Mektic/Pavic Top Koolhof/Skupski To Reach Rome SFs
Defending Rome champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic continued to roll though the draw at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a third consecutive straight-sets win on Friday. The third-seeded Croatians advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over newly crowned Madrid champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski.
Mektic and Pavic converted on both of their break points and saved all five against them to advance to their third ATP Tour semi-final of the season. While serving out the match, the Croatians escaped 30/40 to complete an efficient performance on Court 1 at the Foro Italico. They served five aces and won 81 per cent (29/36) of their first-serve points in the contest.
Koolhof and Skupski lead the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings for 2022 with four titles on the season, while Mektic and Pavic are 14th in the doubles race as they seek their first title since winning Tokyo Olympic gold.
The Croatians won both of their previous tour-level semi-finals this season, in Dubai and Belgrade, but fell agonisingly short of both titles in a pair of Match Tie-breaks. In the Rome semis, they will face Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini, who beat eighth seeds Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz, 6-7(3), 6-4, 11-9, on Friday.
In the lone doubles contest of the day to be extended to a Match Tie-break, the home favourites battled back from a set and a break down to delight the Italian crowd on Court 1. They won four straight games from 2-4 in the second and twice clawed back a mini-break in the Match Tie-break to advance to their fourth semi-final as a team this year.
The 2015 Australian Open champions are seeking their fifth tour-level title together and second of the season (Rio de Janeiro).
The opposite semi-final will feature a pair of unseeded teams as John Isner and Diego Schwartzman take on Andrey Golubev and Maximo Gonzalez. The first-time pairing of Isner and Schwartzman ended the feel-good run of alternates Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara with a 6-3, 6-2 quarter-final victory. The Kazakh-Argentine duo of Golunev and Gonzalez defeated Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar, 6-2, 7-6(10), to reach the last four.
Both men's doubles semi-finals are scheduled for the evening in Rome. Mektic/Pavic and Bolelli/Fognini will close play on Centre Court, while Isner/Schwartzman and Golubev/Gonzalez will play not before 5 p.m. local time on Pietrangeli.