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Spaniard Raphael Nadal will battle Serbian Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final in Rome having survived 2-1 set down in the first set to save four break points and maintained superlative performance in the next game before claiming the set.

The 34 year-old one break serve was enough as he secured victory in the Italian capital beating American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, while Novak Djokovic triumphed over home boy Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 to qualify for the final.

The Serbian who was at the court twice Saturday as he came from a set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a match that was affected by rain in the quarter- final before playing Sonego after Nadal’s match.

Before the match was suspended the Serbian trailed 6-4, 2-1 against the Greece Tsitsipas, but broke serve twice when the game resumed Saturday to force a decider. The match eventually ended 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach the final four. Russian Andrey Rublev was also beaten by Sonego 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Saturday to set up a semi-final against Novak Djokovic.

In the semi-final match the Serbian had up to the second set, he had served for the match at 6-5 before the 26 year-old levelled after the second set. Sonego eventually succumbed to the superior power of Djokovic 7-5 and it continued in the third with Djokovic reasserting himself to the game with a victory to set up an Italian Open Final against Raphael Nadal,  

“Rome is such an important tournament for me. To be in the final again is so important for me,” Nadal said.

Meanwhile, Raphael Nadal considers the Italian Open work in progress for Roland Garros,

“In terms of preparation for the [the French Open at] Roland Garros, I consider the job done. Tomorrow is not at all preparation. It’s a final, an important one, and I want to be competitive.”

The 2021 Italian Open will be Nadal’s 12th final in Rome.

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