1000th victory and qualification in the final for Novak Djokovic, winner of Casper Ruud (6-4, 6-3)

He is now part of the prestigious club of five. Like Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal before him, Novak Djokovic reached the mythical bar of 1000 games won on the ATP circuit on Saturday evening. And the world number 1 did it with style by imposing his law on Casper Ruud, 10th at the ATP yet eye-catching, in two sets (6-4, 6-3) and a little over an hour and a half of play (1h42 exactly) in the half of the Masters 1000 in Rome. Sunday, he will thus try to get his 6th title for his 12th final in the Italian capital, against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev’s scorer (4-6, 6-3, 6-3).

ATP Rome

He will not miss the call: Djokovic qualified for the semi-finals


He only has one more victory to conquer to approach Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5) in ideal conditions. Coming to Rome to protect his place as world number 1 and above all to confirm his rise to power, Novak Djokovic has already succeeded on both counts. In line with his impressive quarter-final against FĂ©lix Auger-Aliassime, the Serb showed that he was clearly approaching his very best level this Saturday evening in the semis. Faced with a Casper Ruud who delivered a fight of great physical intensity, he gave the feeling of accelerating when he wanted.

Ruud was brave, but Djokovic handled his business admirably

To tell the truth, the score could have been more severe as long as Djokovic impressed in the first quarter of an hour of this match. Too fast, too precise and too aggressive for a Ruud wandering from one end of the court to the other, he offered himself a double entry break. The difference was such between the two players that the boss of the circuit always seemed to be one step ahead and to recite his tennis. Completely dominated by the Serbian’s early balls, the Norwegian then showed a lot of courage not to sink and go straight into the game, even recovering one of his two late serves.

Novak Djokovic

Credit: Getty Images

So much so that it still took Djokovic almost an hour to take the lead. Advantage hampered by the volume of shots and short angles crossed by Ruud, he also refocused on the essentials at the start of the second set: winning his service games. More and more aggressive, his opponent then lacked the precision to really worry him. And as if he had suddenly re-energized, the world number 1 resurfaced at 3-3. Despite fierce resistance from Ruud, he focused on taking even greater care with the quality and length of his returns, not missing the exchange and exploiting the slightest short ball to take the advantage. On his 4th opportunity, this undermining work ended up paying off.

A loud cry then held back in the Foro Italico. That of a hungry champion, with the rage to win intact and even perhaps reinforced by the adventures of his start to the year. He thus deleted the last three games to fold the case in the blink of an eye while the showdown was fierce a few minutes earlier. Djokovic seems ready to conclude in style for his reunion with Stefanos Tsitsipas almost one after their final at Roland-Garros. One thing is certain: the Greek will have a lot to do to take his revenge and end his series of five defeats against the Serb.

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