Novak Djokovic admitted he was upset not to shut out his Italian Open match against Felix Auger-Aliassime sooner after clinching a 7-5 7-6(1) win of their first profession meeting. The world No 1 is now eyeing a milestone a thousandth win in tomorrow’s match against Casper Ruud.
Djokovic led Auger-Aliassime by a set and 5-2, holding a match point on the Canadian’s serve before the eighth seed managed to carry on and break the world No 1, sending the second set right into a tiebreak where Djokovic eventually got the job done. After the match, he admitted he was upset to not have closed it out earlier as he complimented his opponent after what was their first meeting.
“I thought I could’ve finished the job earlier,” he confessed. “I used to be a set, 5-2 match point, and serving for the match but credit to him for fighting back and amazing atmosphere as well tonight.” Although he needed longer than hoped to shut out the match, Djokovic scored his 999th profession victory against the Canadian and is now searching for win number 1000 over Casper Ruud within the semi-finals.
Asked whether Rome was a superb place to achieve the milestone, he said: “Yes, yes absolutely. So hopefully it will possibly occur tomorrow.” The 20-time Major champion had also been surprised with some elements of the world No 9’s game despite sharing the practice court several times prior to now.
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“Well I believed that it was high level tennis,” he said of their first meeting. “Different conditions playing at night, It’s slower, the ball bounces lower. Never faced him before, I do know Felix well, I mean he’s been around top of the boys’s game for quite just a few years but we never got a probability to face one another.”
Noting one a part of the 21-year-old’s game that actually stood out to him, he continued: “And he’s got a lethal serve truthfully, one thing is to practice and the opposite thing is to play against anyone in an official match. He’s hitting his spots within the box incredibly well with the serve. It was tough for me in any respect to return and he’s also returning well, he’s moving well, he’s a really complete player. He did ask me to lift the extent and I needed to play consistently well.”
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Djokovic will now face Casper Ruud in Saturday’s semi-final, with the Norwegian standing between him and a a thousandth profession victory. The world No 1 has won their two previous meetings, including the semi-finals in Rome two years ago. “Geat quality opponent again,” he said of the 23-year-old.
“Clay court specialist but he has improved rather a lot on other surfaces and played finals of Miami this 12 months. A really hard employee, nice guy, and we practice rather a lot, get along well off the court but tomorrow obviously on the court we wish to win against one another little doubt. Played him here couple years ago within the semis, we played through the day, tomorrow it’s gonna at night so hopefully I can play in addition to I did tonight.”