Tennis: Djokovic's 1,000th career win sets up Roland Garros replay in Rome final
World number one Novak Djokovic took his place in the Italian Open final on Saturday by claiming his 1,000th career win in straight sets over Norway's Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 in Rome.
Djokovic will face Monte Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's final, the Serb's fourth in as many years in the Italian capital and he basked in the warm applause of a crowd for whom he always enjoys playing.
"If I can pick the two places in the world where I would want to celebrate the thousandth win it's in Serbia and here in Rome," Djokovic said in Italian after being given a cake in honor of the milestone.
"Let's go for another thousand."
Djokovic is chasing a sixth title at the Foro Italico ahead of Roland Garros later this month and dealt with world number 10 Ruud on his way to a 12th final at one of his favorite venues.
The 34-year-old has already secured a record-extending 370th week as world number one thanks to his straight sets victory over by Felix Auger-Aliassime on Friday.
And after racing into a rapid 4-0 lead in the first set he never looked back, Ruud playing some fun tennis and winning entertaining rallies but never really offering the impression he could overhaul Djokovic.
The second set was as routine as it gets, Djokovic breaking Ruud in game eight and then dispatching his opponent at the first opportunity two games later.
"I thought I played really, really well in the first four and last four games of the match. Let's hope I can take that form into tomorrow's final," added Djokovic in a courtside interview.
Djokovic's clash with Tsitsipas will be a rematch of their final at last year's French Open, a five-set thriller eventually won by the Serb.
"He's definitely in form. These last few years he's been one of the top two, three clay court players.... I can expect a big battle on the court but I'm ready for it."
Tunisia's Jabeur became the first Arab or African player to claim a WTA 1000 title with her stunning victory in Madrid last weekend, and now she has the chance to make more history against Swiatek after another glorious comeback win on centre court.
Having won the first set in fairly comfortable fashion world number seven Jabeur was clattered from pillar to post by unseeded Russian Kasatkina.
Having levelled the match Kasatkina then looked a certain winner and had match point on her own serve in game 10 of the third set.
However Jabeur saved the point and won that and the next two games to book her place in the final alongside Swiatek, who looked in unstoppable form in beating Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.
Novak Djokovic has had a lot on the line all week at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, and nothing will change on Sunday in the Rome final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The World No. 1 slipped to No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings entering the week before his quarter-final victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime moved him back to the top spot ahead of Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic then downed Casper Ruud in the semis to earn his 1,000th tour-level win and guarantee himself the top seed at Roland Garros.
Playing in his fourth straight Rome final, and his 12th overall in the Italian capital, the Serbian now seeks a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title against Tsitsipas. The Greek is bidding for his second title of 2022 after he successfully defended his Monte Carlo crown in April.
In the doubles final, John Isner and Diego Schwartzman face third seeds and defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, with the American-Argentine pairing looking to become champions in their first event as a team. Isner is on the hunt for his third Masters 100 doubles title of the year with as many partners.
Djokovic is hot on the trail of his first title of 2022 as he begins to hit top form late in the European clay season. After an early exit in Monte Carlo, he reached the final in his native Belgrade and the semis in Madrid. He has not dropped a set this week in Rome, dominating Aslan Karatsev and Stan Wawrinka before winning closer-yet-still-comfortable contests against Felix Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud.
The top-ranked Serb beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 at the Italian Open on Saturday to reach his biggest final of the year.
Having missed a big portion of the season because he wasn't vaccinated against the coronavirus, Djokovic will attempt to extend his five-match winning streak over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's final.
Tsitsipas reached his first Rome final by rallying past Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Djokovic, seeking his sixth Rome title, recorded the 1,000th win of his career, making him only the fifth man to reach that mark after Jimmy Connors (1,274 wins), Roger Federer (1,251), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Rafael Nadal (1,051).
Djokovic is playing only his fifth tournament of the year, with his best previous result the final of the smaller Serbia Open, his home tournament, last month. Last week, he was beaten by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the Madrid Open.
Against Ruud, the first Norwegian to break into the top 10, Djokovic jumped out to 5-1 in the opening set with an array of shot-making that negated his opponent's power.
On one point early on when Ruud pushed Djokovic wide of the doubles alley, the Serb practically did a split as he responded with a backhand winner up the line with his racket just a few inches above the red clay court.
On Saturday in Rome, Stefanos Tsitsipas played a fantastic semifinal against Alexander Zverev to set up a tasty final vs. Novak Djokovic.
The Greek sensation displayed some of his best tennis injecting lots of spectacular variations in the rallies. The point played by Stefanos in the below video is quite similar to Federer’s style to play.
On the back of his 1000th career victory, world number one Novak Djokovic is all set to take on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Italian Open final on Sunday. The match will commence live at 7:30 PM IST on May 15. The Serbian will look to win his 38th ATP Masters 1000 title, while the Greek will look to win his third. Ahead of what promises to be an exciting and nail-biting match, here is a look at how to watch Italian Open 2022 live in India, the US and the UK, and the Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas live stream details.
Fans in India wondering how to watch the Italian Open 2022 live can tune in to the Viacom 18 network, which has the official telecasting rights in the country. As for the Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas live stream, fans can tune in to the Voot app. Meanwhile, the live scores and the official updates of the match can be tracked on the social media handles of the ATP.
When it comes to the head-to-head record between the two, the duo have played each other on eight occasions, with Novak Djokovic having won six of the matches, while Stefanos Tsitsipas has won two games. The last encounter between the two took place at the famous Roland Garros 2021 final when the Serbian edged his Greek opponent 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in a five-set thriller. It is important to note that Djokovic has a clear edge on clay as he has won all four contests that have taken place on this surface between the two.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will square off against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday. The Serb entered the tournament following a semi-final exit at the Madrid Masters. Seeded first, he automatically received a bye to the second round, where he beat Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-2.
In the last 16, the 34-year-old defeated longtime rival Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime pushed him all the way, but the World No. 1 prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1) to book his place in the semifinals.
The Italian Open 2022 will have a new crowned champion today, when Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas face each other for the title in the final. Here, check out the information, preview, predictions and odds for this tennis match. You can watch it in the United States on fuboTV (free trial).
Djokovic, who has been playing less this season due to his unvaccinated status, returned to the tour in Madrid, where he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. However, he now has the chance to lift his first title of the season and his sixth title in Rome (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2020) after defeating Casper Rudd in the semis.
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will try to win his third Masters 1000 tournament, after winning Monte Carlo twice (2021, 2022) and his first Italian Open. The Greek defeated Alexander Zverev in the semifinals in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 3-6). It will be his second final against Djokovic on clay, after losing in Madrid 2019.
The final of the 2022 Italian Open will see two of the WTA tour's most in-form players -- Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur -- lock horns for the trophy on Sunday.
Swiatek is currently on a 27-match winning streak that dates back to her triumph in Qatar in February. The Pole has been virtually unbeatable, dropping just one set over the course of her streak.
Jabeur, meanwhile, has won 11 matches in a row. The Tunisian took home her first WTA 1000 crown in Madrid earlier this month and has pocketed another five wins in Rome this week.
Reigning champion Swiatek is seeking her fifth title of the year already, having triumphed in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.
The world number one has won a tour-best 34 matches this season – including each of her last 27 – and lost just one the last 41 sets she has played.
That red-hot streak form has continued in Rome. The 20-year-old, who is targeting a first successful title defence in her career, has dropped just 17 games all week; ruthlessly putting third seed Aryna Sabalenka to the sword 6-2 6-1 in the semi-finals.
Although, she was beaten by Jabeur in both of their meetings last year at Wimbledon and Cincinatti.
The ninth seed became the first Arab WTA winner in Madrid last week, and is now aiming to become only the third player to follow that up with victory in Rome in successive weeks after Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.
The Tunisian, who also reached the final in Charleston, is the form player on clay this season; her tally of 17 victories the best on the tour.
Like Swiatek, Jabeur is also protecting an impressive winning streak, having now prevailed in each of her last 11 matches.
May 14 (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic earned his 1,000th tour-level victory by beating Casper Ruud 6-4 6-3 on Saturday to reach the Italian Open final.
Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the title clash on Sunday, with the Serbian playing in the final in Rome for the fourth straight time and 12th overall.
It will be a repeat of last year's French Open final, which Djokovic won after fighting back from two sets down.
The Serbian becomes the fifth man in the Open Era to reach the 1,000-wins milestone, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal and he celebrated the moment in style by hoisting his arms high in the sky and receiving the acclaim of the Italian crowd.
While he is still some way behind his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the career wins list, this latest victory too the five-time champion in Rome through to his fourth straight final and 12th overall in the Italian capital.
This latest achievement cements Djokovic’s legacy as one of the greats of the modern game and his form in Rome suggests he is peaking just in time ahead of the French Open.
Djokovic had moved 4-0 ahead before Ruud, the world number 10, briefly rallied with a break back of his own at 5-3, but could not save the set slipping away.