Rome Masters: Novak edges past Ferrer to secure semi-final spot!

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No.2 seed Novak Djokovic overcame a strong challenge from fifth-seeded David Ferrer to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 on Friday and reach the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament in Rome.

The match lasted two hours and 31 minutes.

Players traded breaks in the opening set. Novak managed to break once again in the 12th game for 7-5.

Ferrer fought back to clinch the second set 6-4 and force a decider.

Djokovic was more determined than his rival in the final third set. He won it 6-3 and improved his H2H record with the Spaniard to 12-5.

The 26-year-old Belgrade native recorded his sixth victory in a row over the world no.5 and second on clay in their five career meetings on the red surface.

“It was the most physical match I had on clay this year,” said Novak. “I am really glad to overcome this challenge because David is a great competitor. I respect him a lot. We all know how good his record is on clay – the best after Nadal. Knowing that I am going to work for every single point of the match, coming out as a winner gives me a lot of satisfaction and confidence.”

Match statistics: aces (3-2), double faults (2-0), winners (39-25), unforced errors (35-28), total points won (98-91).

Novak will face Canadian Milos Raonic on Saturday about 14:00 CET.

The Serb won their only previous encounter, in the 2013 Davis Cup semis (7-6, 6-2, 6-2).

Defending champion Rafael Nadal (ESP, 1) will meet Grigor Dimitrov (BUL, 12) in the second semi-final of the day.

Photo: AP

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