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Italian Open: Novak Djokovic to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in closing

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This is simply what Novak Djokovic wanted every week earlier than the French Open.

The top-ranked Serb beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 on the Italian Open on Saturday to achieve his greatest closing of the yr.

Having missed an enormous portion of the season as a result of he wasn’t vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus, Djokovic will try to increase his five-match successful streak over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s closing.

“I can expect a big battle,” Djokovic mentioned.

“But I’m ready for it.”

Tsitsipas reached his first Rome closing by rallying previous Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Djokovic is looking for his sixth title within the Italian capital.

In the ladies’s semifinals, top-ranked Iga Swiatek routed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 for her twenty seventh straight win and can face one other participant on a run, Ons Jabeur, as she makes an attempt to defend her Rome title.

“I’m glad that I have some part of your history” ☺️@CasperRuud98 🤝 @DjokerNole@InteBNLdItalia

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 14, 2022

Jabeur beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 for her eleventh consecutive victory after lifting the Madrid Open trophy final week.

Djokovic recorded the 1,000th win of his profession, making him solely the fifth man to achieve that mark after Jimmy Connors (1,274 wins), Roger Federer (1,251), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Rafael Nadal (1,051).

After the match, Djokovic was introduced with a cake with “1,000” written on it.

“I was seeing Roger and Rafa celebrating those milestones and I was looking forward to get to 1,000 myself,” Djokovic mentioned.

‘I used to be seeing Roger and Rafa celebrating these milestones and I used to be trying ahead to get to 1000 myself’@DjokerNole 🤝 @RafaelNadal 🤝 @rogerfederer 🐐🐐🐐#IBI22

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 14, 2022

Djokovic is taking part in solely his fifth match of the yr, together with his greatest earlier consequence the ultimate of the smaller Serbia Open, his residence match, final month. Last week, he was crushed by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz within the semifinals of the Madrid Open.

Against Ruud, the primary Norwegian to interrupt into the highest 10, Djokovic jumped out to 5-1 within the opening set with an array of shot-making that negated his opponent’s energy.

On one level early on when Ruud pushed Djokovic broad of the doubles alley, the Serb virtually did the splits as he responded with a backhand winner up the road together with his racket just some inches above the crimson clay court docket.

Just making my method
Making a method by the gang

Oh, ‘trigger you understand I’d win A THOUSAND MATCHES 🎧@DjokerNole #IBI22

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 14, 2022

Djokovic’s most up-to-date match in opposition to Tsitsipas got here in final yr’s French Open closing, when he rallied from two units right down to take the trophy.

Djokovic additionally wanted 5 units to beat Tsitsipas within the Roland Garros semifinals two years in the past, and so they went the complete three units when Djokovic gained within the Rome quarterfinals final yr.

“I’ve looked back to those matches. I’ve analyzed them,” Tsitsipas mentioned.

“There are things that didn’t work for me after two sets to love up in Roland Garros. I guess I was always pretty stubborn, didn’t want to change (tactics). … There’s always one more match where I can perhaps maybe do something different.”

Tsitsipas has been pushed to a few units in three of his 4 matches this week, having additionally overcome native favourite Jannik Sinner in straight units within the quarterfinals.

Tsitsipas has additionally performed all of his matches within the noon warmth.

“The heat hasn’t been easy. But that’s what I prefer,” the Greek participant mentioned.
Tsitsipas defended his title on the Monte Carlo Masters final month and is aiming for an additional large clay-court title.

The Italian Open has been performed on the picturesque Foro Italico, which features a court docket lined by neo-classical statues, since 1935.

“It’s one of the tournaments that has the most history in our sport,” Tsitsipas mentioned.

“You can see walking around the site, one of the most beautiful stadiums — the Pietrangeli. So there’s a lot of history playing in these courts and you feel very proud that you’ve made your way here and are able to participate in such a historically rich event.”

Swiatek’s streak is the longest by a lady since Serena Williams gained 27 in a row over 2014 and 2015. The all-time longest streak belongs to Martina Navratilova, who put collectively 74 straight in 1984.

“I’m just constantly surprising myself that I can do better and better,” Swiatek mentioned.

“I feel like I actually can believe now that the sky’s the limit. That’s the fun part.” Seeking to win her fifth straight match, Swiatek dominated the eighth-ranked Sabalenka with energy, consistency and finesse.

“Today I felt like I really understood the clay,” Swiatek mentioned.

The hard-hitting Sabalenka took a medical timeout late within the second set and had her again handled.

Swiatek, who was a shock champion on the French Open in 2020 when she was ranked No. 54, would be the favourite so as to add a second title at Roland Garros when the yr’s second Grand Slam begins subsequent weekend.

Jabeur, who can be rapidly creating right into a French Open contender, saved a match level late within the third.