Roger Federer insisted Nick Kyrgios should not be suspended for his meltdown at the Internazionali d'Italia on Thursday.

A furious Kyrgios defaulted his second-round match against Casper Ruud after receiving a game penalty for throwing a folding table onto the court.

The Australian smashed his racquet and launched a table before walking off after shaking hands with Ruud and the chair umpire.

However, Federer said a fine and forfeiture of prize money and rankings points were punishment enough for Kyrgios.

"I don't think he should be suspended personally," Federer said after edging Borna Coric in the last 16.

"He walked off the court. What did he do? He hurt a chair? I mean, that's not enough for me.

"I don't know if he's on probation or not from his Shanghai thing [walking off the court in 2017] or not.

"If that's the case, then obviously you can maybe look into it. If that's run its course, I don't think he should be suspended.

"A zero pointer, fine, all this stuff is already tough enough. He knows it's a mistake what happened."

Kyrgios' clash with Ruud was early in the third set when the 24-year-old defaulted.

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all won twice on Thursday as tournament organisers made up for lost time at the Internazionali d'Italia.

After rain wiped out Wednesday's proceedings in Rome, a busy schedule saw the leading trio appear in both the day and evening sessions - and they all progressed through to the quarter-finals.

However, while Djokovic and Nadal breezed through in both of their outings, Federer was forced to save two match points against Borna Coric before eventually coming through in a tense tie-break in the deciding set.

Earlier in the day, Nick Kyrgios defaulted his match with Casper Ruud after receiving a game penalty for throwing a folding table onto the court during the third set.

The Australian's reaction followed a disputed call early in the third set, though Ruud's run in the tournament ended later on when he lost in straight sets to Juan Martin del Potro, who will face Djokovic next.

Sixth seed Kei Nishikori saw off Taylor Fritz and Jan-Lennard Struff during his two appearances on court, while Fernando Verdasco and Diego Schwartzman also reached the last eight.

 

EASY DOES IT FOR TOP TWO

While pressed into doing overtime, neither Djokovic nor Nadal had to work hard.

Having cruised past Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1 6-3, top seed Djokovic brushed aside Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 to record back-to-back victories after little over two hours of action.

Nadal was even more emphatic in his second outing, thrashing Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 6-0. The Spaniard - still chasing his first title in 2019 after semi-final exits in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and, most recently, Madrid - had earlier dismissed Jeremy Chardy in equally emphatic fashion, their one-sided meeting finishing 6-0 6-1.

Next up will be compatriot Verdasco, who upset seeds Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov to reach the quarters of a clay-court Masters 1000 event for the first time since May 2012.

 

ROGER THE DODGER SURVIVES A SCARE

After saving two match points against Gael Monfils in Madrid last week, Federer once again had to battle back from the brink on clay.

Coric led 6-4 in the deciding tie break but was unable to close out the match on his own serve, hitting a forehand approach into the net. The next point saw Federer hit a service winner to stay alive, and he eventually prevailed 2-6 6-4 7-6 (9-7) after two hours and 31 minutes on court.

"I got very lucky again today, like in Madrid. It's nice to get lucky I guess sometimes," a relieved Federer told the ATP Tour.

"I've lost a lot of heartbreakers throughout the years so it's nice to win these and the atmosphere was fantastic. People were going crazy. It's exactly how you want the atmosphere to be."

Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Federer on Friday, the Greek a straight-sets winner over Fabio Fognini in the final match of a packed schedule.

Nick Kyrgios defaulted his match with Casper Ruud at the Internazionali d'Italia after receiving a game penalty for throwing a folding table onto the court.

Australian Kyrgios reacted angrily to a call early in the third set of the second-round match in Rome, leading to him losing his serve.

After complaining to the chair umpire at the change of ends, the 24-year-old slammed his racket to the floor and kicked a piece of equipment, then followed that up by launching the table.

As he continued his complaints, Kyrgios packed up his equipment and walked off, though not before shaking hands with both his opponent and the chair umpire.

The contest was at 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 1-1 when the world number 36 departed after receiving the game penalty, meaning Ruud progresses to the last 16 of the tournament.

Kyrgios had already made headlines on Thursday with his comments during an appearance on the No Challenges Remaining podcast.

Asked about world number one Novak Djokovic by host Ben Rothenberg, he replied: "I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer]."

Kyrgios also described Rafael Nadal as "super salty", revealing the Spaniard – who accused him of lacking respect after serving underarm during a match between the pair in Acapulco earlier this year – was the "polar opposite" to him.

Nick Kyrgios defaulted his match with Casper Ruud at the Internazionali d'Italia after receiving a game penalty for throwing a folding table onto the court.

 

Nick Kyrgios has served up a scathing verbal volley on "cringeworthy" Novak Djokovic and also laid into "super salty" Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios has never been afraid to speak his mind and the controversial Australian did not hold back when asked for his thoughts on Djokovic and Nadal.

The world number 36 spoke of his respect for Roger Federer, but has very different feelings about another two of tennis' modern-day greats.

"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger," Kyrgios told the No Challenges Remaining podcast with Ben Rothenberg when asked what he thinks of world number one Djokovic.

"I feel like he just wants to be liked so much, that I just can't stand him. This whole celebration thing that he does, it's like so cringeworthy. He's a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we'll ever see, I think he will pass Federer [in terms of grand slam wins].

"We're talking about a guy who pulled out of the Australian Open one year because it was too hot. No matter how many grand slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me. Simply because I've played him twice and, I'm sorry, but if you can't beat me, you're not the greatest of all time.

"Because if you look at my day-to-day routine and how much I train and how much I put in, it's zero compared to him. For me Federer will always be the greatest of all time, hands down.

"Djokovic just rubs me the wrong way, always says what feels like he needs to say, never speaks his opinion. These guys - they're not bad guys.

"The celebration just kills me. Honestly, that's what I'm doing next time: if I play him and I beat him, I'm doing his celebration, in front of him. That will be hilarious, right."

Nadal accused Kyrgios of lacking respect after he delivered an underarm serve against the Spaniard in Acapulco in February and the Canberra native could not resist the opportunity to reignite their feud.

"He's just my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite. And he's super salty." Kyrgios said of Nadal.

"When he wins, it's fine. He won't say anything bad, he'll credit the opponent - 'he competed well today, he's a great player', but then as soon as I beat him, it's just like 'he has no respect for me, my fans and no respect for the game' - and I'm just like 'what are you talking about?'

"Uncle Toni came out saying 'he lacks education'. I'm like, bro, I did 12 years at school, you idiot - I'm very educated. I understand you're upset that I've beat your family again, but I'm not going to be the same as Nadal. We do things differently, why can't we just accept that. Don't wait til you lose a match to say things.

"When I say something after I play him, it's not going to get noticed as much. But when he says something, it's like the only thing that matters. And then everyone's like, 'oh yeah, he must be right, this guy must lack education, he must lack respect'. These guys show me no respect, none. So why would I show you respect?"

Kyrgios had nothing but good things to say about the legendary Federer.

He said: "The first thing that comes to mind is the greatest of all time, for me. His talent level is off the charts. His movement and just his preparation, the way he reads the game is second to none.

"For anyone who wants to play sport, they just want to be like Federer. Everyone kind of wants a little bit of Roger in their game. He's so talented, for sure the best."

All of Wednesday's play in the Internazionali d'Italia was postponed due to heavy rain in Rome, impacting the ATP and WTA Tour events.

The scheduled start was regularly pushed back throughout the day as organisers hoped for an improvement in conditions, before play was officially called off due to inclement weather shortly before 8.30pm local time.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Simona Halep were among the players who were scheduled to get their campaigns under way.

The postponement of a whole day's play is likely to lead to a crammed schedule for the remainder of the week, with the tournament only running until Sunday.

Matteo Berrettini produced the shock of the day in the men's singles at the Internazionali d'Italia, sparking scenes of jubilation in his native Rome by eliminating fourth seed and 2017 champion Alexander Zverev.

Berrettini, last month's Hungarian Open champion, claimed a 7-5 7-5 victory over Zverev, his first win over a top-five opponent.

"The environment was great, the match that I played was horrendous," said Zverev, who holds an underwhelming 15-10 record in 2019 with the French Open fast approaching.

Daniil Medvedev was the other seed to exit the men's draw on Tuesday, losing in three sets to Nick Kyrgios as the Australian produced a series of unpredictable antics, even by his own standards.

Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov and Nikoloz Basilashvili joined Berrettini in reaching the last 16, while ninth seed Marin Cilic won his first-round match against wildcard Andrea Basso 6-1 7-5.

 

BERRETTINI BREAKS NEW GROUND IN ANOTHER POPULAR TRIUMPH

Two days on from Jannik Sinner's surprise win against Steve Johnson, the crowd in Rome was given further reason for cheer as Berrettini reached the last 16 of a Masters 1000 event for the first time.

Zverev struggled badly on his second serve, winning just 28 per cent of points, and paid the price for failing to convert a number of break-point opportunities as he slumped to defeat.

Next up for Berrettini is a meeting with either Diego Schwartzman - a straight-sets winner over Yoshihito Nishioka on Tuesday - or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

 

KYRGIOS ENJOYS HIMSELF IN MEDVEDEV WIN

Kyrgios set the tone for his 6-3 3-6 6-3 triumph over Medvedev by serving underarm in the first point of the match.

A number of eye-catching moments followed as the 24-year-old repeated that trick, while also treating the crowd to some glorious strokes and bizarrely turning his back on his opponent during one rally.

After ousting the 12th seed, Kyrgios said: "It was a lot of fun. I knew it was going to be tough. Medvedev is an unbelievable player.

"I just tried to serve really big. I tried to dictate as much as I could. A lot of drop shots. I was trying to throw him off his game because I knew he loves rhythm."

 

CHARDY SETS UP NADAL CLASH AS WAWRINKA CRASHES OUT

In a match forced into a second day by rain, Jeremy Chardy beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 4-6 6-3 to ensure he will be Rafael Nadal's first opponent of the week in Rome.

Stan Wawrinka delivered a dismal display after taking the opening set against David Goffin, enabling the Belgian to triumph 4-6 6-0 6-2 and set up a meeting with Juan Martin del Potro.

Denis Shapovalov will face Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Internazionali d’Italia after beating Pablo Carreno Busta, while Gael Monfils crashed out in Rome on Monday.

Shapovalov arrived in the Eternal City on a dismal run of four consecutive losses, but he got up and running on clay with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) defeat of Carreno Busta.

The 20-year-old faces a huge test in round two at the Foro Italico, with world number one Djokovic eyeing back-to-back titles following his Madrid Open triumph.

Monfils has enjoyed an impressive season - giving Roger Federer a major test in Madrid last week - but the 15th seed went down 6-3 6-1 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Fernando Verdasco will come up against Dominic Thiem after fighting back to see off Kyle Edmund 4-6 6-4 6-2, while Borna Coric also came from a set down to eliminate Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Fabio Fognini toppled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to join the likes of Karen Khachanov, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Marco Cecchinato in round two.

French duo Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy were locked at a set apiece when play was suspended for the day due to rain as they battle for the right to play defending champion Rafael Nadal.

 

SHAP SNAPS LOSING STREAK

Shapovalov has been out of sorts since losing to Federer in the Miami Open, but the Canadian prodigy showed what he is capable of in the Italian capital.

Carreno Busta did not force a single break point and although Shapovalov converted only one of 12, he got through in straight sets.

Shapovalov will face Djokovic for the second time in his fledgling career, having been beaten in a four-setter at the Australian Open earlier this year.

 

MISERY FOR MONFILS 

Monfils dropped below the high standards he has set for much of this year and Ramos-Vinolas capitalised.

Frenchman Monfils won only 66 per cent of points behind his first serve and Ramos-Vinolas won all four break points he earned.

Monfils' compatriot Tsonga also bowed out, with 10th seed Fognini winning 6-3 6-4.

Teenager Jannik Sinner saved match point as he came from behind to claim the first ATP Masters 1000 victory of his career on home soil against Steve Johnson at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The 17-year-old wildcard won for the second time on the ATP Tour despite losing the first set in just 22 minutes, outlasting Johnson 1-6 6-1 7-5 to set up a meeting with Madrid Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in round two.

Sinner, ranked 262nd in the world, dug in to hold while trailing 5-2 in the third set and reeled off the next four games in succession to seal a notable win in his fledgling career in Rome.

His fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini beat Lucas Pouille 6-2 6-4 to advance to a match against fourth seed and 2018 runner-up Alexander Zverev, but there was no joy for compatriot Andreas Seppi. The world number 67 went down to Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 3-6 6-1.

Fourteenth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili got past Marton Fucsovics 6-1 7-6 (7-2) in the only match unaffected by rain, while Philipp Kohlschreiber triumphed 6-2 3-6 6-3 against Gilles Simon.

 

NO SURPRISE FOR SINNER

His career on the ATP Tour may still be in its infancy, but Sinner was confident he had what was required to overcome Johnson.

"Steve Johnson is strong, but I knew I could beat him. We watched some Johnson footage to get a feel for his game," said Sinner.

"Of course, I'm surprised. It's not a normal thing for me. But our goal is not just to win a few matches but to go further in a few years."

 

BERRETTINI GETS A SHOT AT REVENGE

Hometown favourite Berrettini was beaten by Zverev in round two in 2018 and is wary of underestimating the German, who has a 13-8 record this season and has failed to win successive matches since February.

"He is not going through a great period, but we must not forget that he is coming from two exceptional seasons. And he's only a year younger than me," said Berrettini.

"At the beginning of this year I had some ups and downs, I lost a few very hard matches, but I was convinced I prepared adequality. I was looking forward to playing on clay."

Novak Djokovic feels he regained his momentum at the Madrid Open and is aiming to continue building on that at the Internazionali d'Italia next week.

World number one Djokovic clinched a record-equalling 33rd ATP Masters 1000 crown by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 on Manolo Santana on Sunday, his first title on clay since completing the career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open.

The Serbian had struggled for form since winning the Australian Open in January, losing three of his subsequent eight matches before arriving in Spain.

However, he overcame the in-form Dominic Thiem in the Madrid semi-finals and sealed the title for the third time in his career, making him the favourite to triumph at Roland Garros next month.

"I'm very pleased. I was saying yesterday after the semi-final win it was a very, very important win for me, for my confidence. I wasn't playing my best tennis after Australia so I was looking to regain momentum this week," Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

"I started off well, I didn't drop a set in the entire tournament so I'm very pleased. I played some of my best tennis here.

"[Tsitsipas is] very talented, he beat Rafa [Rafael Nadal] and I think they finished the match around midnight. He had a very late night, I could see he wasn't as dynamic in the movements as he was last night and that's probably due to the long match, but he's had a terrific week.

"It's a big win for me and in this tournament and I'm really looking forward to continue the streak in Rome."

Djokovic paid tribute to his brother Marko, who has acted as coach in the absence of Marian Vajda.

"I'd like to thank my team, my brother Marko, who has the role of the coach this tournament," said the 31-year-old.

"I'm really glad we managed to win the first tournament together as player and coach. You've been great, I love you."

Novak Djokovic claimed his first clay-court title since the 2016 French Open by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 in the Madrid Open final on Sunday.

World number one Djokovic lifted the trophy on Manolo Santana for the third time in his career, moving level with 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal – who Tsitsipas stunned in the semi-finals – on a record 33 ATP Masters 1000 triumphs.

The Serbian felt he played his "best match" on the red dirt this year by overcoming the in-form Dominic Thiem in the final four and eighth seed Tsitsipas was unable to halt his march to glory, failing to force a single break point.

Djokovic will be hoping to take momentum into the Internazionali d'Italia and then Roland Garros, where he completed his career Grand Slam three years ago and will be aiming to hold all four majors simultaneously for the second time in his career.

Tsitsipas lacked consistency in his groundstrokes during the early exchanges and followed a brilliant cross-court forehand with a wide shot down the line to surrender his opening service game.

Djokovic forced Tsitsipas to play on the back foot and looked sure to secure a second break after taking the first two points in game six, but the Greek responded brilliantly and held when he chased down the world number one's drop shot and sent it back over the net at an acute angle.

The Serbian served out the set and had two break-point opportunities at 1-1 in the second, though he was unable to take either and lost the game when a cross-court backhand as Tsitsipas rushed the net landed in the tram lines.

Tsitsipas displayed great character to keep things tight and make the top seed work, but Djokovic broke his resistance at 4-4 with a tremendous backhand down the line off the 20-year-old's smash from the baseline, followed by an errant forehand from the Greek.

That gave Djokovic an opportunity to serve out the match and, to conclude an intense final game, he handed Tsitsipas his second ATP Masters 1000 final defeat in as many appearances by stepping in and sweeping a forehand into the corner on his fourth match point.

Rafael Nadal believes his performances on clay this year are "normal" as his incredible dominance on the surface shows signs of diminishing.

For the third time in as many tournaments on clay this year, the Spanish star bowed out in the semi-finals, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Madrid Open on Saturday.

Nadal, 32, has won a record 11 French Open titles – those successes coming in just 14 years – and will again head to Roland Garros as one of the favourites.

Speaking after his 6-4 2-6 6-3 loss to Tsitsipas, he said his run on clay this year was closer to what would be considered "normal".

"I think that it's more normal what is happening right now, than what happened in the past 14 years," he said, via the ATP Tour.

"I think I have tennis ahead of me. I have time ahead of me. I'll be able to try to win this kind of tournament that I was not able to win this year. And what I have to do is to be fit and to play properly and a high tennis level.

"If I manage to do that next year, I think I will still have a very good opportunity to fight for all of these titles and for the rest of the year, I still have two [clay-court] tournaments. And we will see what happens there."

Tsitsipas' victory sent the 20-year-old Greek into a final clash against world number one Novak Djokovic.

The world number nine was delighted with his win, his first in four meetings with Nadal.

"I'm really happy that I proved myself and played one of my best games this year. I'm really happy that I'm fighting," Tsitsipas said.

"I'm in the zone, I'm enjoying tennis at its fullest potential. It's really nice to be able to play this way.

"Today's victory is an unbelievable feeling. I cannot explain it any further."

Stefanos Tsitsipas showed incredible spirit and skill to upset Rafael Nadal 6-4 2-6 6-3 at the Madrid Open and reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final.

Greek prospect Tsitsipas outclassed the 'King of Clay' in the opening set, but the tide looked to have turned in his esteemed opponent's favour with a string of four games in succession to seal the second.

But Tsitsipas went two breaks up in the decider and converted his fourth match point to make Nadal, who has fallen at the semi-final stage in his three clay-court tournaments this year, wait for a place in a 50th Masters showpiece.

The eighth seed, who lost to Nadal in his only previous final appearance at this level, will now face world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Nadal slipped behind in the opening game on a breezy Manolo Santana, but he was immediately gifted a leveller as both players continued to go long on serve.

After a couple of brave holds on either side, the two traded breaks again, with Tsitsipas stylishly outmanoeuvring Nadal and then letting the second seed back in right away.

But the 20-year-old kept the pressure on and was able to hold and take the set after he broke once more, measuring a pinpoint effort out of reach of the despairing Nadal.

Tsitsipas initially appeared set to frustrate Nadal in the second set, too, but a wild forehand handed his opponent a precious advantage that he did not relinquish.

The five-time Madrid champion raced to another gain to take the contest to a decider, though Tsitsipas recovered his composure and was rewarded with a pivotal break in game five.

Tsitsipas brilliantly shaped another opening and sent Nadal into the net at close range for the second break, meaning a riposte from the world number two merely delayed a stunning victory until the end of a marathon next game.

Novak Djokovic reached his first final since the Australian Open as he overcame Dominic Thiem in two tie-breaks to win 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) at the Madrid Open.

The 31-year-old had lost his previous two meetings to Thiem on clay but provided a timely reminder of his class on the surface ahead of the French Open, which begins later this month, by reaching a 48th ATP Masters 1000 final.

Djokovic went a break down in both sets but Thiem, who came from behind to beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, was pegged back on each occasion and then wilted under the pressure of the breakers.

Australian Open champion Djokovic will meet either Rafael Nadal, in what would be a repeat of January's final in Melbourne, or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the showpiece.

Djokovic was handed a walkover to the last four because quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic had food poisoning and that might have explained his rusty, error-laden start as Thiem claimed an early advantage.

The world number one hit back, though, and then staved off two break points at 4-4 before proving equal to a series of drop shots in the tie-break as Thiem's curious approach helped Djokovic clinch the opener.

Thiem failed to seize break-point opportunities in Djokovic's opening two service games of the second set but he finally made the breakthrough to go 4-2 up with a cross-court forehand winner at the end of another lengthy rally.

Yet Djokovic broke straight back when the Austrian somehow failed to clear the net with a backhand, giving his opponent the chance to serve for the match.

However, Djokovic uncharacteristically lost his nerve, double-faulting to force another breaker, where he eventually prevailed to reach his third final in the Spanish capital.

Roger Federer has confirmed he will play at next week's Internazionali d'Italia as he continues his clay-court preparations for the French Open.

The Swiss made his first appearance at a clay-court tournament in three years at the Madrid Open this week, reaching the quarter-final stage before being ousted by Dominic Thiem in three sets on Friday.

He was named in the draw for this year's Internazionali d'Italia on Friday and has now reiterated he will be involved at a tournament he has never won but where he is a four-time runner-up.

"I just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I'm coming back to Rome to play in Italy," he said in a video posted on his social media accounts.

"Can't wait, so exciting, it's been too long."

Federer, who will be the third seed in Rome, has a first-round bye and will face either Frances Tiafoe or Joao Sousa in his opening match.

The 20-time grand slam winner will hope to build some momentum ahead of the French Open, which begins later this month.

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