Fans were finally allowed into the Rome Masters on Thursday but were turfed out at 10 p.m. due to curfew with Italians unable to view Lorenzo Sonego’s 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) upset of Dominic Thiem
Under strict COVID guidelines, a small proportion of ticketholders were allowed in – a ruling which will apply through the Sunday finals at the dual ATP-WTA tournament.
But the curfew still stands with rumblings from dissatisfied members of the tennis public who were sent home under supervision of a heavy police presence.
On court, fourth seed Thiem led by a break in the final set and had a match point in the ninth game but was unable to advance to the quarter-finals.
In the deciding tiebreaker, Sonego saw his 5-3 lead eaten away as Thiem sizzled over a pair of backhand winners.
But the Italian profitted as the Austrian made a volley error to yield a match point, with the local underdog converting on his first winning chance after three and a half hours.
“It’s amazing to take this win in my Italy with fans present for two sets,” the No. 33 said. “I’m so happy for this victory – Thiem and Nadal are the two best on clay,
“It was not easy to play with fans for two sets and without for the last one. But my team supported me all the way.
Sonego, last Italian standing at the home event, ended with a half-century of winners and 31 unforced errors.
He will now play Andrey Rublev, a winner over Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4.
Main photo:- Lorenzo Sonego celebrates beating Dominic Thiem – by ATPTour.com