Rome: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal won Saturday to set up an Italian Open tennis tournament final meeting, while British No.1 one Johanna Konta booked a final clash with Karolina Pliskova in the women’s summit clash.
World No.1 Djokovic overcame Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7(2-7), 6-3 and will face second seed Nadal for the 54th time Sunday, ahead of this month’s French Open.
Nadal progressed to his 50th Masters 1000 final thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, avenging his defeat to the 20-year-old at the same stage a week ago in Madrid.
Serbian Djokovic triumphed in last week’s Madrid Open and has a chance to win back-to-back clay-court titles after overcoming the spirited Schwartzman in two hours 31 minutes.
Schwartzman, playing in a Masters 1000 semi-final for the first time, fought back from losing the first set in 36 minutes to take the second after a dominant tie-break, but Djokovic got the crucial break in the sixth game of the deciding set to clinch victory.
Djokovic leads his head-to-head with Nadal by 28 wins to 25, but the Spaniard has dominated on clay with 16 victories to the Serbian’s seven.
The 32-year-old Nadal broke Tsitsipas’s serve early in both sets while holding his own service games as he wrapped up victory in one hour 43 minutes.
“It’s an important victory for me because I played a solid match against a good player and a player who is winning lot of matches on this surface,” Nadal said. “Winning in straight sets against him is a very positive result.”
In the women’s singles, Konta came from a set behind to beat Madrid Open champion Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and progress to her first WTA Premier clay final. She will face world number seven Pliskova, who defeated Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-4.
Konta in the process became the first British woman to reach the final of the tournament since Virginia Wade in 1971.