He is now a member of the prestigious Club of Five. Like Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal ahead of him, Novak Djokovic hit the legendary 1000-win ATP circuit on Saturday night. And the world number one did it with manner by imposing his law on a Casper Ruud, 10th in the ATP and yet catchy, in two innings (6-4, 6-3) and just over an hour and a half of play (1:42 exactly) in half of the Masters 1000 in Rome. On Sunday, he will try to get his 6th title for his 12th final in the Italian capital, against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who fell to Alexander Zverev (4-6, 6-3, 6-3).
He will not miss the call: Djokovic qualified for the halves
ONE DAY AGO
He has only one victory to win to tackle Roland Garros under ideal conditions. Coming to Rome to protect his world No. 1 spot and most importantly to confirm his rise to power, Novak Djokovic has already succeeded on both boards. In the line of his impressive quarter-final against Félix Auger-Aliassime, the Serb showed that he is clearly approaching his best level this Saturday night 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
In fact, 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 strolled from one end of the court to the other, he offered himself a double entry break. The difference was such that between the two players, the boss of the circuit gave the feeling of always having a time ahead and reciting his tennis. Completely dominated by the Serb’s early shots, the Norwegian then showed great courage to not sink and even return straight to the game, even recovering one of his two late services.
Novak Djokovic with a cake for his 1000 victories on the circuit in Rome in 2022
So much so that it still took Djokovic nearly an hour to turn the lead. More embarrassed by Ruud’s strike volume and short cross corners, he refocused on the essentials at the start of the second set: winning his service games. Increasingly aggressive, his opponent then lacked precision to really worry him. And as if he had suddenly regained his energy, the world number one resurfaced at 3-3. Despite Ruud’s fierce resistance, he worked hard to pay even more attention to the quality and length of his returns, not to miss the exchange, and to use the shortest shot to take advantage. At his 4th opportunity, this undermining job ended up paying off.
A loud shout then rang out in the Foro Italico. That of a hungry champion, in a rage to win intact and perhaps even strengthened by the vicissitudes of his early year. He removed the last three games to fold the case in the blink of an eye when the iron arm was fierce a few minutes earlier. Djokovic seems to be preparing 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 revenge and end his five-game losing streak against the Serb.
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