All eyes will be on the potential 51st meeting between he and Rafael Nadal in the semi finals of Rome but first Novak Djokovic will have to fight off a surging Juan Martin Del Potro in the Friday night late match.
Djokovic had the opportunity to boost his season in a major way in Madrid when he took on Nadal but the Spaniard ended a 7 match losing streak in the head to head with a comprehensive victory over his rival. Straight sets victories over Aljaz Bedene and Roberto Bautista Agut were routine for him in previous rounds. Del Potro should offer a far tougher test but Djokovic is confident. “I feel like today’s match was one of the better ones that I have played this clay-court season, but also in the past couple of months. It came at the right time, of course. All the players are aiming to raise their level of tennis as we’re approaching Paris, but especially here in Rome at one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world,” he said.
Del Potro has looked in fine form this week with victory over Kyle Edmund sandwiched in between two big victories over Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori, the latter impressively in straight sets.
Both their 2017 matches were won by Djokovic to extend the head to head to 13-4 but the Argentinean was competitive in both matches, taking a set in each. “My game is improving on this surface, which is important for my confidence. I think I’m not very far away from my highest level, so I’m happy for that,” said del Potro. “I’m looking forward to doing it tomorrow against Novak.”
It should be a thrilling encounter if Delpo keeps up his form of this week and if he can see off Djokovic, whispers of him being a legitimate threat at Roland Garros might not be all that wrong.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in three sets