Halep vs Svitolina

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Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep meet in the final of the 2018 tennis Rome Masters.

Elina Svitolina is coming off a straight sets win over Anett Kontaveit that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Svitolina won 68 percent of her first serve points and 65 percent of her second serve points. Svitolina had little trouble in the semifinals, winning 67 percent of her total service points and converting on four of five break chances. Svitolina has now won 22 of her last 29 sets on clay court and continues to have a great deal of success with her return. Svitolina has lost a combined 20 games in her last six sets. Svitolina hopes to win her third title of the year and the 12th title of her career. Svitolina has won each of her last seven final appearances and is 3-0 in finals on clay court. Svitolina has a chance at her fourth career Premier 5 Tournament title and her second straight Rome Masters title. Svitolina has won 10 of her last 12 matches on clay court.

Read more at https://sportschatplace.com/tennis-picks/2018/05/20/elina-svitolina-vs-simona-halep-2018-rome-masters-tennis-pick-preview-odds-prediction#yjAfFAiqWeDyawwv.99Simona Halep is coming off a three sets win over Maria Sharapova that took 27 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 52 percent of her first serve points and 36 percent of her second serve points. Halep is coming off her worst service performance of the season, but she still managed to win thanks to breaking 11 times. Halep won 63 percent of her return points and gave herself 17 break chances overall. Halep has to obviously play better this time around, but it’s nice to see she can win without playing her complete best. Halep hopes to win her second title of the year and her 17th of her career. Halep has lost five of her last six final appearances but is 1-0 in her career in final appearances on clay. Halep can win her fourth career Premier 5 Tournament title and first since the 2016 Canadian Open. Halep has won seven of her last eight matches on clay court.

These two have played four times and Svitolina has won three of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 WTA Championships, a match Svitolina won in straight sets. Halep’s only win over Svitolina came in the 2017 French Open.

You can make a case for either one of these players given their form and their recent history on clay, but I’m siding with Halep. She’s been the more consistent player this season and has the advantage serving wise. In two meetings on clay, Halep has also been the better player.

Give me Halep to win the title, but it will be close.

The latest installment in the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met expectations for one tight set.

Then Nadal pulled away for a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win to reach the Italian Open final on Saturday.

In their 51st meeting but first in more than a year, Nadal’s court coverage eventually proved too much to handle for Djokovic, who is still regaining his form from a persistent right elbow injury.

“That was a tough battle, a good level of tennis, a combination of good tactics and great shots from both of us,” said Nadal, who has had injury trouble of his own over the past year.

Nadal’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be defending champion Alexander Zverev, who recovered from an early break in the second set to beat Marin Cilic 7-6 (13), 6-4.

Zverev destroyed his racket near the end of the tiebreak in which he saved five set points. The German player is aiming for his third title in three weeks after lifting trophies in Munich and Madrid — but he hasn’t beaten Nadal in four tries.

“On this surface (Nadal) is almost unbeatable,” Zverev said. “I’ll have to play my best.”

If Nadal wins his record-extending eighth Rome title, he will replace Roger Federer at No. 1.

Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Simona Halep rallied past three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will again face Elina Svitolina for the trophy.

Svitolina comfortably defeated Anna Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

In last year’s final, Svitolina came back to beat Halep after the Romanian rolled her ankle.

“I hope I don’t get injured again,” Halep said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

This is the last major warmup before the French Open starts next weekend.

The first set alone of Nadal-Djokovic made the Open era’s most prolific men’s rivalry worth watching. Djokovic recovered from an early break with excellent shot-making and Nadal converted his first set point with a return winner on the line after Djokovic followed his serve to the net.

During one particularly entertaining point midway through the first set, Nadal ran down a drop shot and forced Djokovic to retreat with a smartly angled response before Djokovic came forward again to finish the point off with a volley winner.

Fans stood up and applauded them on multiple occasions.

“It was a really good quality match,” Djokovic said. “I enjoyed it.”

After losing the first set tiebreak, Djokovic started shouting at his support box in an apparent discrepancy over tactics — then did it again on the next changeover.

Nadal got an early break in the second set and never looked back.

Djokovic noted that at 3-3 in the tiebreak he had to go play against the wind, “which is a huge difference” when playing Nadal.

“Those are the little details in tennis that only players and people who were on the court know,” Djokovic said.

Still, this was Djokovic’s best performance of the year.

“I played four matches here and I didn’t expect anything coming into this tournament,” Djokovic said. “I’m pleased with how I played the last three days — very pleased — and hopefully Roland Garros can be a continuation of this run.”

Sharapova appeared worn out toward the end of her nearly 2 1/2-hour match against Halep, having been on court more than seven hours longer than her opponent this week.

The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

Kontaveit, an Estonian, could still be pleased with a week that saw her eliminate four established players: 12th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1999 champion Venus Williams and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.Top-ranked Simona Halep rallied past three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will again face Elina Svitolina for the Italian Open trophy.

Sharapova appeared worn out toward the end of her nearly 2 1/2-hour match against Halep, having been on court more than seven hours longer than her opponent this week.The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

Defending champion Svitolina returned to the Italian Open final with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over Anna Kontaveit.

Aiming for the third title defense in her career, Svitolina will face either top-ranked Simona Halep or three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova in Sunday’s championship match on the red clay of the Foro Italico.

“I’m happy with the way I handled today under pressure and all this week,” Svitolina said following her victory Saturday. “I know there is one match to go and I will give it my best shot tomorrow.”

The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

“I was really solid with my performance and I was really proud that I could stay consistent for the entire match,” Svitolina said.

Kontaveit, an Estonian, could still be pleased with a week that saw her eliminate four established players: 12th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1999 champion Venus Williams and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.

“She was really tough today and played great,” Kontaveit said. “So I’m just taking the positives from this week.”

Halep and Sharapova were meeting later on a warm day in the Italian capital. This is the last major warm-up before the French Open starts next weekend.

Regions Tradition 2018

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Gene Sauers were tied atop the leaderboard at the midway point of the Regions Tradition, the year’s first major. Each sat at 11 under, two shots clear of the field.

Jimenez continued his stellar play, seizing the lead unto himself with a bogey-free 66 that put him at 17 under. He has only one bogey all week and will take a three-shot lead into the final round.

Sauers faltered a bit, shooting a 2-under 70 to fall back into a tie for third at 13 under with Kevin Sutherland and Joe Durant.

Several of the biggest names on PGA TOUR Champions put themselves in position on moving day for a final-round charge at Jimenez.

The biggest mover was Brandt Jobe, one of five players (including Jimenez) to card a 6-under 66 and ride the elevator up the leaderboard. His 66 vaulted him 28 spots into a tie for 22nd at 6 under. Jobe had seven birdies and could have gone lower were it not for a bogey on the par-5 15th, a hole he had birdied on Friday.

The second-biggest jump overall was recorded by two-time Regions Tradition defending champion Bernhard Langer. Another of the players to fire a 66, the German climbed from T-39 to T-13 at 8 under through three rounds. Langer was even par for his third round through 10 holes, but he played the final eight holes in 6 under, including an eagle on the par-5 13th.

The other 66s were turned in by Rocco Mediate, who cruised into a tie for sixth (up 20 spots), and Duffy Waldorf, who moved from 32nd into solo 12th. It was Waldorf’s lowest round of 2018; he has yet to post a top 10 this year after six such finishes in 2017.

Steve Stricker turned in the low round of the day, a 7-under 65 that moved him into solo second at 14 under. His round was jump-started by an eagle-2 on the par-4 eighth when he holed a 9-iron from 157 yards. He will enter the final round three shots behind Jimenez as he seeks his third PGA TOUR Champions win this season and his first major.BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (AP) — Miguel Angel Jimenez wasn’t about to change his evening plans even with a shot at winning his first senior major championship.

Jimenez shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Regions Tradition and planned to relax with cocktails and a cigar.

“I think I’m going to do exactly the same thing I did (Friday) night,” he said. “I’m going to have a margarita as an aperitif, and then I’m going to have a nice bottle of Rioja (wine) and smoke a big fat cigar.”

Jimenez birdied the final hole to reach 17-under 199 at Greystone Golf & Country Club, matching Gil Morgan’s 54-hole Tradition record set in 1997. Steve Stricker was second in the first of five PGA Tour Champions majors.

Jimenez has six top-five finishes in senior majors but is seeking his first victory. The Spaniard has four PGA Tour Champions titles.

Jimenez got his fourth birdie over the final nine holes on No. 18 after caroming his approach shot off the grandstands and back to about 15 feet from the hole. That set up a two-putt for birdie.

Stricker eagled the par-4 eighth in a 65. He estimated his eagle was about 158 yards with a 9-iron, and he didn’t get to watch it go in.

“It was kind of over a little knob, a bunker that we couldn’t see the green,” he said. “And then birdied 9, so that two-hole stretch kind of really got my momentum going, made the turn in 4 under instead of maybe 2 or something like that.”

Kevin Sutherland, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers were four shots back. Durant shot 67, Sutherland 68, and Sauers 70.

Sauers had shared the second-round lead with Jimenez. He was a shot back before a double bogey on No. 15 when his approach shot went into the woods right of the fairway and he wound up three-putting.

Sauers had opened with his first bogey of the tournament on No. 1 but then started a run of five straight birdies on the 10th hole.

Durant closed with his second eagle of the round on No. 18.

“I got really lucky because I pulled my second shot, and I didn’t think it would carry the water to be quite honest, but it did,” Durant said. “And I took advantage and made a good putt.”

Durant also had an eagle on the second hole and one birdie with no bogeys. He eagled No. 18 in the first round as well.

Sutherland had four birdies and a bogey over the final nine holes. He closed with a birdie.

Stricker wound up with five birdies and a bogey and his 28th consecutive round under par, the fourth longest streak in Tour history.

Stricker already has two wins and is second in the points standings despite playing in only four other tournaments.He’ll be chasing Jimenez, whose potential eagle on No. 13 was on target but hit the flag to set up a tap-in for birdie.

Jimenez birdied on par-3 No. 14 from the edge of the green after just clearing the bunker. Those kind of shots helped him have an even better time on the course than usual.

“Of course, you cannot beat this,” Jimenez said. “Look at our office. Beautiful sunshine, nice grass, nice golf course, nice people around, you know. You can’t beat this, really. I enjoy it.

“I always tend to enjoy myself on the golf course. That’s the main thing, that you are happy.”

Two-time defending champion Bernhard Langer shot a 66 but is still nine shots back. He had four birdies, an eagle and a bogey on the first nine holes to move to 8 under.

Langer came in seeking to become the first to win three straight since the Tradition started in 1989.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kingsmill Championship 2018

Way to Watch Kingsmill Championship 2018 Kingsmill Championship teed off Thursday morning amid a sketchy weather forecast for the week. Check below for live updates leading into the tournament.

6:45 P.M.

Five-way tie for lead
Two players in the afternoon group — Jaye Marie Green and In Gee Chun — shot 6-under-par 65 to forge a five-way tie for the lead with Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz and Annie Park.

It’s the first time a first round at Kingsmill has ever had more than three players tied for the lead.

4:41 P.M.

6 under holding strong, but two with 2 shots
The trio of 65s that Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz and Annie Park shot this morning have held up for a few hours now.

But two players — Jaye Marie Green and Angel Yin — on are the course at 4 under for the round.

Neither player has finished in the top 50 at Kingsmill in their career. Yin, 19, has a top 10 this season and is ranked 50th in the world. Green, 24, has four top 10s in 96 career LPGA Tour starts. The former University of Florida star has made three straight cuts and posted a season-best T15 in San Francisco in late April.

Soft greens have helped 70 players shoot under par, while 26 are within three shots of the lead.

3:39 P.M.

Another Korda on the move
With sister Jessica Korda tied for the lead, younger sister Nelly Korda has jumped up the leaderboard at Kingsmill.

The 19 year old made three birdies on the back nine — she started at No. 10 — to pull within three shots of her sister, Azahara Munoz and Annie Park.

Jaye Marie Green is having the best round so far of the afternoon groupings, going 4 under through her first seven holes.

Angel Yin and Dani Holmqvist are at 3 under among afternoon players.

3 P.M.

Korda, Park talk about early rounds
Both Jessica Korda and Annie Park spoke with the media after their 65s.

Park has only played in three events on the LPGA Tour this year after competing some on the Symetra Tour this season.

2 P.M.

Rain picking up as lead stays at 6 under
Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz and Annie Park remain on top of the leaderboard as the morning groups finished up.

There’s been a pretty steady rain that started around noon at the River Course.

An early standout rom the afternoon groups: former Kingsmill champion Karrie Webb is 3 under through five holes. Ryann O’Toole has also played well, shooting 4 under through five holes.

The final afternoon groups teed off at 2:11 p.m., so every player will get at least some of their round in regardless of weather conditions hold up this afternoon.

1 P.M.

Three tied for the lead
A flurry of finishes has pushed Jessica Korda, Annie Park and Azahara Munoz into a tie for the lead at 6 under as most of the morning groupings wrap up.

Korda may a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18, while Park went birdie-eagle-birdie on Nos. 14-16 to get to 6 under. Munoz made a birdie on No. 8 — she started on the back nine — and parred the 9th to tied in the lead.

Minjee Lee, Catriona Matthew and Yu Liu are two shots back.

11:45 A.M.

Munoz, Park lead at 5 under
Azahara Munoz (Spain/Arizona State) started with a bogey on the 10th hole, but she’s birdied six holes since to hold the lead at 5 under.

She’s joined at the top by Annie Park (USA/Southern Cal) and Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Canada/Oklahoma). Both Munoz and Park are former NCAA individual champions.

Jessica Korda and Daniela Darquea are at 4 under.

11:17 A.M.

New leader at 5 under
Azahara Munoz started with a bogey on the 10th hole, but she’s birdied six holes since to hold the solo lead at 5 under.

Emma Talley is a shot back at 4 under.

Annie Park is a shot behind the leaders in a group with Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Daniela Darquea and Anne-Catherine Tanguay.

10:56 A.M.

Tanguay leads a strong group
Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Canada) birdied four of her first six holes to take an early lead in the opening round of the Kingsmill Championship.

Tanguay, who’s made only cut this season and is ranked 446th in the world, holds a one-shot lead over Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz, Minjee Lee and Emma Talley.

Thirty players are currently under par.

10:20 A.M.

Former champion, three others tied for lead
Minjee Lee, the 2015 Kingsmill champion, jumped into the lead at 3 under through seven holes. She’s joined by Yu Liu, Jessica Korda (both through eight holes) and Canadian Anne-Catherine Tanguay.

Another eight players are a shot back.

9:24 A.M.

Large group tied at 2 under
China’s Yu Liu jumped out to an early lead at 3 under with birdies on three of her first four holes before a bogey pushed her back to 2 under.

The group joining her at 2 under: Annie Park (USA), Brianna Do (USA), I.K. Kim (South Korea), Laetitia Beck (Israel) and Jessica Korda (USA).

8:40 A.M.

Do, Liu grab early lead
With 43 golfers on the course early in the opening round of the Kingsmill Championship, Brianna Do and Yu Liu grabbed an early lead at 2 under. They top a group of 10 golfers who are under par for the round.

Do, an American who made last year’s tournament through the Monday qualifier, birdied Nos. 1 and 3 and is through five holes.

A native of China, Liu made birdies on the only two holes she has played, the par 4 1st and the par-3 2nd.

Among the other highlights at 1 under: Jessica Korda, I.K. Kim and Pernilla Lindberg.

EARLIER

Kingsmill Championship in pictures
Take a look at photos from all week at the Kingsmill Championship at the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort.

PHOTOS

Rain dots the forecast this week
With Thursday’s opening round of the Kingsmill Championship approaching, the forecast calls for at least a 90-percent chance of thunderstorms on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. How is Kingsmill and the LPGA preparing?

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Thursday’s featured pairings
A look at some of the top groupings in the first round of the Kingsmill Championship.

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Lexi Thompson inspired by her mom’s battles with cancer
The Kingsmill Championship has long been Judy and Lexi Thompson’s mother-daughter week. No offense to the rest of the family, especially Lexi’s father and two brothers, but they’re just not invited.

Judy and Lexi bunk at the nearby Greenspring Vacation Resort in a condo Judy calls “homey.” Mom prepares chicken, tacos and salads, all her daughter’s faves. Lexi exhales from the pressures of LPGA Tour celebrity and spends quality time with the woman she calls her best friend.

“It’s like a little house,” Judy said Tuesday, relaxing inside Kingsmill’s Conference Center. “It’s comfy, and that’s important.”

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Pernilla Lindberg is riding high after her first major win
Nine-year LPGA Tour veteran Pernilla Lindberg made her first victory a major at the ANA Inspiration in April.

“There have been times where there was some doubt there if I’m going to (win),” she said Wednesday on the eve of her sixth Kingsmill Championship. “But now I’ve obviously proved to myself that I can do it, but also I’ve shown everyone else that I can do it.

“Next time I’m in contention, or even next time I’m in a playoff, I’ve been there before and other girls now know I’ve been there before and how tough I am in that situation.”

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Kingsmill Championship interactive timeline
A look at what’s happened on the LPGA Tour this season and in the major championships since last year’s Kingsmill Championship.

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Kingsmill Championship interactive field database
Take a deeper look at the 2018 Kingsmill Championship field.

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University of Richmond star thrilled to be in the field
Elsa Diaz doesn’t seem overwhelmed by playing in her first LPGA event. In fact, sitting before the press twice in the last four weeks leading up to the Kingsmill Championship, she’s been anything but.

“I try to envision what kind of pressure I’m going to feel,” Diaz said. “You know, the crowd and all. But all I see is me and Lexi becoming best friends and me and Natalie going shopping.”

That would be Lexi Thompson, whose career earnings have topped $7.5 million, and Natalie Gulbis, one of the biggest celebrities on the LPGA Tour. Diaz isn’t scared of playing against these people. She’s dreaming about socializing with them.

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Dorsey Addicks, Emily Tubert reel in Kingsmill Championship qualifying spots
Dorsey Addicks and Emily Tubert shoot 1-under par 70 to qualify for the LPGA Kingsmill Championship.

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Players to watch at the Kingsmill Championship
A look at some of the key players for the 2018 LPGA Kingsmill Championship.

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Kingsmill tournament officials confident they’ll find title sponsor
Armed with an extended contract, new presenting sponsor and typically superb field, the Kingsmill Championship has palpable momentum. Advance ticket sales are up; Wednesday’s pro-am is sold out for the first time in a decade, and defending champion Lexi Thompson is among the sport’s most recognizable names — she’s closing in on 500,000 Twitter followers.

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Kingsmill ‘on the upswing’ going into 14th LPGA tourney
A year ago, the mood at Kingsmill was a mixture of hope and caution.

Hope because its new owner was a golf-minded company that operates 16 courses in nine states. Caution because the tournament’s contract with the LPGA was in its final year.

But at Tuesday’s media day, with the event itself four weeks away, it was all hope. A successful 2017 tournament led to a contract extension, and the Kingsmill Championship will remain on the LPGA’s schedule for another three years.

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U.S. Open-like conditions await stout Kingsmill field
Two weeks after the Kingsmill Championship next month, the world’s premier female golfers will compete at the U.S. Women’s Open in Alabama. Such time and distance proximity figures to keep Lexi Thompson’s River Course record safe.

With rounds of 65-65-69-65, Thompson dismantled Kingsmill last year, her 20-under-par aggregate besting Annika Sorenstam’s 2008 standard by one stroke. She made all of two bogeys on the par-71 layout and hit 64 of 72 greens in regulation.

But Pete Dye’s River Course may not be as accommodating this May, for two reasons.

TYR Pro Swim Series 2018

Editorial content for the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series Indianapolis is sponsored by SwimOutlet.com. Visit SwimOutlet.com for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check out our event coverage page.

After shattering the World Record in the 1500 and the U.S. Open mark in the 400 freestyle, Katie Ledecky will be back in the water on the final night of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series Indianapolis in the 800 distance. She owns the top seed in the event as does Club Wolverine’s Felix Auboeck who will be heavily challenged by Mission Viejo’s Zane Grothe.

After posting the top time in this morning’s prelims, Katie Drabot will not be competing the 200 butterfly in tonight’s finals. Veteran Hali Flickinger will look to secure the win in this event. Other top seeds include Chase Kalisz in the 200 fly, Indiana duo Lilly King and Cody Miller in the 100 breaststroke, Ali Deloof and Jacob Pebley in the 100 backstroke and Melanie Margalis and Daniel Sos in the 200 IM.Friday night finals are set to get underway from Indianapolis at the TYR Pro Swim Series, with plenty of heavy hitters raring to go in a fast night of racing.

Katie Ledecky will take on a tough double in the 400 IM and 200 free, though the timeline indicates she’ll have over an hour between the two. Melanie Margalis took the 2nd seed to Ledecky in both events this morning, but has scratched the 200 to solely focus on the 400 IM.

Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz will have an intriguing battle in the men’s 400 IM, while Nathan Adrian (50 free), Jacob Pebley (200 back) and Blake Pieroni (200 free) would have to be considered favorites in the other three men’s events.

Simone Manuel and Taylor Ruck will clash once again in the 50 free after going 1-2 in the heats, while Manuel will also contest the 200 free and Ruck the 200 back.Melanie Margalis of Saint Petersburg and reigning NCAA champion Ella Eastin separated themselves from the field on the breaststroke leg of the women’s 400 IM, but Margalis’ freestyle was the difference maker as she charged home in 29.52 to win in a time of 4:36.81, a new PB. Margalis, who sat 7th in the world rankings with her 4:37.43 at the Austin Pro Swim, moves up to 4th in the world.

Eastin ended up 2nd in 4:38.43, slotting her into 11th in the world, while top seed from prelims Katie Ledecky moved up from 7th at the 300 to 3rd at the finish in 4:38.88, thanks to a sub-minute final 100. Eastin’s swim was a personal best.

Hali Flickinger (4:40.36) had a strong freestyle leg as well for 4th, and Ally McHugh (4:40.51) nearly ran her down but settled for 5th. Leah Smith had a solid rebound swim after a sub-par 4:52 in prelims, winning the B-final in 4:43.20.To no surprise Chase Kalisz was the leader wire-to-wire in the men’s 400 IM, looking strong on all four strokes as he won by over six seconds in 4:10.55. His 4:08.92 from Atlanta is #1 in the world this season, but that swim is still faster than the 2nd ranked man (Kosuke Hagino, 4:10.69).

Jay Litherland maintained 2nd place throughout the race, characteristically closing strong in 57.8 to go 4:17.09, with youngster Daniel Sos hot on his tail for 3rd in 4:18.12. That swim is a new best time for Sos, who previously had a best of 4:20.46 from the World Junior Championships last summer.

Gunnar Bentz (4:21.34) closed in 27.89 attempting to run down Sean Grieshop for 4th, but ran out of room with Grieshop (4:21.05) holding him by three tenths.Stanford sophomore Katie Ledecky won the 800 free on the final day of the TYR Pro Swim Series at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis on Saturday.

The world record holder and Olympic gold medalist earned her fourth win in four days of her professional debut.

Ledecky was timed in 8:07.27, the third fastest in history, and her best since earning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Cardinal senior and Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel completed her first meet as a professional with a fifth-place finish in the 100 back in 1:01.11.

Ledecky and Manuel, who led Stanford to back-to-back national titles, were joined by several Stanford teammates who are swimming unattached.

Brooke Forde turned in a third-place finish in the 200 IM, racing a 2:13.46; Megan Byrnes was fourth in the 800 free (8:35.90); and Hannah Kukurugya finished fifth in the 200 fly in 2:14.06.

Erin Voss and Lauren Pitzer each swam in a ‘B’ final. Voss placed 12th overall in the 100 back (1:01.96) and Pitzer was 14th in the 800 free (8:49.05).

Katie Drabot swam 2:08.38 during prelims to earn the top seed in the 200 fly and Ella Eastin swam the third-fastest time in 2:10.17, though neither of them swam in the finals.

Eastin went 2:12.97 as the top seed in the 200 IM prelims and Allie Szekely swam 2:16.36, just behind Forde, and then both scratched from the finals. Drabot also competed in just the prelims.

Stanford’s Simone Manuel threw down an impressive 24.59 to edge out Margo Geer and Taylor Ruck to win the women’s 50 freestyle, moving her up into 10th in the world after getting into the top-20 this morning.

Geer was 24.72 for 2nd, which improves her lifetime best of 24.78 done earlier this year, and Ruck proved she’s a consistent 24-second swimmer by dipping below 25 again in 24.76. She sits 7th in the world with her 24.26 from the Commonwealth Games.

Mallory Comerford (25.09) took 4th, and Kayla Sanchez (25.33) edged Kelsi Dahlia (25.36) for 5th.After going 48-point once again last night in the 100 free final, Nathan Adrian produced another sub-22 second 50m swim tonight in 21.97, picking up the victory of Indiana’s Ali Khalafalla and Wolfpack Elite’s Justin Ress. Adrian drops his season best by just over a tenth, and jumps up from tied for 23rd to tied for 12th in the world.

Khalafalla took off over three tenths from the morning for 2nd in 22.14, finishing just .02 off his lifetime best. Ress, who went a PB of 22.36 in prelims, had his second fastest swim ever in 22.51. Aaron Greenberg (22.63), Ryan Held (22.64) and Blake Pieroni (22.80) were the other three sub-23 for 4th, 5th and 6th.

Billboard Music Awards 2018

How To Stream The 2018 Billboard Music Awards Red Carpet Because You Don’t Want To Miss A Single Look

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards are upon us! The ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 20 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. This year, the show will broadcast live on NBC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Of course fashion fans are most interested in streaming the 2018 Billboard Music Awards red carpet. This particular awards show is not quite as fancy as the Grammys — the fashions are a lot looser and funkier.

Think of it as the street style-loving kid sister of the American Music Awards or the MTV VMAs who is just starting to experiment with higher end, sexier looks. So, yeah, the clothes always slay. Short dresses and edgy pantsuits are preferred over intricate, couture gowns at this show.

While you definitely want to tune in to the NBC broadcast of the actual show in order to watch the performances and to see who wins what award, there’s nothing quite like seeing the stars strut their stuff on the red carpet beforehand.

Here’s how to watch the fashion festivities.

E! News will host “Live From the Red Carpet” special prior to the show. It airs at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. So you will want to make a note in your calendar now to park yourself on your couch and in front of the TV for the sartorial parade.However, if you don’t have cable and therefore don’t have access to E!, you should be able to livestream the fashion coverage via the E! site.

The network has not confirmed livestream details as of press time. But we’ll keep you updated. Billboard has not confirmed when, where, and how to stream the red carpet via its digital properties yet, either.That said, here’s who and what to look out for. Diva Kelly Clarkson is serving as the host while Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato are slated to perform. That means that most, if not all, of those talented ladies will be getting dressed up and walking the red carpet.

Since Xtina has been streamlining her look as of late —her stunning and bare-faced Paper cover being a prime example — she is definitely going to be one to watch when it comes to her attire. Will her fashions go from Stripped to stripped down? Tune in and find out.

In addition to watching the fashions on TV or via livestreams, you can also check the Twitter and Instagram feeds of all your favorite artists. They tend to post images while getting their makeup did before the actual ceremony or while on their way to the show. You can get a sneak peek at the outfits and enjoy a bird’s eye view of their preparation process via socials.

In honor of the upcoming BBMAs red carpet, let’s revisit the fashions of the past.

NASCAR All-Star Race 2018

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CONCORD, N.C. – Kevin Harvick’s answer to NASCAR’s new competition package was the same old song—another victory in a season that already has produced a surfeit of success.

This time it was Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with a restrictor-plate limiting the horsepower and a large blade on the rear of the cars providing downforce and maneuverability.

Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was still the strongest car in the field, and the driver who already has five points wins this season added another in the marquee exhibition race, taking control of the event with an overtime surge at the end of the 20-lap third stage and sealing the victory by outrunning Daniel Suarez in the final two-lap drag race to the finish.With lane choice on the final restart, Harvick picked the top lane in front of eventual third-place finisher Joey Logano. The choice paid off, as Logano gave the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford a strong push off the second corner, allowing Harvick to clear the No. 19 Toyota on the backstretch.

“I thought on that last restart that my best opportunity was Logano,” Harvick acknowledged. “He’s one of the best on the restarts. I knew he would work with me as good as possible, because that’s just the way that most of us do it from Ford. We were able to just stay even through (Turns) 1 and 2, and I really thought once we got to the backstretch we could clear him.

I didn’t want to be on the bottom. I didn’t feel my car was stable enough to be under someone when they were on my right side. I had to take my lumps through 1 and 2 and hope that the guy behind me was still with me when we got to the exit of 2, and we were able to win.”

The third-stage victory also proved critical. In the second attempt at overtime, Harvick passed Kyle Larson for the top spot and held on to win the stage. That gave him lane choice for the final stage, and he never relinquished the lead.

“We needed to be in control of the race to have a chance at winning,” Harvick said. “If we were third or fourth, we would have been in big trouble. We needed to be on the front row with clean air, because that was the only chance our car would handle good enough. It was so fast.”Harvick picked up his second victory in the All-Star Race, the first won coming in 2007. The winner of the previous two points races, at Dover and Kansas, Harvick didn’t earn championship points for his victory at Charlotte, but he did claim the $1-million prize that goes to the winner.

Leading every lap of the final 10-lap segment of the scheduled 80-lap event, Harvick crossed the finish line .325 seconds ahead of Suarez, who came close to clearing Harvick off the second corner after the final restart but didn’t have enough room to slide up in front of the No. 4.

Denny Hamlin was fourth, followed by Chase Elliott, who earned the last spot in the 21-car main event via the Fan Vote. Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10. Kahne rallied from four laps down after contact with the frontstretch wall on Lap 56.

Suarez got a push from Hamlin on the final restart, but the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates didn’t stay connected as long as Harvick and Logano did.

“The 11 (Hamlin) was doing a very good job as much as he could to push me,” Suarez said. “For whatever reason, he just disconnected a little bit, and I couldn’t keep the run with the 4 (Harvick) and the 22 (Logano).

“They stayed connected for the entire corner, and after that I knew it was going to be tough. After that, I started just playing defense. I tried to slow them down, and I just didn’t do a good job or I just couldn’t do it enough.”

A six-car wreck that started near the apex of Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 75—during the first attempt at overtime at the end of Stage 3—eliminated the strong cars of Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski, both of whom led laps in the event.Truex entered the corner four-wide with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. below him, Clint Bowyer to his outside at Kurt Busch at the top of the track. Contact with Stenhouse’s Ford sent Truex’s Toyota up the track into Bowyer’s Ford, trapping Busch against the outside wall. Kyle Busch’s Camry also sustained damage in the wreck.

“We had a really strong race car and felt like we maybe had a shot to win it,” Truex said. “Just four-wide going into (Turn) 3 there, and we all just ran out of room. The 17 (Stenhouse), I had him squeezed down so low, I just don’t know that he could hold it down there.

“I was trying to keep the 14 (Bowyer) to my outside and just one those deals at the end of the race. I knew we had to get through that green-white-checkered to have a shot to win, but I also knew if I lifted there, I would have been the only one that lifted, and the others would have went on and passed me, and we wouldn’t have won this thing.”

Fans got their first look at the new competition package in the Monster Energy Open, which produced scintillating racing and multiple lead changes in each of the three stages. Race winner Allmendinger advanced to the main event, along with Stage 1 winner Alex Bowman and Stage 2 winner Suarez, who fell one spot short of the rare feat of winning the All-Star Race after transferring from the Open.Harvick led the final 25 laps of the first stage. All told, he led 36 of the 93 laps (with the race extended 13 laps by the Stage 3 overtimes)… Kyle Busch led the final 19 laps of Stage 2 as the only driver other than Harvick to take a checkered flag on Saturday… Harvick’s pit crew climbed the frontstretch catch fence en masse after the victory… Truex led three times for 17 laps before being wiped out in the Lap 75 wreck.

Giro d’Italia 2018

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Giro d’Italia 2018: Live stream, TV channel, route, stages, schedule and more Chris Froome proved to be king of the mountain as the Team Sky rider raced back into the reckoning by winning Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, finishing the brutal climb up Monte Zoncolan ahead of race leader Simon Yates.

Yates stretched his overall lead over defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands to one minute 24 seconds, with Froome’s first-ever stage win at the Italian road race rocketing him up to fifth place from 12th in the general classification.

The four-time Tour de France champion, whose first two weeks in Italy were blighted by injury, still trails Yates by three minutes 10 seconds.

Froome finished the 186km stage with a lead of six seconds as the peloton disintegrated on what is widely regarded to be one of the most punishing climbs in European cycling.

But what do the full standings look like after the latest day of racing?It may have been the longest day of the race – with an unforgiving parcours featuring very little flat roads – but no one expected such drama as the Giro resumed following the second of three rest days.

Entering the stage with both team leaders occupying the first and second spot on the provisional podium, Mitchelton-Scott ended the day with Yates’ lead slightly extended – but with Chaves’ hopes of a podium finish blown to smithereens.

A flurry of early attacks ahead of the fateful Fonte della Creta climb saw a break of 17 riders – including Mohoric – eventually come together on the 16km Cat.2 climb. Local rider Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) took maximum points over the top to commemorate the victims of the tragic avalanche which killed 29 people and destroyed the nearby Hotel Rigopiano in January 2017.

Mohoric gave a glimpse of what was in store by breaking clear of his fellow escapees on the descent before being reeled in ahead of the next climb. By now, however, the gap back to the peloton had already come down after the early distancing of Chaves had spurred Team Sky – sniffing blood – onto the front.Ciccone picked up maximum points here, too, before sitting up with the majority of the break as the peloton closed in. Krists Nielands (Israel Cycling Academy) and Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) dug deep to keep the break alive in the pouring rain before Martin, the last man standing, called it a day with 137km remaining.

Despite coming down to 70 seconds, the gap started to grow again as Bora-Hansgrohe, Groupama-FDJ, LottoNL-Jumbo and Sunweb all had reason to help pulling alongside Sky.

And once Quick-Step threw in the towel and gave up on the hope of a hat-trick of stage wins for Viviani, the floodgates opened. Chaves led the chase in vain for a few kilometres before Mitchelton-Scott reassessed the situation and cut their losses.

With the team’s focus now firmly on Yates, the 25-year-old former track star symbolically came right to the front of the race in an intermediate sprint showdown with Pinot.

After the Frenchman attacked for bonus seconds, Yates showed his form by surging past Pinot and taking three seconds from his rivals, with his Groupama-FDJ rival settling for two seconds.

In the lull that followed, Italian veteran Frapporti attacked with 85km remaining and soon established a lead of almost three minutes on the pack.

AT&T Byron Nelson 2018

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Aaron Wise made bogey on the final hole to set up a tie with Marc Leishman at 17 under entering the final round. They’re four shots ahead of the field and looking to duel it out come Sunday.

4:30 p.m.: Kevin Na in for birdie at 14 to get to 14 under on the week, now just two shots back of Wise and alone in third. Just one top-10 this season but he made it count, with a T-2 at the Genesis Open in February. Has a good chance to snag his first PGA Tour win since 2011.

3:50 p.m.: Plenty of talk about golf being a young man’s game these days and that will likely continue with Wise on top, but this leaderboard proves the PGA Tour isn’t just for the millennials. Inside the top three alone we have 21-year-old Wise, 34-year-old Leishman, 38-year-old Matt Jones and 46-year-old Brian Gay. Speaking of 20-somethings, Jordan Spieth is even par for the day and 7 under on the week, currently T-29 through 17.

3:30 p.m.: With the course playing quite a bit tougher today than it did earlier in the week, Aaron Wise leads by one at 16 under for the week. He’s 2 under today through 10 and Marc Leishman is even through 10, remaining at 15 under where he began the day. Wise, 21, finished T-2 at the Wells Fargo Championship his last time out and is once again proving he’s comfortable when the pressure is on.It takes a special brand of something to move a highly successful PGA event from an extremely efficient locale and transport it to a venue that fans are likely to find more challenging while designing a course that runs counter to everything that tour pros come to expect on a weekly basis.

Courage is one word that comes to mind to describe that something. Crazy might fit just as easily.

Regardless, the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship moves into its final round Sunday with a leaderboard that’s not likely to inspire huge ratings on the national scale. Rookie Aaron Wise and veteran Marc Leishman are tied at 17 under par in what will be a match play finish unless one of the four men gathered four or five strokes back makes a significant charge on the Trinity Forest layout.Leishman is one of just six players in the golf world’s top 55 to enter this event and one of three still standing. Two of the biggest names, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar, failed to make the cut and Kuchar expressed his preference for the TPC Four Seasons layout after Thursday’s round.

The one golfer who matters perhaps even too much to the success of this event — Dallas’ own Jordan Spieth — shot an even par 71 to remain at 7 under, just as the world’s 9th-ranked player, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, did Saturday when the wind finally showed up and created a more challenging environment.

Before going any further, let me stand back and applaud the move to the new course. Like many, I never thought much of the last Nelson layout that meandered between clubhouse-sized homes in Las Colinas. In hindsight, it registers as claustrophobic when compared to a links style course that looks like nothing around here. In fact, whether your south-of-Dallas golf taste carries you to Stevens Park or Dallas National, this course truly transforms you to another place, if not time.

Over the last three days as I made a Ulysses S. Grant-style search for high ground, I never found a spot where you could see downtown Dallas less than 10 miles away. And that’s not a knock on our wonderful skyline. It’s just that if you walked these grounds and someone told you it was a U.S. Open course in, say, Rhode Island, you’d be inclined to believe it.

I didn’t say a British Open layout because courses in the celebrated home of golf are not maintained in the pristine fashion that this one offers players.

Thousands of golf fans have made their way here, which is saying something in itself. It’s not just the 35 years of attendance habits built into the last Nelson venue. Let’s be honest, for those who call north Dallas or Frisco or Plano home, there’s a greater chance of bumping into your neighbors this time of year in Seaside, Fla., than there is while exiting the Hawn Freeway.

I’m equally guilty of confining myself to a certain comfort zone. Having never been to Trinity Forest until Thursday, I was shocked to learn I could drive here in 12 minutes.

Whatever the final attendance numbers, I suspect they will be even greater next year. An improved field the week before the 2019 PGA Championship would help, of course. But I have to believe word of mouth from those who traversed Trinity Forest will be better than those who merely watched on TV which fails to do the quality of the layout justice.

There are things to be fixed for sure.A surprising decision to send threesomes off both nines was made both for Saturday’s third round due and Sunday’s final round, due largely to incredibly slow play here. The final group featuring Leishman, Wise and Brian Gay teed off at 11:25 a.m. — something you normally see on a Saturday only if rain is expected to approach by 4. Instead, the Tour was just hoping to get this thing wrapped up before CBS signed off at 5!

The final group left the 18th green at 4:42 p.m. A five-hour, 17-minute round is absurd under any conditions. The modern player bears some responsibility but the lack of course knowledge along with winds that weren’t so threatening the first two days made for a long, long day for all involved.

With 18 players at 10 under par or better, it will be intriguing to see what kind of challenge is thrown at Sunday’s players. Although the par-71 layout is listed at 7,380 yards, it has been confined to below 7,160 the first three days.

This week’s Nelson is all about new challenges, new risks. I sometimes express fear at the most basic alterations in sports but I also hate unnecessary change especially when it’s pursued solely for greed (think Rangers and ballparks).

In this case, a bold decision was made to change how golf is viewed and played around here. This is, by no means, the same old Byron Nelson. And that’s a good thing.

 

Nadal vs Zverev

The clash everyone wanted to see in the final of the Italian Open will indeed take place as top-seeded Rafael Nadal will meet second-seeded Alexander Zverev in the final at the Foro Italico tomorrow. It will be a clash of the two favorites for the French Open as they have been the two standout clay court players this year.

Head-To-Head
Nadal leads the head-to-head 4-0, including two victories on clay. Zverev has twice come close to claiming victories over Nadal, which came during their two hard court meetings in Indian Wells and at the Australian Open. The German was painfully close to claiming what would’ve been the biggest win of his career at that point in 2016 at Indian Wells but missed a volley on match point.

During the 2017 Australian Open, Zverev held a two sets to one lead before falling in five. Their two clay court meetings have been anything like their hard court matchups though which the second seed hopes to change. Nadal has only dropped 11 total games in the five sets the two have played on clay which includes a routine victory for the Spaniard during their Davis Cup meeting earlier this year.

Nadal was excellent in his return to tennis after his break due to injury (NurPhoto/Getty Images) Nadal was excellent in his return to tennis after his break due to injury (NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Nadal’s Road To The Final
After suffering a quarterfinals loss to Dominic Thiem in Madrid, the 31-year-old Spaniard looked to extremely sharp in his opener against Damir Dzumhur, dropping just a single game. He looked equally as strong against teenage sensation Denis Shapovalov before his quarterfinal showdown with Fabio Fognini.

Fognini used the home crowd as well as some excellent tennis to his advantage to stun Nadal in the opening set, but the world number one resumed his fantastic play this week to easily take sets two and three. Nadal’s semifinal was the rekindling of an old flame, meeting Novak DJokovic for the first-time in over a year. Despite struggling at times, Nadal was still just a bit too strong for the Serb to move to 10-0 all-time in semifinals in Rome.

Zverev’s Road To The Final
After winning in Madrid, Zverev opened his title defense in Rome with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Italian Matteo Berrettini. He had a hard-earned second win, over Kyle Edmund, saving numerous set points for the Brit during the second set tiebreak, eventually taking it 13-11.

The German’s quarterfinal match was a tight one with David Goffin. Zverev had issues with the chair umpire and was even down a break but found a way back to knock off the Belgian. In his semifinal match against Cilic, it was a tight affair which saw an even longer tiebreak than the one Zverev had one with Edmnud. The German took the opening set breaker 15-13 and broke late in the second to win 7-5.

Alexander Zverev gets through his third marathon match this week (NurPhoto/Getty Images) Alexander Zverev got through his third marathon match this week in the semifinals (NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Analysis
Expect this match to have a lot of long rallies from the baseline. Zverev will try to win as many points as he can with his serve while Nadal will look to get to the net as much as possible as he is one of the best finishers in the forecourt today. The German’s first serve isn’t as big as some would expect it to be for someone 6’6”, but it is definitely one of the most improved facets of his game.

During the baseline rallies, expext to see Nadal to pepper the Zverev forehand with the German to pepper the Nadal backhand. Usually, Nadal would attack the backhand of most right-handers to set up his down the line forehand, but the 21-year-old’s backhand is his go-to shot, usually running around his forehand to hit his two-hander.

Though he has not shown it in his last two matches, fatigue could very much play a factor for the German. His last three matches have gone near or over the two-hour mark. Add in the fact with this will be the first Masters title defense, there could be some mental fatigue as well.

This will be a long, grueling match with plenty of rallies. It’s a battle between the King of Clay and the player who likely has earned the title, the Prince of Clay after two career Masters titles and three consecutive finals this year on the red dirt. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a titanic showdown that many hope to see in Paris in a few weeks time

Italian Open 2018

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Rafael Nadal extended his record of Rome Masters final appearances after beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets to make the Italian decider for a 10th time, where he’ll face Alexander Zverev following his win over Marin Cilic.

Nadal can extend another record if he manages to seal a new all-time high eighth Rome Masters title on Sunday, having beaten Djokovic in a captivating encounter that saw the Serb fade in the second set to a 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss.

Zverev will be his opponent in the Rome decider after edging Cilic in a tight straight-sets win, triumphing 7-6 (13), 7-5 to clinch his 12th consecutive win and maintain his bid for another Masters trophy.

Women’s top seed Simona Halep came back from a set behind to beat Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Rome, and she’ll face No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina after she cruised past Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3.

Read on for a recap of Saturday’s semi-final slate and a breakdown of the key information heading into Sunday’s final showdowns.Rafael Nadal speaks. “It was a tough match, of course, playing against him [Novak] is always a big challenge. He played well, and it’s always the same against him; when you go down a little bit in level, he is always there and you are in big trouble. I needed to play aggressive with my forehand, that’s when I felt I was a little more in control.

The Spaniard will face Marin Cilic or Alexander Zverev, who meet later, on Sunday. “I need to be ready to play my best tomorrow. This victory today is a big confidence for me. This tournament has been very positive for me after last week in Madrid. To come back to a final, I’m very happy.”ROME — In their 51st match, an ATP record, Rafael Nadal won for the 25th time, beating Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in the semifinals of the Italian Open on Saturday afternoon.

The match was gratifying for both of them: Nadal stayed on track for a sixth title here, and Djokovic proved that he had regained some of the form and confidence that had left him in recent months.

“Rafa was just better in important moments,” Djokovic said. “He just managed to play the right shots, and he deserved to win — he was the better player.”

He added: “I don’t think that there was too much of a difference, which is great for me, great news for me. Because Rafa is, of course, the best player ever to play tennis on clay courts. And, you know, he’s in great, great form, and it’s very difficult to play him on clay anywhere.”

Though Djokovic landed several punches, including several awe-striking return winners, Nadal was steadier and stronger at crucial moments. He dominated in longer rallies, winning 14 of the 20 points that extended to nine or more shots.

Both men finished with impressive numbers: Nadal hit 22 winners, 16 of which came on his forehand, against 14 unforced errors; Djokovic hit 26 winners against 20 unforced errors.Sharapova, 31, won 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 7-5 against the 20-year-old Latvian, taking her third match point to end a gripping contest which lasted over three hours.

She faces Simona Halep in Saturday’s semi-final after the world number one thrashed Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-3.

Elina Svitolina will play Anett Kontaveit in the other last-four match.

Ukraine’s Svitolina won 6-4 6-4 against Germany’s two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, while Kontaveit of Estonia knocked out Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-1.Halep, yet to win a Grand Slam having lost three finals, needed only an hour and 14 minutes to seal her fourth win in five matches against seventh seed Garcia of France.

Her victory, combined with Wozniacki’s defeat, ensured the 26-year-old Romanian, who lost to Svitolina in last year’s Italian final, would retain her number one ranking.

Sharapova missed two match points against the dogged Ostapenko, who is ranked sixth in the world, before sealing a victory which means the Russian is set to be seeded at the French Open later this month.

The five-time Slam winner, who is projected to be inside the world’s top 32 next week, has not been seeded at a major since returning from a 15-month doping ban last year.

“It’s great to back at this stage,” she said after beating Ostapenko.”My fans have been so loyal throughout the years and for me to be able to produce this kind of tennis again in front of them is very special.”