Sports: Nadal holds off Djokovic to win Italian Open - PressFrom - Canada
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SportsNadal holds off Djokovic to win Italian Open

21:30  19 may  2019
21:30  19 may  2019 Source:   thescore.com

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime drops first match against Rafael Nadal

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime drops first match against Rafael Nadal MADRID — Canadian teen Felix Auger-Aliassime's first match against Rafael Nadal went the way most do when the Spanish star is playing on clay. The second-seeded Nadal, playing on his favourite surface at home, beat the Montreal native 6-3, 6-3 in a second-round match on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked 30th in the world after an excellent start to 2019, was on serve with Nadal until the 11-time French Open champion recorded a break to go up 5-3 at the ATP Tour Masters 1000 event. On the penultimate point of that game, Nadal stayed alive with several great defensive shots.

The Djokovic – Nadal rivalry is a modern-day tennis rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal . The rivalry is the most prolific of the tennis Open Era.

The pair has split the four Italian Open finals they've played. They last met in the Australian Open final won by Djokovic in straight sets. Pliskova is having a solid year, having reached the Australian Open semifinals and the Miami Open final after opening the season with a title in Brisbane, Australia.

Nadal holds off Djokovic to win Italian Open© NurPhoto / Getty

Rafael Nadal has won the Italian Open for the ninth time after defeating Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

It's Nadal's first title of 2019.

"Winning a title is important but for me, the most important thing is feel myself competitive, feel myself healthy," Nadal said after the match, according to The Associated Press' Andrew Dampf. "Then with the feeling that I am improving. I know if I'm able to reach my level you can win, you can lose, but normally I'm going to have my chances, especially on this surface."

The Spaniard's ninth win strengthens his grip on the record for most titles in Rome. He now has five more Italian Open trophies than his fellow finalist, who holds the second most with four.

Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarterfinals

Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarterfinals Roger Federer's return to clay lasted only three matches. A day after saving two match points at the Madrid Open, Federer squandered two match points himself in the quarterfinals against Dominic Thiem on Friday, losing 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4. It may have ended his first appearance at a clay-court tournament in three years, but Federer wasn't leaving the Spanish capital too disappointed with the outcome of his return. "I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here," Federer said. "I feel good on the clay right now. It's been a good week. Frustrating, clearly. Losing with match points is the worst, so that's how I feel.

Djokovic came back to break Nadal straight off and claim the first game of the decider. But that was as good as it got for the 31-year-old, as Nadal romped home to win the last set by breaking Djokovic and clinch the championship, with the best player in the men's game hitting an unforced error into the net

They last met in the Australian Open final won by Djokovic in straight sets. "He's my greatest rival of all time," Djokovic said. "Every time we get to play each other it's a thrill. The Czech player recently announced she promoted four-time Italian Open champion Conchita Martinez as her head coach.

Nadal will now head into the French Open ranked No. 2 in the world behind Djokovic.

The final also marked the first "bagel" - a failure to win a single game within a set - in 54 matches between the two. It's the first time Djokovic has been bageled since the 2017 French Open quarterfinals against Dominic Thiem, according to Christopher Clarey of The New York Times.

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The Latest: Italian Open champion Pliskova loses to Martic.
PARIS — The Latest on the French Open (all times local): ___ 12:35 p.m. Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova was eliminated from the French Open, ensuring that Naomi Osaka will hold onto the No. 1 ranking after the tournament. Pliskova lost to No. 31 Petra Martic 6-3, 6-3 in the third round. Pliskova entered the tournament with a seven-match winning streak, which included the Italian Open title, but she couldn't keep up with Martic on the long rallies on Court Philippe Chatrier, often bending over in exhaustion after extended points. It was Martic's tour-best 14th win on clay this season. The Croatian has not dropped a set in her opening three matches.

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