Updated: May 20, 2021
What a blockbuster week of tennis, Madrid was a tough act to follow, but Rome delivered and then some! The historically iconic Italian capital was the perfect setting for the gladiatorial battles that ensued this week. Even the rain (despite its best efforts) couldn’t ruin this fantastic tournament, and if anything only added to the drama!
Well where does one begin, as previously stated this was a week filled with hard fought, high intensity battles. From the longest WTA match of the season on the opening day between Sara Sorribes Tormo and Camila Giorgi. The match went almost 4 hours and captivated the crowd, it was the Spaniard who triumphed in this epic encounter.
To the late night upset, between big favourite Dominic Thiem and the plucky young Italian Lorenzo Sonego. The atmosphere was electric for the evening, both men fought so hard, but it was home nation hero that would march on, as the US Open champion looks to regain his best form!
To the battle between World Number One, Novak Djokovic and the surging Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The match that was interrupted by the rain, not once but twice, stretched out over two days and had just about everything. Swaganos looked to have one foot in the semi final, one could argue the weather disrupted his momentum, but when it came down to the clutch moments, it was the Serb that found the way to win, as he often does!
As for the finals, we had two drastic comparisons. Firstly, Iga Swatiak destroyed Karolina Pliskova.... 6-0 6-0, Iga really seems to have found her stride, and with great timing a week out from her defence of the French Open title. I’ll get onto Pliskova later... but she has to be bitterly disappointed with this performance.
As for the men’s final, it was the 57th meeting between two of the all time greats, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It was the King of Clay who would claim his 10th Rome title, beating the World number one, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. In a final that showcased a great level of quality! This will be encouraging for Rafa fans heading into Roland Garros, but Djoker fans can take some positives from Nole‘s performance this week. Overall a great final.
Onto the highlights and funny moments of the week... Daniil Medvedev’s Clay court woes continued as he lost to fellow Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-4.
“You like to be in the dirt like a dog?” ~ Daniil Medvedev
Whether intentional or not, many found the World Number two’s antics amusing, including his good friend Andrey Rublev who was spotted giggling in the stands as he watched the match.
From one hilarious moment, to a potentially heated moment, as Gael Monfils, who played his first tennis match since the Australian Open, where he subsequently crashed out in the first round. Unfortunately came up short again, but it was after his three set loss to Lorenzo Sonego in the round of 32 (which wasn’t without controversy.) There seemed to be a slight altercation at the net, where he praised the Italian on a good match, but lectured him on being more respectful... one will see if the young talent takes the advice on board.
Now for your: Hero of the Week
Who else, but the home nation plucky underdog. He pipped the likes of Reilly Opelka, and Cori Gauff, who also made semi final appearances themselves. However the nature in which Sonego reached the last 4, beating as I’ve previously mentioned Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem... add to that a great win over Andrey Rublev and taking a set from Novak in the semi final a few hours after. He gave the Italian crowd something to cheer about, and one may notice he's been mentioned a lot here, but for me, he certainly deserves all the plaudits!
Finally, saving the best until last: Dosser of the Week #4
Becoming our first WTA “Winner” of the Award, narrowly defeating The Rain (yes you read correctly) was Karolina Pliskova, after failing to win a single game in the final, she was a late entry into the poll, but that didn’t save her, as the vote shifted drastically! Such a shame to end an otherwise great week so poorly, but I’m sure she will bounce back!
(You can vote @ https://discord.gg/fbUtMXKz )