Good weather has returned to Rome and so has the “real” Novak Djokovic. At the end of a magnificent and breathtaking fight, the world number 1 ended up dominating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals (4-6, 7-5, 7-5), thus reversing a situation which was badly started. When the game was interrupted by rain on Friday night, “Djoko” was indeed led 6-4, 2-1 break. Once again jostled by the Greek, he nevertheless found the resources to go up three times a break behind. This heroic victory should give him a lot of confidence.
Tsitsipas however broke away 4-2 in the second set, thus confirming the advantage gained the day before. But two key games rocked the second act. The first, at 4-3, where Djokovic managed to break through by dismissing three balls of 5-3 in the process. The second, 4 everywhere, where the Serb saved three break points which were worth gold. Rejuvenated, he looked only from a distance like the almost expiatory victim of the day before. Much more enterprising, he equalized on his fourth set point by unleashing a forehand acceleration along the line. For the Greek, everything had to be redone.
Tsitsipas however set off again on board and checked the first break of the last set. Djokovic threw down his racket in rage, receiving a warning. But he didn’t give up. On energy, he dismissed four double-break points at 3-1 in an eleven-minute long game. Above all, he exerted constant pressure on his rival’s service. His break (3-3) was short-lived since he gave up his commitment to 4 everywhere. But a formidable defense play prevented Tsitsipas from concluding on his service at 5-4.
Merciless, “Djoko” nailed him to the ground during the twelfth game. This quarter-final, 253 points long and 3:16, was worth for its intensity (37 break points in total!) And its technical quality (42 winning points for Djokovic, 38 for Tsitsipas). In the semi-finals, at the end of the afternoon, the world number 1, five times winner in the Italian capital (in ten finals), will face Lorenzo Sonego (33rd), surprise winner of Andrey Rublev (7th). The other semi-final will oppose Rafael Nadal (3rd) and Reilly Opelka (46th).