Novak Djokovic joins an exclusive club as he storms into Italian Open final
Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud in straight sets to book his place in the final of the Italian Open – and secured his 1000th career win in the process.
The Serbian becomes the fifth man in the Open Era to reach the 1,000-wins milestone, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal and he celebrated the moment in style by hoisting his arms high in the sky and receiving the acclaim of the Italian crowd.
While he is still some way behind his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the career wins list, this latest victory too the five-time champion in Rome through to his fourth straight final and 12th overall in the Italian capital.
Djokovic had moved 4-0 ahead before Ruud, the world number 10, briefly rallied with a break back of his own at 5-3, but could not save the set slipping away.
The second set proved much closer, staying on serve until the seventh game when Djokovic eventually converted a fourth break-point chance.
A comfortable hold put the Serbian on the brink of a landmark victory, which he delivered with another break, smashing a forehand crosscourt return, to progress 6-4 6-3 to Sunday’s final, where he will play Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic said: “Thanks to the tournament and the crowd for celebrating the milestone with me.
“I’m really, really blessed to have that many victories on the tour.
“It’s been a long time, ever since I played my first match, ever since I won my first match on the tour. Hopefully I can keep going.
Thank you 🧁! Thank you all for being on this journey with me thus far! ❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Blessed and privileged to have reached this milestone and hoping for many more victories to come 💪🏼😃
See you tomorrow Roma IDEMO !!
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 14, 2022
“Seeing Roger and Rafa celebrate these milestones in the last couple years, I was looking forward to getting to that milestone myself.
“It is a long time since I won my first match on Tour. Hopefully I can keep going and there are many more victories to come.”
Most career wins in the Open era:
Jimmy Connors: 1,274
Roger Federer: 1,251
Ivan Lendl: 1,068
Rafael Nadal: 1,051
Novak Djokovic: 1,000
Stefanos Tsitsipas reveals what it means to be ‘In Flow’
Stefanos Tsitsipas said: ‘It felt like I was in a cage and someone decided to unlock the cage and I suddenly felt free.’
Australian Open triumph sweetened by Aryna Sabalenka’s semi-final heartache
The Belarusian is the first grand slam singles champion playing under a neutral flag.
Elena Rybakina rues missed chances in Australian Open final defeat
Elena Rybakina was the first woman to take a set off Aryna Sabalenka this season but couldn’t match her intensity for two and a half hours.
Aryna Sabalenka dedicates Australian Open trophy to her ‘crazy’ team
Aryna Sabalenka says her team deserve the Australian Open trophy more than she does.
Aryna Sabalenka proves doubters wrong with emotional Grand Slam triumph
Aryna Sabalenka found another level to win brutal Australian Open final.
Aryna Sabalenka goes from underarm serving and 428 double faults in 2022 to mentality monster
Aryna Sabalenka has gone from underarm serving to coming up clutch in big moments.
Aryna Sabalenka powers her way to Australian Open title with impressive win over Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka is a Grand Slam champion!
Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov under fire: ‘I hope she finds a coach who speaks and treats her with respect’
Stefano Vukov hasn’t made too many friends with his behaviour during matches.
Third time lucky for Alfie Hewett as he sets sights on being ‘figurehead’ for wheelchair tennis
The 25-year-old from Norfolk won his maiden Australian Open wheelchair singles title.
Novak Djokovic’s family ‘upset’ over flag uproar as Australian Open chief urges them ‘to be really careful’
“The family were very good. They were upset that it was taken that way.”