Swiatek and Nadal win in Rome | Print edition
It’s historic, 6/0, 6/0 victory in the ‘WTA 1000’ final
The WTA-1000 and ATP-1000 events are prestige after the four Grand Slams in the professional tennis calendar. In the European clay circuit, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome are category “1000” events. The final is not a meeting place for beginners but two big names who are competing for a title. As such, 6/0, 6/0 is not an expected score as a result.
At 18, unknown Iga Swiatek [Shi-on-Tek] from Poland won the Roland Garros title last year. Now 19, she is one of the top 20 in the world. His tennis came to the European red clay courts. She lost in Madrid two weeks ago, well before the final. Last week, impressively, she reached the final in Rome. Her opponent was former world number one Carolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic. It was their first meeting. The match ended in less than an hour and the scores were embarrassing. Swiatek beat Pliskova 6/0, 6/0. Never has a professional tennis final been won at 6/0, 6/0. This will remain unexplained.
Classic Iga Match Temperament
Iga Swiatek is a second generation sportswoman. His parents were Polish Olympians [rowing]. Iga’s match-play temperament defies experts. For a year now, I’ve been following her after the phenomenal Roland Garros title in 2020. Her ability to play a point without being influenced by previous unfavorable scores is virtually unheard of in tennis. In Kipling’s mold, “she meets triumph and disaster and treats both impostors alike.” Iga’s matchmaking temperament is a sports psychologist’s dream come true. Roland Garros starts last week in May, the world will be watching Iga closely.
Foro Italico – Rome
This is the event for the Italian national title. Djokovic and Nadal, these two are effective but not consistent to win recently. In Rome last week they came to the final. As expected, a tactical game manifested itself. A mixture of skill and resilience, all the terrain shows itself with mental toughness. When Nadal won the first set in a close game, Djokovic came up with an innovative game by getting on and around the baseline in the second set and won it. Adjusting to Nadal’s pace from that position means making a lot of risky adjustments in taking punches. Djokovic has such abilities to play from all three positions on the pitch. He can play far behind the baseline like Nadal, around the baseline and at the net.
In the third set, Nadal also moved closer to the baseline, relinquishing his playing position closer to the linesmen. This reduced time availability in Djokovic. With both equally tired, Nadal lasted Djokovic in the third set, a typical eventuality on red clay. The red clay tires first the feet then the calves and the arms having to execute thousands of shots. The first to feel this will have to concede the game. In terms of expected tennis quality, these two players delivered it.
Rome also saw the Italian cluster appear so strong and consolidate. For a considerable time, Fognini was the lone warrior of Italy. His long appearance has encouraged many and now they have Matteo Berrettini in the top 10, three youngsters Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti in the top 100. They belong to New-Gen ATP players, like Tisitipas, Shapolov, Karatsev and AliAssime.
Ashleigh Barty, who won the Barcelona title, gave the match up with arm and thigh injuries. Of all the shots in tennis, the serve has the most potential to injure the playing arm and upper thigh. This is exactly what happened to Barty. She appeared for the game with her arm covered with a tubular support and was leading a set and 2/1 in the second set against Coco Gauff of the United States. When changing sides 2/1, she decided to retire in the quarterfinals. It must have been a difficult decision to make.
Mega Madrid event
Madrid have given away the biggest share of non-Grand Slam prizes so far this year. With the situation prevailing and with so many players playing in other places to avoid travel, the draw has not been the best. On the men’s side, the title went to Zverev, he produced his hat trick victory over Nadal in the quarter-finals in Madrid. He is the only one to have beaten Nadal three times in a row lately. Theim looked tired in the final and couldn’t hold Zverev in many departments.
The women’s event went to Sabalenka from Belarus. Her formidable power and movement dominate women’s tennis. She got her revenge for losing the title final in Barcelona to Ashleigh Barty. Sabalenka won the first set easily. In characteristic style, Barty won the second set. A motif that Barty often exposes before winning in three sets. This time she lost the third set against Sabalenka. Come to think of it, Barty’s physical restriction was slowing down the game. It’s so hard to win a game after losing the first set. Barty’s build and style is a ‘made to last’ image for tennis. These gave her the first place in women’s tennis. Its withdrawal with physical depression remains difficult to apprehend.
– George Paldano, former international player; Certified trainer of the German Tennis Federation; The national coach of Brunei and Sri Lanka, has coached the top 200 players ranked ATP, WTA and ITF,
Davis Cup, trainer of the Federation Cup.