Stefanos Tsitsipas to face Novak Djokovic in Italian Open final
Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final on Sunday after he fought back to beat Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Rome.
Tsitsipas recovered from losing the hard-fought opening set as he completed a stirring comeback win.
The Greek star needed to find another level against the man he lost to in Madrid last week.
“He wasn’t giving me much, he made me work hard for every single point,” said Tsitsipas after the match. “I’m extremely proud of the way things turned around, and I was able to read the gameplay a little bit better and understand what was working at that time.”
Tsitsipas is relishing the opportunity to face Djokovic in the historic Foro Italico.
“It’s one of those tournaments that I think has the most history in sport,” said Tsitsipas. “As you can see looking around the sides, one of the most beautiful stadiums. There’s a lot of history playing on these courts and you feel very proud that you made your way here and are able to participate in such a historically rich event.”
The Italian Open final will be the first meeting between the two men since Djokovic battled back from two sets down to win his 20th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros last year.
Djokovic also won the last meeting between the two in Rome, which came in the quarter-finals in 2021.
The World No 1 has not dropped a set on his way to the final crushing Aslan Karatsev and Stan Wawrinka before cruising past Felix Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud.
Tsitsipas meanwhile has had to scrap to make it to the championship match.
He needed three sets to get past Grigor Dimitrov in the Rome opening round and even afforded the Bulgarian a pair of match points.
Tsitsipas then scored a pair comeback wins against Karen Khachanov, in the third round, and Alexander Zverev, in the semi-finals.
Djokovic expects another intense battle from Tsitsipas on Sunday.
“He’s definitely in form,” he said.
“These last few years he’s been one of the top two, three clay court players…. I can expect a big battle on the court but I’m ready for it.”
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