémy Chardy at Italian Open to set up Davis Cup reunion

• Murray eases past Chardy 6-0, 6-4 in third round
• Scot now faces Belgium’s David Goffin, who be beat to win Davis Cup

Nothing lasts forever in the Eternal City, they say. Roger Federer is gone. So, too, is his compatriot and the defending French Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, just 10 days before Roland Garros welcomes the clay warriors for the 2016 edition of the year’s second slam.

Related: Roger Federer finds time catching up with him as French Open decision awaits | Kevin Mitchell

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Roger Federer finds time catching up with him as French Open decision awaits | Kevin Mitchell

The 34-year-old’s record of 65 successive grand slam appearances could be ended by the back injury that not only threatens his place at Roland Garros later this month but reminds us he cannot carry on playing for ever

Roger Federer says he will not be at the French Open if the unspecified injury to his back does not improve sufficiently over the next 10 days for him to play with full freedom and, if he does start in Paris, he reckons his chances of doing well are “not great”.

So, we are a just little closer to knowing where the game’s greatest player stands at 34 as he starts to creak around the edges. The finish line remains a blur but is not so distant as it was even a few months ago.

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Roger Federer a doubt for French Open after losing to Dominic Thiem in Rome

• Federer beaten 7-6, 6-4 in third round of Italian Open
• Injury-plagued Swiss lacked sharpness against Thiem

Roger Federer is out of the Italian Open, one of the few titles he has never won during his 18 years on the Tour, but there are more pressing matters on his mind. Whether or not the 34-year-old can recover from a straight-set loss to young Dominic Thiem in the third round on Thursday and get his ailing body in shape for the French Open in a fortnight is problematic.

Related: Fitness fears grow over Roger Federer’s participation in French Open

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Fitness fears grow over Roger Federer’s participation in French Open

A ‘far from 100% fit’ Federer manages to beat the German Alexander Zverev at the Italian Open but says: ‘To even to think of tomorrow is already a big ask’

Less than a fortnight before the French Open, Roger Federer admits he is “far from 100%” fit and the fear that his run of 65 consecutive grand slam appearances could be about to end is now more than idle speculation.

Two of his perennial rivals, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, joined the 34-year-old Swiss in the third round of the Italian Open with satisfactory wins on Wednesday but kept their professional distance when asked if they shared wider concerns about his immediate future.

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If Andy Murray needs a big name as coach, step forward Martina Navratilova

The world No3 has intimated he is keen to entrust the rest of his career to a renowned former player, so could Ivan Lendl’s old compatriot provide the answer as Amélie Mauresmo’s successor?

Normally when a leading player suddenly is missing a coach, candidates move from the shadows to centre stage as if auditioning for a Hollywood movie. But John McEnroe has been unusually quiet this week; perhaps he no longer wants to coach Andy Murray.

McEnroe’s name will emerge soon enough. It usually does, whether genuine or in jest. Ivan Lendl? He’s not one for jokes. Besides, he has already had his West End run with Murray, and very successful it was too. The former Czech loves his golf too much – and Murray would need a brain transplant to forget the trauma of their last leaving.

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If Andy Murray needs a big name as coach, step forward Martina Navratilova

The world No3 has intimated he is keen to entrust the rest of his career to a renowned former player, so could Ivan Lendl’s old compatriot provide the answer as Amélie Mauresmo’s successor?

Normally when a leading player suddenly is missing a coach, candidates move from the shadows to centre stage as if auditioning for a Hollywood movie. But John McEnroe has been unusually quiet this week; perhaps he no longer wants to coach Andy Murray.

McEnroe’s name will emerge soon enough. It usually does, whether genuine or in jest. Ivan Lendl? He’s not one for jokes. Besides, he has already had his West End run with Murray, and very successful it was too. The former Czech loves his golf too much – and Murray would need a brain transplant to forget the trauma of their last leaving.

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Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer to retain Rome Masters title

• Djokovic: ‘It’s always a great challenge to play Federer’
• Champagne cork caught Djokovic just above his eye
• Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer: Rome Masters final – as it happened

When Roger Federer said on the eve of his 39th match against Novak Djokovic, “He’s not Rafa Nadal”, he must have suspected his hubris would come back to haunt him. On Sunday afternoon, it did.

Djokovic in no way resembles the current incarnation of Nadal (although Federer claimed he was referring to the Rafa of clay legend), and the Serb’s 6-4, 6-3 win confirmed there is only one clear favourite for the French Open next week – and it is not the Spaniard who has won there nine times but lost four times on European clay this summer.

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