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Thiem gets his revenge on Rafael Nadal


By Robert Jones

Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Italian Open after a straight-sets defeat by rising star Dominic Thiem.

The quarter-final victory by Thiem avenged a defeat by the same opponent in last week's Madrid Open.

The Austrian won 6-4 6-3 against the 14-time Grand Slam winner in Rome for only his second victory in six meetings between the two.

The defeat ended the 30-year-old's unbeaten run on clay this year which had stretched to 17 matches.

They had last met in the final in Madrid less than a week ago, and that time it was the mercurial Spaniard who triumphed 7-6 (10/8) 6-4.

In the semi-finals, Germany's exceptional young talent Alexander Zverev will take on American John Isner.

Isner was an impressive 7-6 (7/3) 2-6 7-6 (7/2) winner against Croatian Marin Cilic, and then Zverev defeated Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 to book his place in the last four.

Meanwhile, Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep swept into the semi-finals of the Italian Open by beating Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-4.

She will now play Dutch 15th seed Kiki Bertens, who saw off Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3, in today's semi-final on the red Foro Italico clay.

"Today was a good match, but I can say that I could finish earlier in the second set," said Halep, who raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set and broke Kontaveit in the opening game of the second before winning.

In the third quarter-final, eighth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina beat Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6 to reach the final four in dominant fashion.

Spain's Garbine Muguruza defeated Venus Williams 6-2 3-6 6-2 in the final quarter-final.

• Hillsborough lads Peter and Sam Bothwell have made the doubles final of the $15,000 Futures event in Turkey.

The brothers defeated Victor Nunez and Maciej Smola 7-5 6-7 (4) (10-5).

Belfast Telegraph


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