Switzerland's tennis star Roger Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, returns to Italy after skipping the clay season for the last two years as he concentrated on his grass game.
Tsitsipas had never won a set in his previous three meetings against claycourt specialist and 11-times French Open champion Nadal, but the Greek drew first blood by saving a break point to hold in the 10th game and take the first set.
Simona Halep, world number two, says she will withdraw from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart due to an ongoing hip injury in the Fed Cup over the weekend.
Rafael Nadal's bid for the 12th title crashed after losing to Fabio Fognini in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals.
Rafael Nadal showed no signs of rust as he raced into a 5-0 lead against fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first set on Court Rainier III, defending his Monte Carlo Masters title with 6-1, 6-1.
After dominating the first set tiebreak, Barty broke the big-serving Pliskova in a 12-minute game to open the second set.
Williams withdrew with a left knee injury, tournament officials said. It is the second consecutive WTA event in which the American has been unable to continue, after her retirement from last week's tournament in Indian Wells with a viral illness.
Bianca Andreescu upset three-time major champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the BNP Paribas Open, becoming at age 18 the first wild-card winner in tournament history.
Federer, who won the last of his Indian Wells titles two years ago but lost in 2018 final, used his backhand slice to keep Gojowczk from gaining any rhythm in the first set.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer set up a title match against 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas by defeating Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2 in just 67 minutes in the semi-finals of the ATP event.
Roger Federer moved to within two wins of a 100th career title after coming through a tough test in difficult conditions against Marton Fucsovics to reach the Dubai Championships semi-finals.
Roger Federer was challenged by Fernando Verdasco before defeating the Spanish veteran 6-3 3-6 6-3, reaching the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
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