Novak Djokovic moved into the semi-finals and later the final of the Italian Open on Saturday, as he first overcame Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 in their delayed quarter-final match. He followed it up with an easy win over Dominic Thiem, losing just a single game.
The quarter-final tussle was interrupted by rain on Friday evening, with Djokovic resuming a set up early on semi-final day. And he kept composed to come through a potentially difficult contest, grabbing a break and serving out the match.
His semi-final against an overmatched Thiem was far easier, with the Austrian putting up little resistance. He'll face Alexander Zverev in the final.
In the women's draw, the finalists have also been confirmed, as sixth seed Simona Halep eased past Kiki Bertens in straight sets and Garbine Muguruza retired against Elina Svitolina.
Here are the results so far from Rome:
|Italian Open 2017: Saturday Schedule|
|*(2) Novak Djokovic bt. Juan Martin del Potro||6-1, 6-4|
|(16) Alexander Zverev bt. John Isner||6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1|
|(2) Novak Djokovic bt. (8) Dominic Thiem||6-1, 6-0|
|(6) Simona Halep bt. (15) Kiki Bertens||7-5, 6-1|
|(8) Elina Svitolina bt. (3) Garbine Muguruza||4-1, ret.|
Djokovic started a potentially testing match with Del Potro in style on Friday. Having lost an early break, the Serb rattled off six games in succession to take the set 6-1, targeting his opponent's backhand.
And while Del Potro performed to a higher standard at the start of the second stanza, he would have been pleased to see the heavens open, with the second seed in irresistible touch.
When the play resumed on Saturday, there were no signs that Djokovic had lost any of his momentum overnight, holding serve to level things up and then breaking in the next game.
Per Live Tennis, Djokovic was back into his groove quickly:
Live Tennis @livetennis
#Djokovic picks up right where he left off, pummeling the #delPotro backhand, then landing a superb drop shot winner to break for 3-2. https://t.co/WDg4KFpDDS2017-5-20 12:28:41
After letting a break point slip by in the next game, Del Potro's will seemed to be broken. And while he made Djokovic serve this one out, the Serb always looked as though he had a couple of more gears to go through.
He proved that in his late match against Thiem, as the Serb needed less than an hour to book his spot in the final. Record's Jose Morgado was impressed:
José Morgado @josemorgado
Djokovic beats Thiem 6-1, 6-0 in 59 minutes to reach his 8th career final in Rome. That was quite something [getty] https://t.co/vaCTh9kZsm2017-5-20 19:11:43
The unfortunate Austrian spent most of the match chasing after perfectly placed winners, as Djokovic found superb range with his shots. The rallies were hardly competitive, and the Serb showed his mastery in the return game as well.
Zverev struggled against John Isner before turning it on in the final set, and he'll need to show that kind of form to have a chance against the Djoker.
The first match of the day saw Halep keep up her excellent form in Rome, overcoming Bertens in routine style.
As we can see here, after edging a narrow first set, the shackles were off the Romanian at the start of the second stanza:
.@Simona_Halep in complete control! #ibi17 https://t.co/u2oigr0eCs2017-5-20 11:32:31
She went on to hammer Bertens 6-1 in the second, securing her place in another final. Indeed, Halep is undoubtedly a player to watch as the French Open nears, as she was crowned champion in her last tournament, the Madrid Open.
Her opponent in the final will be Svitolina, who barely had to break a sweat against Muguruza. The Spanish clay specialist needed treatment after her win in the quarter-finals and lasted less than half an hour on Saturday.