Sunday, May 15, 2022

Djokovic secures the 1,000. Career victory and reaches the final of the Italian Open

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic achieved his 1,000. Tour-level victory by beating Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday and advancing to the Italian Open final.

Djokovic meets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s title fight, with the Serb playing for the fourth straight game and 12th overall in the final in Rome.

It will be a repeat of last year’s French Open final, which Djokovic won after fighting back in straight sets.

The 34-year-old is only the fifth man in the Open Era to reach the milestone of 1,000 wins, after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafa Nadal.

Playing under the lights, Djokovic broke Norway’s Ruud twice to give a comfortable 4-0 lead as the top seed made a quick start.

Ruud broke Djokovic 5-3 and held at love but the 20-time Major winner finished the set.

In set number two, Ruud saved three break points in game seven before Djokovic took a 4-3 lead.

Djokovic broke Ruud again as he claimed the win in an hour and 42 minutes and the Serb will seek a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title in Sunday’s final.

Earlier, world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the final in Rome for the first time after the Greek rallied to defeat Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Tsitsipas, who will rise to fourth in the ATP rankings next week, will bid for his third Masters 1000 title on Sunday.

In the third clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final between the pair this season, Tsitsipas defeated Zverev as he was consistent from the baseline and strong on serve.

“Battle of the serves,” said Tsitsipas. “Fighting to be able to get the first shot after serve and really put quite a lot of pressure on it, which I think I did really well in the third set.

“I was able to give back a few on the third a little more than he did, put the ball in play, stay in those rallies, didn’t give much away.

“I really tried to stay there as long as possible and make every single one count.”

Zverev was clinical in the opening set, his first serve working like clockwork but the German dropped a set for the first time in this year’s tournament as Tsitsipas upped his own level in the second.

Tsitsipas struck first in the decider, earning a break for a 3-2 lead when Zverev netted a forehand.

Tsitsipas broke Zverev’s serve again to claim a comfortable win and he now has a 31-match lead this year, leading his neck-and-neck race against Zverev 8-4.

Zverev has yet to win a title this season.


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