Nadal edges out Djokovic in Rome Masters

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Nadal battles to defeat Djokovic in Rome

Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 on Saturday to reach the Rome Masters final.

Nadal, who is now 10-0 in semi-finals at the Foro Italico, broke loose after a tight first set lasting well over an hour to edge out Djokovic in their 51st career meeting in a rivalry stretching back to 2006.

In Sunday’s final, Nadal will face either defending champion Alexander Zverev or Marin Cilic.

In the women’s event, holder Elina Svitolina dominated Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3 in 74 minutes on Saturday to reach a second straight final at the Italian Open.

The Ukrainian will play for the trophy in Sunday against the winner of the high-profile semi-final between Maria Sharapova and top seed Simona Halep.

The first meeting between Svitolina and Kontaveit featured four breaks of serve in the first eight games, with the fourth-seeded defending champion snatching the early lead after 39 minutes.

Svitolina moved to 3-1 in the second set, reached 5-3 with an ace and served out victory a game later on her second match point.

“I’m very proud of myself already that I reached the final. You know, it was really tough, from the beginning, from the first match,” world number four Svitolina said.

“I work for these kind of matches, I work on it every day. When my opponent tries to hit everything, I have an answer.

“And when my opponent tries to play maybe a little bit more into court I can attack, so that’s an answer.

“Today, I think I was very solid with my performance. And this was really, really good. I’m very proud of this, that I could stay really consistent all match.”

Kontaveit, ranked 26th, has been on a roll against top-10 opponents, upsetting second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and No.9 Venus Williams this week.

“It was definitely a really good week for me. She was really tough today and played really great. I’m only taking the positives from this week,” the Estonian said.

“She had an answer to everything I gave her, it made me maybe try and do too much or do things I didn’t want to do.”

Svitolina will be bidding to win her eighth successive final dating back to last season as she bids for a third title this year after winning in Brisbane and Dubai.


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