Italian Open: Novak Djokovic to face Casper Ruud in semis
Serbian ace Novak Djokovic outclassed number eight seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6(1) in straight sets to reach the semi-finals at the 2022 Italian Open. He has now retained his number one spot in the ATP Rankings. The five-time winner will be up against Casper Ruud later this evening. Meanwhile, 2017 winner Alexander Zverev will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four. Here's more.
Djokovic fought past Felix Auger-Aliassime in their maiden ATP match-up. He is seeking his 38th ATP Masters 1000 title and sixth at the Italian Open. Plus, he has a chance to record his 1000th ATP tour win against Casper Ruud. He has a 2-0 lead over the Norwegian, having won in straight sets at the 2020 Roland Garros semi-finals and 2021 Nitto ATP finals.
Djokovic dished out four aces and converted three of his eight break points. He pocketed 82 points to Aliassime's 68. He won 53 points from his serves and enjoyed a 74% win on his first serve.
Djokovic said that it was a game of high-level tennis and lauded the youngster for a fight-back in the quarters. "I thought it was high-level tennis. He [Aliassime] 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," he said.
Ruud battered Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7), 7-5. He has risen by two spots to be ranked number eight in the ATP Rankings. It would be his second semi-final appearance at the Italian Open, having reached the same in 2020. He eyes his maiden ATP 1000 title.
Stefanos Tsitsipas beat number four seed Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2. The Greek has garnered 30 wins on the tour this season. Meanwhile, number two seed Alexander Zverev defeated Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2. He has now reached the semis at three ATP 1000 clay-court events this season. The five-time ATP 1000 winner would be raring to pocket his maiden title this season.
Tsitsipas leads their ATP match-up with a 7-4 win record, including a 3-1 tally on clay. This season, he had beaten the German in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters. However, he lost in the last four at the Madrid Open.