Tagged in: Italy

Novak Djokovic rallies from 2 sets down to defeat Jannik Sinner, will face Cam Norrie in Wimbledon semifinals

It says a lot about Novak Djokovic that a two-sets-to-none hole at Wimbledon on a day he was hardly at his best never seemed insurmountable. Not to him. Not to anyone watching.

It says a lot about his history of overcoming that sort of deficit. A lot about his skill to adjust, to adapt and to right himself. A lot about his preeminence at the All England Club in recent years.

Djokovic spotted 10th-seeded Jannik Sinner of Italy the huge lead Tuesday, then worked his way back to win 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 at Centre Court, earning an 11th semifinal berth at Wimbledon with his 26th consecutive triumph at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

“I always believed,” said Djokovic, who faces ninth-seeded Cam Norrie of Britain next, “that I could turn the match around.”

Among men, only Roger Federer has made more semifinal appearances at Wimbledon with 13 and won more championships (eight) than the seven Djokovic could reach by lifting the trophy Sunday for what would be a fourth year in a row. “He makes you play differently — well, not differently, but in a way that he likes,” Sinner said.

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Norrie edged David Goffin of Belgium 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, earning the right to make his debut in a Grand Slam semifinal.

“Can’t enjoy it too much now,” said Norrie, 26, who was born in South Africa to British parents, grew up in New Zealand and played tennis at Texas Christian University. “Just get ready for Novak in a couple days.”

Djokovic, 35, from Serbia, managed his seventh career comeback in a match in which he trailed by two sets — he last did it in the 2021 French Open final versus Stefanos Tsitsipas — and improved to 37-10 in five-setters. That includes a 10-1 mark in matches that go the distance at Wimbledon, including nine straight victories; the lone loss came in 2006.

“He’s been in this situation many times,” Sinner, 20, said. “That definitely helps.”

Tuesday’s match brought Sinner’s major quarterfinal appearance total to three, which is exactly 50 fewer than Djokovic’s.

Sinner has shown enormous potential, reaching the quarterfinals at the 2020 French Open before losing to Rafael Nadal and the 2022 Australian Open before losing to Tsitsipas. As for grass? Sinner was 0-4 until last week. But he got win No. 1 at Wimbledon by eliminating three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka and then defeated a pair of seeded foes: No. 20 John Isner and No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz.

With his wide wingspan, and a Djokovic-style ability to slide into strokes, the 6-foot-2 Sinner gets to balls that appear out of reach and is able to reply with considerable power. That allows him to lengthen exchanges and make even a consummate baseliner like Djokovic put in extra work to earn a point.

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Italy’s Matteo Berrettini pulls out of Tokyo Olympics due to thigh injury

Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics due to a thigh injury, he revealed Sunday.

The world No. 8 had his left thigh bandaged during his loss to top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final of the grass-court Grand Slam earlier this month.

“I am extremely disappointed to announce my withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic Games,” the 25-year-old said on Instagram.

“I had an MRI scan yesterday on the thigh injury I sustained during Wimbledon and was informed I will not be able to compete for a couple of weeks.”

The Italian National Olympic Committee stated it would not be able to get a replacement player for Berrettini, as the International Tennis Federation’s deadline to name new athletes had passed on Friday.

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“Representing Italy is the biggest honour for me so it is devastating to miss the Olympics,” Berrettini added.

The tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics has been hit by a series of high-profile withdrawals.

Some of the sport’s biggest names, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Stan Wawrinka and Simona Halep, have already declared their decision to skip the Games, which have been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Serbian legend Novak Djokovic, who defeated Berrettini in the Wimbledon 2021 final, is also pondering over his options of competing at the Olympics this year, which has already been plagued by Covid-19 after 2 confirmed cases in the South African football team emerged inside the Games Village.

Djokovic, who will miss out on the chance to complete a Golden Slam if he misses the Summer Games, has said that he isn’t sure of his participation in Tokyo.

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Daniil Medvedev lifts Russia past Italy for ATP Cup title

After celebrating their ATP Cup triumph as teammates for Russia, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will go their own ways at the Australian Open next week and might meet at Melbourne Park as rivals in the quarterfinals.

Medvedev improved his winning streak to 14 matches and secured Russia’s 2-0 triumph over Italy in the ATP Cup final on Sunday when he beat Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena. Rublev had given his team a commanding start with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Fabio Fognini.

The No. 4-ranked Medvedev has certainly been peaking, winning his last 10 matches versus top-10 players, including a sweep of the top three at the ATP Finals last year and a close victory over Alexander Zverev in the semifinals here.

“It’s a confidence boost,” he said.

The Australian Open starts Monday but Medvedev and Rublev, who has won five titles and 45 singles matches since the start of 2020, get a day off before their first-round matches.

As for having such a run of big matches so close to a major, Medvedev said he wouldn’t know for a couple of weeks whether it was ideal preparation for a major or not.

“Get the momentum going, sometimes it helps you – I did last year (when) I won two tournaments in a row,” he said. “At the same time it’s tiring. Played four tough matches, yesterday especially.”

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The Russians didn’t lose a singles match during the group stage or the playoffs this week, and were the second team to win the ATP Cup after Novak Djokovic led Serbia to the inaugural title last year.

The first edition featured 24 countries and was staged in three Australian cities: Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. Because of restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a two-week quarantine for all international arrivals, this year it was cut to 12 teams and played entirely at Melbourne Park. Along with five other tuneup tournaments.

Italy veteran Fognini was in the team that lost to Russia in the group stage last year. In the final, he said it was a bit of a blur.

“We played with the two best shape guys in the circuit at the moment,” Fognini said. “Especially in my case, it’s tough to say, but I don’t have these kind of matches, this kind of speed during the point. At the moment was too much.”

It seems that Rublev and Medvedev hadn’t looked too far ahead in the Australian Open draw, until Russia team captain Evgeny Donskoy raised the topic of their projected quarterfinal match at the post-match news conference.

“I’m just actually more happy for the guys that they’re achieving the level that is going to be out of the limit soon because they’re playing unbelievable tennis,” Donskoy said. “Yeah, just wishing them to play the same like they played today in the main draw of Australian Open. If the level going to be the same, these guys going to see each other in the quarterfinals.”

Medvedev, who is seeded fourth and opens versus Vasek Pospisil, said: “Yeah, it’s going to be great. You cannot change the draw. If it happens, it’s perfect.”

Rublev, who is seeded 7th and opens versus Yannick Hanfmann, said, “I wish.”

“It’s too far to say something about it now. We have to go match by match. Daniil [has a] tough first round. Me, I have as well. We’re not going to meet in second round, so we need to win a couple of matches first.”

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Serie a gets green light to return on june 20

Serie A play will resume June 20th after the Italian Government gave the professional league the green light on Thursday. In addition, August 20th has been set as the finish date for league play.

“It was a very useful meeting and, as we had said from the start, football was always going to resume when we had the conditions to ensure safety and the committee gave the go-ahead to the protocol,” Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora stated.

“Italy is getting back on track and it is only fair that football should too. The committee agreed with the protocol, but confirmed the absolute necessity for a quarantine period if a player tests positive. We also received guarantees the process of player testing will not affect or detract from the general population’s access to testing in any way.”

With safety still being the most important part, should a player or coach of any team in the future test positive for COVID-19, the entire squad and staff will have to undergo a two-week quarantine period.

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June 20th is planned to see four matches take place from Matchday 25; Atalanta vs. Sassuolo, Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Torino vs. Parma, and Verona vs. Cagliari. An official schedule will be announced on Friday, but it is expected that teams will be playing every three days during the time slots of 5:00 p.m., 7:15p.m., and 9:30 p.m. (Italian Time).

Juventus leads the Serie A table with 63 points, a point clear of second place Lazio.

Inter Milan and Atalanta currently occupy the remaining two spots in the top four, while AS Roma, Napoli, and AC Milan round out the current top seven.

Lecce, Spal, and Brescia are currently occupying the relegation zone with 12 matches remaining. Genoa, Torino, Sampdoria, and Udinese are just outside of the bottom three, all sitting under 30 points each so far this season.

In addition to league play returning, Coppa Italia semifinal second legs of Juventus vs. AC Milan and Napoli vs. Inter Milan will take place on June 13th, with the final scheduled for June 17th.

Serie A joined the English Premier League on Thursday as the latest European league to announce an official date for the resumption of the campaign. Should the final matches in Italy be cancelled due to COVID-19, Spadafora admitted the league would resort to introducing a play-off stage or freeze its current standings.

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