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Djokovic became a millennial and reached the final in Rome

Latest NewsDjokovic became a millennial and reached the final in Rome

After an overwhelming start, until which Kasper Ruud could not do anything, the Roman, smiling, waved a banner in the stands of Foro Italico: “Time for Djokovic.” It couldn’t be more accurate. Novak Djokovic (Belgrade, 34 years old) was confidently walking on the clay of Rome to another Masters 1000 final, 55th in his career and twelfth on Italian soil. The world number one beat the 23-year-old Norwegian in the semi-finals to claim his 1,000th win in the professional ring, a milestone that only four players have so far reached: Jimmy Connors (1274), Roger Federer (1251), Ivan Lendl. (1068) and Rafael Nadal (1051).

Without the Spaniard at the tournament, suffering from severe pain in his legs after losing to Shapovalov in the quarterfinals, Djokovic copes with the effort like no other. His face is deceiving. Looks tired, but it’s a bluff. The Serbian exaggerates the sighs between points, but he stretches, rubs and slides on the ground when the ball is in play.

Ruud, a good boy who doesn’t seem to know how to get angry, played Djokovic twice. He lost both. And there are already three of them. Nothing that can be attributed to him, anyway, because he did not play badly at any time under the closed night of the Italian capital (the game started almost an hour late). In fact, the Norwegian managed to balance the scales for most of the second set. Not enough, no matter what, against Djokovic, who ended the match with a right hand that Ruud no longer wanted to look at from afar.

This Sunday, the Serbian will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas (16:00, Movistar Deportes), who a few hours earlier beat Alexander Zverev (4-6, 6-3, 6-3), ending a rematch for what happened in Madrid when the German reached the final and lost to Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic has faced the Greek eight times: six wins and two losses. Of course, on clay, all his fights with Tsitsipas are counted as victories. A symptom of what a final could be like, where the world number could lift his 87th title before flying to Paris.

There, at Roland Garros, the Serb will come number one in the world, no matter what happens to Tsitsipas. Djokovic has now led the ATP rankings for 370 weeks, more than any other tennis player in history. Roger Federer, next on the list, was at 310 weeks; Nadal, sixth, during 209.

Djokovic will come to Paris not only as one of the main favorites, but also very close to his best form. Having reached the final in his home city of Belgrade, Balkan dropped out in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open a week ago and is already a finalist in Rome, where he will attempt to lift his sixth trophy. Only Nadal, with ten Foro Italico wins, has more victories.

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