Djokovic sets up Nadal final

Djokovic sets up Nadal final

World number one Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in straight sets on Saturday and will play Rafael Nadal in the Rome Masters final for the second year in a row.

Defending champion Djokovic ended Federer’s hopes of back- to-back claycourt titles with a gutsy 6-2, 7-6 victory over the Swiss. Five-time Rome champion Nadal wore down fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6, 6-0 to reach his 70th career final.
In their first meeting since last year’s US Open semifinal, which Djokovic won, the Serb broke twice to win the first set.

Dominating the baseline rallies, top seed Djokovic constantly forced Federer on to the back foot and an errant forehand handed him the break for 4-3 in the second.
Suddenly Federer became more aggressive and began to vary his game and when he saved a match point at 5-4 before breaking back, he was back in the match. But Djokovic regained his poise just in time to clinch the tiebreak 7-4 when Federer sent a backhand long.

“That was my best claycourt match of the year,” Djokovic told reporters. “I expected him to be aggressive but I stayed close to the baseline and I felt good all the way through.”

Federer said he was feeling tired having won the title in Madrid last weekend but admitted he had been outplayed. “I thought he played very, very well,” he said. “He’s not the number one in the world for no reason.

“I had a couple of chances in the second set but couldn’t take them. But I would have taken my results from these two weeks, so I am very happy going into Paris.”
In the first semifinal, Nadal made it 12 wins in a row on clay against Ferrer in a match in which a gruelling first set lasted 86 minutes.

Sixth seed Ferrer had the better of it early on and led 3-1 but Nadal fought straight back and after taking the tiebreak 8-6, he ran away with the second.

Bhupathi-Bopanna exit

The seventh-seeded Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna crashed out after suffering a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

The Spaniards raced to a 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and five minutes in the semifinals.

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