After demonstrating in the morning in the postponed quarterfinal match against Stefanos Tsitsipas that in tennis he has more lives than a cat, Novak Djokovic played in the afternoon in the semifinals of Rome against local Lorenzo Sonego and he also won, with almost identical suffering: 6-3, 6-7 (5) and 6-2 in two hours and 44 minutes. The Serbian looked fresh despite the accumulation of hours on the track on the same day, which also had his rival. Sonego had beaten Andrey Rublev in three sets and he faced a morlaco like Djokovic with less rest time. Great merit to push him to the limit.
The world number one imposed his stripes and will play his 12th final of the Italian tournament against Rafa Nadal, who is on par in that regard. It will be chapter 57 of the mother of all rivalries, the most repeated. It will be Djokovic’s 53rd match for the 1,000 Masters title, an absolute record equal to the 36 trophies that he holds in the category. In both cases, he is one unit above the Balearic Islands, who he has seen in the last round of the Foro Italico five times., with a favorable balance for the Spanish by 3-2. Sonego played with enthusiasm, supported by his countrymen at the Centrale, but the stake came a tad big for him. And that he knew what it was like to beat Djokovic, because he did it last year in Vienna, in his only previous duel. His tournament, however, is to frame, because before the semifinals he beat Thiem, Rublev and Monfils. He will leave Rome with a very good image and five places higher in the ranking, at 28th.
– Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 15, 2021
Containment against bravery
Djokovic missed very little and contained him well in the first set and looked like the winner on the fast track. Because Lorenzo did not worry almost anything to the rest until 5-5 of the second, when he had two break options that, in addition, were set. He enjoyed two more at 6-5, where he raised two match points (like the one he saved against Thiem) before consummating his first break just after conceding one. In the tiebreaker it was not easy for him to surprise the Balkan, although he was brave and he did it after raising a 0-3. With his service he delivered and pulled so much power with the drive and courage, that he deserved the extension against a standard Djokovic, fast, flexible as a reed and lethal with his backhand dictator and his malicious remains.
The equalizer effect suited ‘The Karate Kid’ very well, as it is already called because of the tape on his head and the reasonable resemblance to actor Ralph Macchio. He went out for all in the third sleeve and had a 0-40 that disappeared, just like the resistance of his legs. It was then that Djokovic said enough, got serious, took advantage (4-1) and left no more surprises. So are the champions and their heartfelt hug and applause to the loser also shows it. A great match is coming between Belgrade and Nadal. Do not miss it.
Results Masters 1.000 Rome.