Djokovic Holds On Against FAA At Rome Masters; Tsitsipas v Zverev Sat.

by Staff | May 13th, 2022, 6:37 pm
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Novak Djokovic wasn’t at his very best Friday in the quarterfinals at the Rome Masters, but good enough. Djokovic failed to serve out the first and blew a break lead in the second but advanced in straights over Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6(1).

“I thought it was high-level tennis,” Djokovic said after his first meeting with the Canadian. “He did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well. I thought I could have finished the job earlier… but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight.

“I know Felix well. He’s been around the top of the men’s game for quite a few years,” Djokovic added. “He’s got a lethal serve, honestly… He’s hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return. He’s also returning well, he’s moving well. He’s a very complete player.”

Casper Ruud will be next for Djokovic. The Norwegian had a patchy start to his clay season after the Miami finals, but has found the form this week returning to the semifinals by defeating Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7), 7-5.

“Great quality opponent again,” Djokovic said looking ahead. “Clay-court specialist, but he has improved a lot in other surfaces, played the final of Miami this year. Just a very hard worker, nice guy.

“We practise a lot and get along well off the court. Tomorrow obviously on the court we want to win against each other, no doubt… Hopefully I can play as well as I did tonight.”

Djokovic leads 2-0 including a semifinal win in Rome a year ago.

Former champion Alexander Zverev moved into another Rome semifinal dispatching Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2. He’ll have to contend with Stefanos Tsitsipas for a second straight week.

The Greek advanced over Italian prodigy Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2.

“I am happy things turned out well. It was a great day at the office,” Tsitsipas told the crowd. “I was able to really step it up in the second set and I think the most important part was that first set tie-break. I really went for it when I had to. I didn’t overthink or hesitate and that paid off in the end.”

Last week, Zverev earned his first win over Tsitsipas on clay.

“We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour,” Tsitsipas said. “I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved.”

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