He may have needed another three set battle, but world No. 2 Novak Djokovic is through to the semi-final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where he will now meet Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic for a spot in the final. This is the scond time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Djokovic leading the head-to-head series 1-0.
Arguably the most entertaining contest this week took on Friday afternoon, as Djokovic and David Ferrer dazzled the Italian crowd with a highly entertaining performance, which concluded with a magnificent rally and finishing shot from the world No. 2.
The contest lasted 2 hours and 32 minutes. Djokovic was broken in the opening set but regained his break and snatched the set in the 12th game. Ferrer would respond with a break in the seventh game of the second set to equalize the contest. The third set was the most entertaining, as Ferrer worked his way back from 1-3 down but eventually lost the set 6-3.
Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic arrived at the Rome semi-finals after defeating France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 on Thursday afternoon. It was a straightforward performance from the Canadian, apart from the second set, where he was broken for the first time in the tournament and forced to contend a third set. Overall, Raonic hit 14 aces and managed 87% of his first service points.
“I don’t think clay will be my best surface, but I think it can come close. I like having the time. I’ve just got to not doubt my game plan in tough moments, like at the end of the second set where I got a little bit too defensive. I’ve got to keep my foot on the pedal, play aggressive and try to dictate as much as I can. I think the clay can be good for me.”
This marks just the second time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional circuit, with their first meeting taking place in Davis Cup competition last season. Djokovic and Raonic met in the fourth rubber in the Serbia vs Canada tie, which Djokovic won in straight sets. If the Serb remains in form, he should have little trouble dispatching his Canadian adversary on Friday afternoon.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets