By Enrico Maria Riva
ROME – There must be a reason why tennis is about to allow one of the worst crimes of its centuries-old history.
There must be a reason why David Ferrer may someday end his career without not only not reaching a Slam final but even without haven’t captured a Masters 1000. That reason has a triple name: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. On Saturday it was Nadalâ€™s turn to deny Ferrer the Rome final in a “close” match 7-6, 6-0. Can you call “close” a match that ended 6-0 in the second set? Yes if the first one lasted 85 minutes and saw Ferrer with 11 chances to break the Nadal serve. Ferrer actually managed to take a 3-1 lead but he spent so much effort and so much energy in those 33 minutes that Nadal needed only four minutes to get the break back. The match was even until 6 all in the tiebreak and Nadal, once again, managed to prevail.
People in Rome didn’t seem to bother about Ferrerâ€™s feelings. They wanted Nadal in the final and that’s what they got. They had enough disappointments in the morning when Serena Williams suddenly announced that she was withdrawing from the tournament due to a lower back problem. Williams in her news conference candidly admitted that it was a precautionary withdrawal and that she was confident to be 100% in Paris for the French Open. Li Na will now participate in the Sunday final in the repeat of the Roland Garros 2011 semifinal against Maria Sharapova. The Russian is beyond any doubt the best player this week and she had no particular difficulties in beating the new top 10 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4. Too many mistakes for the German and a solid Sharapova with her serve and backhand.
Fans had high expectations for the night session. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer hadn’t met since the 2011 US Open and it was a good chance to test Federerâ€™s recent improvement. Also it’s not common that the No. 1 and the No. 2 in the world meet in the semifinals.Â Federer struggled the entire first set, with a very low serve percentage and a non functioning backhand and lost it 6-2. The second set followed the same plot until Djokovic served for the match at 5-4 and was broken after holding a match which was saved by a Federer crosscourt forehand winner. The Serbian didn’t immediately absorb the punch but managed to bring Federer to the tiebreak and closed the match. There is some concern about the Sundayâ€™s session because the weather forecast is not looking promising.