Rome | Djokovic reaches new milestone

Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet in the Rome Masters final in what is a repeat of last year’s classic French Open title decider — won by the Serbian from two-set to love down – and could provide an indication of the state of the individual players’ preparations for the second major of the season at Roland Garros.

Another final against him at one of the biggest tournaments we have in the world. He’s definitely in form. The last few years he’s been top two, three clay-court players. In general, top two, three in the world Novak Djokovic

In the meantime Djokovic clocked up his 1000th career win joining Jimmy Connors (1,274) Roger Federer (1,251), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Rafa Nadal (1,051) on the list of most wins on Tour, when he dispatched Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4 6-3 in the semi-final, having secured his place at the top of the rankings by reaching that stage on Friday in his chase for a sixth Rome Masters title. It would also be his fourth successive final at the Foro Italico!

Having been presented with a cake to mark his latest career milestone, Djokovic commented: “If I can pick the two places in the world where I would want to celebrate the thousandth win it’s in Serbia and here in Rome,” adding “Let’s go for another thousand.

“I’ve seen Roger and Rafa celebrate those milestones in the last couple of years and I was looking forward to get to that 1,000 myself,” Djokovic continued. “I’m really, really blessed and privileged to have that many victories on the Tour. It’s been a long time, ever since I won my first match on the Tour. Hopefully I can keep going and many more victories to come.”

The victory was relatively comfortable after Djokovic had established an early 4-0 lead and, while Ruud produced some exciting tennis he was never really in the match,

The second set was equally routine with the Serbian breaking Ruud in the eighth game and then dispatching his opponent at the first opportunity two games later.

“I thought I played very well,” Djokovic said of the match. “Started fantastic, 4-0. Then I did slow down a bit. I did drop my level and I wasn’t feeling that great on the court for about 15, 20 minutes. He used that, managed to get himself back in the first set. It was important to close it out in the 10th game, clinch the first set.

“Let’s hope I can take that form into tomorrow’s final.”

Meanwhile earlier in the day, the Monte Carlo Open champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas avenged his Madrid Masters loss last week to Alexander Zverev in what was their third semi-final meeting in a month by defeating the German second seed 4-6 6-3 6-3.

The Greek star was the stronger of the two as the German, after a strong first set, faded dropping eight of the last nine points including getting broken to love when serving to stay in the match.

“He wasn’t giving me much, he made me work hard for every single point,” said Tsitsipas. “I’m extremely proud of the way things turned around, and I was able to read the gameplay a little bit better and understand what was working at that time.”

The final should be interesting if both plyers can retain the form which has seen them through the week, but the psychological advantage lies with Djokovic who leads his opponent Tsitsipas 7-2 and 4-0 on clay.

“Another final against him at one of the biggest tournaments we have in the world,” Djokovic commented. “He’s definitely in form. The last few years he’s been top two, three clay-court players. In general, top two, three in the world.

“But especially on the clay court, winning Monte Carlo, always reaching the final stages of the biggest events on clay. I can expect a big battle on the court, but I’m ready for it.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas chasing his third Masters title

Silvia Lore/Getty Images



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