Former world number 1 Pliskova won 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi-finals to regain the title she won in 2019.
Karolina Pliskova celebrates after beating Petra Martic at the Italian Open. AP
Rome: Czech ninth Karolina Pliskova booked her place in a third consecutive Italian Open final on Saturday with a 3-set win against Croatian Petra Martic.
Former number 1 in the world, Pliskova , won 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi-finals to regain the title she won in 2019.
Pliskova is the only top 10 player in the draw and will meet either next the reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek or the American teenager Coco Gauff.
The 17-year-old Gauff reached her first semi-final on clay courts on Friday after Ashleigh Barty, world number 1, withdrew injured while she was led her last eight encounters 6-4, 2-1.
The Australian suffered from a recurring problem with her right arm and decided to take no risk ahead of the French Open, which she won from May 30th in 2019 to enter.
The third Saat Halep withdrew earlier this week back with a calf injury. The second seed Naomi Osaka, the four-time Rome winner Serena Williams, Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova were among the favorites who were eliminated early.
Novak Djokovic, the number 1 in the world, survived a three-way battle for two days in the rain-delayed quarter-finals against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Saturday.
The defending champions won 4: 6, 7: 5, 7: 5 after 3 hours and 16 minutes on the pitch in the clash that was interrupted on Friday due to rain in the Italian capital.
The Serb, a five-time Rome winner, was 6: 4, 2: 1 behind when the game was interrupted overnight.
Djokovic recovered twice from a mishap in the last set and for the eighth time in a row secured a berth in the last four at his second match point.
The 33-year-old will next face the Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who is the Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in 2 hours and nd 33 minutes 3: 6, 6: 4, 6: 3 shocked.
« It felt like we played two games, one yesterday when he was a better player, » said Djokovic.
« He started better today too. I somehow managed to hold my nerves and break my serve at important moments. «
» Without a doubt, until the last shot I didn’t know if I was going to win, but I believed I could. »
« I’m just very, very happy to have mastered this challenge. It was probably the toughest game of the year for me. «
Monte Carlo winner Tsitsipas had a 4-2 lead in the second set on his return to court on Saturday, but Djokovic made a crucial break for 4 : 4, the Serb saved breakpoints for 5: 4 in the following game and broke the 12th game for 7-5 to hit everyone on one set.
Both scored 15 winners in an even second set, but Tsitsipas paid four more casual mistakes than his rival, who used his forehand to break through with the winners on the line.
Tsitsipas led twice with a break in the decisive set and served 5-4 for the match, but winner Djokovic rallied himself to take a 6-5 lead.
Tsitsipas forced a tie in the last set, but the 18-time Grand Slam winner again proved to be too strong for the Greeks, who had none of their three encounters on clay won.
The next opponent of the Serbs, Sonego in 33rd place, won his only meeting in the quarter-finals on hard court in Vienna last year.
The reigning French Open champions won 6: 2, 7: 5 in 1 hour and 36 minutes against the Ukrainian in the game , which had been pushed back due to rain in Rome on Friday.
Swiatek, the 15th seed, will later play against the American teenager Coco Gauff for a place in the final on Sunday.
An outstanding performance by the teenager 👊 @ iga_swiatek increased their game to take out seed number 5, Svitolina, 6-2, 7-5. # IBI21 pic.twitter.com/Mfy51NVfvB
May 15, 2021 8:36:21 PM IST
The five-time Rome champions won 6: 2, 6: 1 in 1 hour and 10 minutes against the 48th Spaniard, whose venue was 25 percent full.
The runner-up Nadal had lost to Zverev in the last sixteen against Madrid last week.
The 39-year-old eighth fell in less than two hours 7: 6 (8: 6) and 7: 5 to the 44th Argentine, a surprising semi-finalist at Roland Garros from last year.
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