Nadal ends Opelka’s run, reaches 12th Rome final

 Nadal ends Opelka’s run, reaches 12th Rome final
ROME - Rafael Nadal extended his perfect Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-final record to 12-0 on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Reilly Opelka.

The nine-time champion claimed a single break in each set to move one win away from a record-equalling 36th ATP Masters 1000 title. Nadal is now also within touching distance of winning a single tour-level event on 10 or more occasions for the fourth time. The Spaniard already owns 13 Roland Garros crowns, 12 Barcelona trophies and 11 Monte-Carlo titles.

After saving two match points against Denis Shapovalov in the third round and nine of the 10 break points he faced against Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals, Nadal continued to find his best tennis in critical moments against Opelka. The second seed saved four break points at 2-1 in the first set and broke serve in two of the three games where he earned a break point to advance to the championship match.

“I did the thing that I had to do today,” Nadal said in his post-match interview. “It is not an easy, beautiful match to play and, [against] a player like Reilly, [you aren’t going to] have rhythm. You know you are going to have just a few options on your return and you know he can play very aggressive from the baseline. That is what happened at the beginning of the match. He had some options [for the] break and it was super important for me to save those moments.”

Cyclone Tauktae may intensify further in next 24 hours: Met dept

Opelka had not dropped serve en route to the semi-finals, having saved all six break points he had faced across his opening four matches. The American’s low first-serve percentage (52%) gave Nadal a chance to extend rallies and the Mallorcan used his opportunities well to reach a record-equalling 52nd Masters 1000 final.

Nadal’s semi-final victory marked a milestone moment in the 35-time Masters 1000 champion’s career. Nadal became the seventh man in the Open Era to contest 500 tour-level encounters on clay (458-42). The 34-year-old’s 91.6 per cent success rate, 61 titles, 81-match winning streak (2005-‘07) and 50-set winning streak (2017-‘18) are all Open Era clay-court records

Netherlands, Austria, England start with wins into Euro 2020

Neymar on target as Brazil rout Venezuela in Copa America opener

Cardona hands Colombia win over Ecuador in Copa America

Sheeza, Hamza lift double crowns in 1st PTF Development Series Jr Tennis

Miller, Kamran, Powell send Gladiators packing from PSL6

United beat Qalandars to top points table