World no.2 Novak Djokovic will have the opportunity to win his third Internazionali BNL d’Italia title after he beat no.8 seed, Canadian Milos Raonic, 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 on Saturday in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court event in Rome.
The Serb sealed his 23rd win of the season in three hours.
After splitting the first two sets, with Novak taking the second set tie-breaker, the Belgrade native continued the momentum into a decider. He broke in the first and ninth games to reach his 29th career Masters final and improve his H2H record with Raonic to 2-0.
“It was a big win,” said Novak. “Because it gives me a lot of strength and belief that I hope I can carry into tomorrow’s final and the rest of the season.
“He played at a high level, especially on his serve, and I cannot recall the last time when I felt so helpless in the return games. I couldn’t really read his serve.”
Match statistics: aces (3-16), double faults (1-3), winners (29-55), unforced errors (16-42).
Novak will meet the defending champion and top seed Rafael Nadal (H2H 18-22) for the championship crown (Sunday at 16:00 CET). The Spaniard beat Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 .
Djokovic will look to lift the trophy for the third time, having been triumphant at Foro Italico in 2008 and 2011.
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