Djokovic and Zverev to contest Rome Masters final
The semi-final clash between Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic was expected to be a classic following the Austrian’s dismissal of Rafa Nadal the previous day. Unfortunately it proved to be a bit of a damp squid as the Serbian simply demolished his opponent for the loss of just one game.
I’m overjoyed and happy with every minute that I spent on the court today. It was a perfect match Novak Djokovic
It was a masterful display by Djokovic who is now well on the track to resuming his dominant form of previous years following a lacklustre six months after winning the 2016 French Open.
Djokovic began the day by finishing off Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 6-4 after the match had been stopped due to rain before the fourth game of the second set on Friday.
That was followed by the first of the semis which saw the 20-year-old Aexnader Zverev defeat the giant John Isner 6-4 6-7(5) 6-1 to reach his first Masters final and become the youngest to advance to a title match at this level since a 19-year-old Djokovic did it at the 2007 Miami.
“I’m into my first final of a Masters, which is great, and especially on clay,” Zverev said. “It’s a very physical game and it’s very tough points all the time, long points.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing, but I still want to keep improving and I still want to develop my game and get better.”
Djokovic then returned to the court in the evening where he destroyed Thiem 6-1 6-0 by never allowing the Austrian any time on the ball thereby preventing him from deploying theshots which brought him success against Nadal.
“This is undoubtedly my best performance of this year and maybe even longer,” Djokovic said. “I’m overjoyed and happy with every minute that I spent on the court today. It was a perfect match. Everything that I intended to do, I have done it and even more.
“There’s not much to say except that I am so grateful to experience something like this, because I have been waiting and working for it for a long time.”
Thiem acknowledged he was outclassed. “It’s really tough for me to play against Novak because he doesn’t give me any time. I don’t really like to play against him, because he has a game style which doesn’t fit me at all,” the 23-year-old said. “He was there from the first point and was pushing himself. I was expecting that from him, but couldn’t really do anything against it because I was empty.
“I was not mentally on the level I should be against these opponents,” Thiem added. “It happens from time to time if you play a lot of matches. And if it happens against a guy like Novak, a score like 6-1 6-0 is the logical outcome.”
Djokovic will now play Zverev in the final in what will be their first meeting.
In the women’s draw, Simona Halep and Elia Svitolina will contest the final. Halep having ended Kiki Berten’s hopes 7-5 6-1 while Svitolina progressed thanks to her opponent Garbine Muguruza, retiring with a neck injury 1-4 behind after 22-minutes.