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Women’s Tennis Climate protesters delay Keys win at Italian Open

CLIMATE protesters forced two matches to be suspended at the Italian Open on Monday, including Madison Keys’s last-16 win against Sorana Cirstea.

Two members of environmental protest group Ultima Generazione ran on to the court wearing orange vests and threw confetti, while other activists glued themselves to the stands.

A statement on the Italian Open website read: “With the public very angry against the demonstrators, the police officers and firefighters also arrived.

“One of the demonstrators had moved onto the lawn under the big screen of [Court] Pietrangeli. He was taken away by the police.”

Keys was leading 6-2 3-1 when the match was temporarily suspended, with the players returning to the locker room; after play resumed the 18th-seeded American went on to win the second set 6-1.

Play was also interrupted by protesters on Court 12, where Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were playing a second-round doubles match against Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic.

Britain’s Cameron Norrie bowed out of the tournament after losing his second-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, 6-2 7-6 (1).

Norrie, the 27th seed, recovered from a break down in the second set to force a tie-break, but Greece’s Tsitsipas showed greater patience in the extended rallies and came out on top.

Australia’s ninth seed Alex de Minaur will play Tsitsipas in the round of 16 after beating Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (2) 6-4 6-4, while French qualifier Alexandre Muller was a surprise 3-6 6-3 6-2 winner against fourth seed Andrey Rublev.

In Monday’s late matches, reigning champion Daniil Medvedev survived a scare to see off qualifier Hamad Medjedovic in three sets, the number two seed winning 7-6 (5) 2-6 7-5.

World number 12 Holger Rune, though, crashed out after Argentina’s Sebastian Baez recovered from losing the opening set to come through 2-6 6-2 6-3.

The run of Italian wild card Stefano Napolitano was ended by Nicolas Jarry, as the number 21 seed battled to a 6-2 4-6 6-4 win on the Grand Stand Arena.

American Tommy Paul beat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-3 and goes on to play Medvedev for a place in the quarter-finals.

In the women’s event, Naomi Osaka lost her last-16 match 6-2 6-3 to China’s Zheng Qinwen, the Australian Open runner-up in January, who will play Coco Gauff after she beat Spain’s Paula Badosa 5-7 6-4 6-1.

Keys will face top seed Iga Swiatek in the last eight after the world number one’s 7-5 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka saved three match points on her way to winning a thriller against Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7).

Sabalenka was treated for a back injury early in the final set but completed her comeback win and will next face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko who also came from behind to beat Rebecca Sramkova 4-6 6-4 7-6 (3).

Victoria Azarenka upset world number eight Maria Sakkari, winning 6-4 6-1, and next plays American 13th seed Danielle Collins, who coasted past Irina-Camelia Begu 6-0 6-3.

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