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Djokovic to face Federer in Rome final

Djokovic to face Federer in Rome final

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will take on Roger Federer in the final of the Internazionali d'Italia after both players recorded impressive straight-sets semi-final victories on Saturday.

Djokovic - who is chasing a fourth tournament win on the clay in Rome having lifted the crown in 2008, 2011 and 2014 - overcame a typically tenacious David Ferrer 6-4 6-4.

Later in the day, Federer got the better of Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-2.

Djokovic made it nine consecutive victories over Ferrer and extended his phenomenal ongoing unbeaten run to 21 matches - marking him out as a strong favourite to collect a first French Open title next month as Rafael Nadal continues to struggle for form on his favoured surface.

In a punishing battle played largely from the back of the court, Djokovic broke for the first time in the third game with a routine forehand, but he was forced to dig deep when - serving for the set at 5-4 - Ferrer engineered a chance at 30-40.

The Spaniard could not convert, though, as he overhit his forehand and Djokovic took the opener.

His accurate groundstrokes continued in the second and, with Ferrer unable to convert another break-point chance in the sixth game, Djokovic soon broke his opponent to love to set up victory.

The Serb, though, was preoccupied with the condition of the court during the match, drawing the attention of the umpire to two visible dips in the playing surface.

"People need to understand that at this level every single thing matters to us, especially the court, which is the most important: the condition of play," Djokovic was quoted as saying.

"And it's obvious that the court is not where it's supposed to be, condition-wise. Last year was better. This year, as I understand it, they started making the court too late, only three weeks ago. That's not enough for a professional tournament of a Masters 1000 event.

"I just hope that for this tournament, which I like very much, that they will make sure next year that they take more time preparing the court.”

Irrespective of conditions underfoot, the prospect of a Djokovic versus Federer remains a mouthwatering one, and the Swiss former world number was in irresistible form as he dispatched of countryman Wawrinka.

Nadal was dumped out by Wawrinka in the previous round but the 2014 Australian Open champion was unable to offer up a repeat performance, despite establishing an early 3-0 lead.

Federer proceeded to rattle through six of the next seven games to claim the first set and raced to a 5-1 second-set advantage before closing out victory inside an hour.

Tags: ATP Rome | Novak Djokovic | Roger Federer | tennis

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