Sunday, May 19, 2019

Nadal vs Djokovic in Rome final

Nadal vs Djokovic in Rome final
Nadal vs Djokovic in Rome final

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal won Saturday to advance to the final at the Italian Open, which will be their 54th career meeting.

Djokovic had a challenge in his semifinal match before defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 to reach his ninth final in Rome.

"He came out with the right game plan," Djokovic said of Schwartzman. "He was hitting the ball clean. He was hitting it fast. He was mixing up the pace. He was drop-shotting really well. It was really hard to read the play."

After the win in the second-set tiebreaker, Schwartzman gained confidence but couldn't take the momentum into the third set.

"I started to think, 'OK, maybe I have the chance because he's going to be tired," Schwartzman said, mentioning Djokovic's match that ended early Saturday morning against Juan Martin del Potro. "But the third set was a really tough one, and I think in the important moments he played better than me, more solid, more to the lines, more aggressive."

Nadal vs Djokovic in Rome final
Nadal reached his first clay-court final of the season with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

For Nadal, ranked No. 2 in the world, his match on Sunday against No. 1 Djokovic will mark his 50th ATP Masters 1000 final, but Nadal had kind words for the 20-year-old Tsitsipas after their match.

"I played a solid match against a good player and a player who is winning lot of matches on this surface," Nadal said. "So winning in straight sets against him is a very positive result. More than this is a feeling that I am playing better every week, every day. That's important for me."

Just last week at the Mutua Madrid Open, Tsitsipas became the youngest player to defeat Nadal on clay, but Nadal was in charge from the start on Saturday and advanced after one hour and 43 minutes.

"I played a little bit better than him," Nadal said. "What I had to do is play well. Last week I didn't play very well in Madrid. Today I did better."

Djokovic, of Serbia, is 28-25 lifetime against the Spaniard Nadal. He was won nine of their past 11 matches. Nadal has victories in 16 of 23 matches on clay and has won four of their seven competitions in Rome.

"He keeps on showing to the world why he's one of the biggest legends of tennis history," Djokovic said of Nadal. "I have the greatest respect for him. He's my greatest rival of all time, for sure. ... Every time we get to play each other, it's a thrill. It's the ultimate challenge."

Article from Reuters