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After crashing out of the Madrid Open last week, world No.1 Novak Djokovic has followed up impressive wins against Aslan Karatsev and Stan Wawrinka this week with an emphatic win against Felix Auger Aliassime in their first ever meeting on the ATP tour. Djokovic, a five-time champion in Rome, will play clay specialist Casper Ruud in the final four.



Novak Djokovic is through to the Italian Open semi-finals after a thrilling 7-5 7-6(1) win over Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Djokovic was relatively untroubled as he pursues a sixth Rome title, producing one of his best performances in 2022 to record a stylish 999th career win.
The straight-sets masterclass from the 20-time Grand Slam winner, in what was arguably the best match of the clay season so far, means he will play Norway’s Casper Ruud in Saturday’s semi-final.



“I thought I could have finished the job [against Auger-Aliassime] earlier,” Djokovic said on-court afterwards. “I was a set and 5-2 up and was serving for the match, but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight.”
On facing Ruud next, Djokovic said: “Great quality opponent. A clay-court specialist, but he has improved a lot on other services and played in the final at Miami this year.
“A very hard worker, nice guy. We practice a lot and get on well off the court. Tomorrow on the court we want to win against each other no doubt.”



After a tight opening to the first set, Djokovic thought he got the breakthrough in the eighth game, breaking the Auger-Aliassime serve when the Canadian fired a forehand long after a lengthy rally.
But Auger-Aliassime fought back immediately to get the tie on serve after Djokovic miscontrolled a backhand.
Both players engaged in a high-quality baseline battle, but Djokovic snatched the set on Auger Aliassime’s serve thanks to a violent cross-court winner. Djokovic let out a passionate roar having won a set where he only made seven unforced errors.



Auger Aliassime retained his composure in a tense opening to the second set where neither player gave up a break point. That was until the sixth game when Auger-Aliassime slipped on the clay to hand Djokovic two.
Although the world No. 10 rescued both with an ace and a forehand winner, a string of unforced errors from the 21-year-old presented Djokovic with a further two. Djokovic made no mistake on the fourth attempt, finishing off a sensational rally by lobbing Auger Aliassime.




Djokovic saved two break points to move within a game of the semi-finals. Auger Aliassime just about held his next service game, saving a match point, before breaking back to 5-5 after a rare unforced error from Djokovic.
It went to a tie-break and it was Djokovic who seized the early initiative with a perfect drop shot to go 2-0 up.
Djokovic did not relent after that, bamboozling Auger-Aliassime with some fine winners to seal his place in the last four.



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