Martic & Pliskova set up semifinal meeting in Rome, Barty leaves injured

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Following Friday’s quarterfinal matches at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, we have the Petra Martic vs. Karolina Pliskova semifinal pair, while Coco Gauff, who advanced when top-ranked Ashleigh Barty retired injured, is still waiting for her next opponent, as the last eight match-up between Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek was postponed because of rain.

Petra Martic of Croatia
Petra Martic of Croatia

Petra Martic reached the biggest semifinal of her career with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Jessica Pegula, who was contesting her fourth quarterfinal of the season and advanced to the final eight without dropping a set.

The world No.25 Martic had as many as 17 break points in the encounter and five conversions were enough for her to record her fourth victory this week. Before the tournament in Rome, Martic had registered only four wins all season.

Petra Martic of Croatia
Petra Martic of Croatia

Commenting on her new coaching relationship with Francesca Schiavone, Martic explained:

It’s been great. When I was thinking of who I wanted next to me, she was the first name that I had in mind. She was such a great fighter, so intense, so positive at the same time. Those were all the things that I want to be on the court.

Jessica Pegula of the United States
Jessica Pegula of the United States

Martic’s semifinal opponent will be ninth seed Karolina Pliskova, who saved three match points at 5-4 in the third set before edging former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 4-6 7-5 7-6(1).

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic

Pliskova lifted the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title in 2019 and finished runner-up in 2020. Actually, the Czech has made the Rome semifinals for the third year in a row.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic

This week in Rome, Ostapenko won three matches in a row for the first time since title run at 2019 Luxembourg. Talking to the WTA Insider, Ostapenko attributed her success at the Italian Open to positive vibes:

I just like this tournament a lot, this city. I just enjoy time here so much. I think all this good feeling. In general I think the courts are good here. They fit my game, too.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia

Coco Gauff advanced to her first ever claycourt semifinal when world No.1 Ashleigh Barty retired in the second set of their rain-interrupted quarterfinal.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia & Cori Gauff of the United States embrace after Barty is forced to retire with injury from their quarterfinal at the 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA 1000 tournament

Wearing a wrapping on her left thigh and a compression sleeve on her right arm, Barty was leading 6-4 2-1 when she retired because of a right arm injury during the changeover, as the pain was becoming too severe.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia
Ashleigh Barty of Australia

After making a tough decision to stop and prevent the injury from getting worse, Barty explained:

It’s an injury that began when I was quite young, when I was 15 or 16 years old. It just pops up every now and again.

The fourth quarterfinal, the one between seed No.5 Elina Svitolina and seed No.15 Iga Swiatek, has been postponed due to rain and will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday. (photos: Jimmie48)


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