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 matches won on the ATP circuit on Saturday evening. And the world number 1 did it with style by imposing his law on a Casper Ruud, 10th at the ATP and yet eye-catching, in two sets (6-4, 6-3) and a little over an hour. and a half game (1h42 exactly) 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 Félix Auger-Aliassime, the Serb showed that he was clearly approaching his very best level this Saturday evening in the half. 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 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 gave the feeling of always being one step ahead and of reciting his tennis. Completely dominated by the Serbian’s early balls, the Norwegian then showed a lot of courage not to sink and even go straight into the game, even recovering one of his two late serves.

Novak Djokovic with a cake for his 1000 victories on the circuit in Rome in 2022

Credit: AFP

So much so that it still took Djokovic almost an hour to take the lead. More embarrassed by the volume of shots and Ruud’s short cross angles, 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 better care of the quality and length of his returns, not missing in 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 resounded 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 removed 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 a year 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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