A great classic. For the sixth time, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will face each other this Sunday in the Masters 1000 final in Rome. A match to follow live from 5 p.m. on Eurosport 1.
The two men, who continue to write tennis history, have not come face to face since the Roland-Garros final won last October by the Spaniard, who won his 13th Musketeers Cup Porte d’Auteuil (6-0, 6-2, 7-5). But before this 57th confrontation, a record in the Open era, the Serbian still leads against the current world No. 3 with 29 victories (against 27 for Nadal), including 16 in the final (against 12).
Nadal, however, remains the master on his favorite surface with 18 successes against only 7 for the world No. 1. In the last five finals on Roman clay, the Mallorcan has won the title three times. In total, Nadal, record holder for the number of coronations, has won nine times for eleven finals in the Italian capital as the Serb has five titles in ten finals.
For this reunion always eagerly awaited, “Rafa” could present itself with more freshness, after a quieter Saturday by dismissing the American Reilly Opelka (47th world) in two sets (6-4, 6-4), but also with a confidence regained after his elimination in the quarter-finals during the two previous Masters 1000 on ocher (Monte-Carlo, Madrid).
For his part, Novak Djokovic had to fight to join Nadal. In a poorly embarked quarter-final suspended Friday because of the rain, he first had to overthrow Stefanos Tsitsipas (4-6, 7-5, 7-5) before getting rid of the Italian a few hours later. Lorenzo Sonego again in three sets (6-3, 6-7, 6-2). For the final, he hopes to have “recovered and have good legs”. He will need it to overcome his biggest rival.