Djokovic bags 1,000th career win to reach Italian Open final

Rome, May 15 (BNA) World number one Novak Djokovic achieved his 1,000th victory at the level of the Tour by defeating Casper Rudd 6-4 6-3 to reach the final of the Italian Open.

Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s title match, as the Serbian plays in the final in Rome for the fourth consecutive time and twelfth place overall, Reuters reports.

This would be a repeat of last year’s French Open final, which Djokovic won after trailing by two sets.

“Once again, another final against him in one of the biggest tournaments we have in the world,” Djokovic told reporters.

“He’s in shape for sure. I can expect a big fight, but I’m ready for it.”

The 34-year-old is the fifth player in the Open Era to reach 1,000 wins after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafa Nadal.

“I’ve seen Roger and Rafa celebrate these milestones in the past two years,” Djokovic said. “I was looking forward to getting to that millennium myself.”

“It’s been a long time, since I played my first match, since I won my first match of the Tour. I hope I can continue.”

Playing under the spotlight, Djokovic broke Norwegian Ruud twice to take a solid 4-0 lead as the top seed started fast.

Ruud broke from 5-3 down Djokovic and held serve, but the 20-time winner finished the set.

In the second set, Rudd saved three break points in the seventh game before Djokovic broke to advance 4-3.

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Djokovic broke the Rod again as he finished winning in 1 hour 42 minutes and the Serbian will be seeking the ATP Masters 1000 world record title in Sunday’s final.

Earlier, world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the final in Rome for the first time after defeating Greek Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Tsitsipas, who will rise to fourth in the ATP rankings next week, will bid for his third Masters 1000 title on Sunday.

In the third semi-final on the Masters 1000 clay court between the duo of the season, Tsitsipas beat Zverev as he remained consistent from the baseline and strong on serve.

“The battle of the transmission,” said Tsitsipas. “The battle of being able to take that first shot after serving and putting a lot of pressure on it, and I think I was able to put in a really good performance in the third set.

“I was able to get a few back in the third a little bit more than him, run the ball, stay in those pools, and not give up a lot.

“I was really trying to stay there as long as possible and make everyone count.”

Zverev played an emotional role in the first set with his first serve running like clockwork, but the German missed a set for the first time in this year’s tournament as Tsitsipas raised his level in the second.

Tsitsipas scored the first goal in the deciding set, earning a break to lead 3-2 when Zverev sent a forehand into the net.

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Tsitsipas broke Zverev again for a comfortable win, now claiming 31 wins in the tournament this year and leading the head-to-head against Zverev 8-4.

Zverev has yet to win a title this season.

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