Nadal and Pliskova Claim Italian Open Titles
(May 19, 2019) Rafael Nadal and Karolina Pliskova earned singles titles at the Italian Open on Sunday.
For world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, after losing the semifinals of the last three clay court events, the Spaniard is finally in the winner’s circle for 2019 earning the Rome crown with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win over No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The title for the 17-time major winner is a record-setting ninth Rome title, also giving him the record for Masters 100 events with 34, one ahead of Djokovic. He now has a total of 81 career titles.
For the Czech Pliskova, she earned her second title of the year with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Johanna Konta of Great Britain. The fourth seed won the Brisbane title back in January. Pliskova will move up to No. 2 in the world when the new rankings come out on Monday.
“Finally I have a title,” Nadal said to media after the match. “Here we are. Important title, important moment.”
“I played a great first set in all aspects,” Nadal said of his first-set bagel against Djokovic. “No mistakes. Playing so aggressive, changing directions.”
“It’s not usual and probably will not happen again.”
“Winning a title is important but for me the most important thing is feel myself competitive, feel myself healthy,” Nadal said.”
“Rafa was simply too strong today,” Djokovic said on court.
“I was just running out of fuel a little bit today,” the Serbian said to media during his news conference. “Just kind of missed that half a step, especially on the backhand side.”
“What means most to me is this trophy,” Nadal said of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. “Rome is one of the most important tournaments of the year. [It’s a big] part of the history of our sport. To be able to win here again is the main thing.”
Nadal heads into the French Open next Sunday aiming to win his 12th title in Paris.
As for Pliskova, this was her 13th career WTA title.
“I just hope to take the tennis I was playing here to Paris,” Pliskova said after the match. She admitted that she felt that no one gave her a chance to win Rome, not even herself. “For sure there’s going to be a chance for me if I play this way.”
Pliskova’s current coach is four-time Rome Champion Conchita Martinez.
“She loved clay so she knows exactly what I should do,” Pliskova said of her new coach. “ I know she loved this tournament. I think she prayed so I could win today.”