World no.1 Novak Djokovic brushed aside fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-1 on Friday in Rome to secure his place in the last four of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Djokovic, a two-time titlist at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, broke Tsonga five times and saved two break points faced on serve for the 1 hour, 22-minute victory.
Novak opened the match with a 3-0 lead, but Tsonga came back. Djokovic made a crucial break in the 12th game and sealed the set 7-5 in 58 minutes.
The Serbian no.1 star took the momentum into the second set. He stormed to a 5-0 lead and booked himself a semi-final spot in Rome for the fourth time two games later.
“In the second set I played one of the best sets on clay this year and this is encouraging for the challenges to come tomorrow and with the Roland Garros and I am playing and feeling better every match I play”, Novak said.
Match statistics: aces (5-3), double faults (1-2), winners (21-12), unforced errors (15-20).
With the win in their first meeting on clay, Novak leveled his H2H record with Tsonga to 5-5, and improved to a 29-4 season record.
The 24-year-old defending champion will face no.3 seed Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-final.
The Swiss ousted Serbia Open 2012 winner, Italian Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-2 in just 54 minutes.
Nole will take a 10-14 H2H record into his next match against the world no.2.
“If Roger is my opponent there are no secrets, we are rivals and we have had great matches in the past 4 or 5 years. No words need to be spent about his career in tennis and he is an all-round player and equally dangerous and varies his game – change of pace in his shots which is good in this surface — another challenge and I am looking forward to and when I go on court tomorrow I will try and win.”