The Serbian Novak Djokovic eliminated this Friday, in the quarter-final of the Masters 1000 in Rome, the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime in two sets, 7-5 and 7-6 (1), and meets in the semi-final the Norwegian Casper Ruud . .
The brave Canadian with the world number 1 could not play on center court at Foro Italico. The first duel between the two tennis players falls on the side of the favorite, who had to push himself to the maximum to counter the assaults of his young rival and retain first place in the ATP rankings, who would have yielded to the Russian Daniil. Medvedev in case he succumbed in the Italian clay during this day.
And it is that Auger-Aliassime, called to be one of the greats of his generation, made ‘Nole’ sweat, mainly with his services during the first set, where he signed six direct hits. He didn’t miss in the second, in which he finished five ‘aces’, eleven in total.
Djokovic, who was not comfortable at the start of the match, responded with long exchanges of blows in which he gained confidence to land two forehands that lifted the Italian public. Gradually the Serb was growing up.
He broke the serve of the Canadian, world number 9, and took a 5-3 lead to put the first set back on track, but Auger-Aliassime recovered and took the favorite’s serve in the next match, canceling the break. ‘. It looked like the first stake was going to tie-break, but the number 1 appeared at the key moment to break another serve and get ahead on the scoreboard.
The second manga was different. The Serb started better, Auger-Aliassime seemed to deflate a bit, and managed to break the Canadian, after three break points to make it 4-2.
Novak happily promised them, but just then Auger-Aliassime started his resistance, in which he took advantage of two balls to recover his serve which put the Serb in tension, until he managed to confirm the break and come back up 5-2. He celebrated ‘Nole’, fist raised, releasing the tension of the previous match, not realizing that not everything had been said.
But the 21-year-old tennis player continued his brilliant exercise in resistance against a winner of twenty Grand Slams, whom he sent to the canvas with three games in a row to equalize the match (5-5). The audience already had their favorite of the evening, which they cheered on and celebrated whenever the opportunity arose.
Auger-Aliassime kept his serve and tried to extend the match until the third set by breaking the Serb. He managed to lengthen it until a ‘tie-break’ in which both displayed their galactic shots, but in which Djokovic sent superb cushioning, angled balls and a loss of physicality which allowed him to reach all those of his rival.
Djokovic didn’t fail in another key moment, breaking three Auger-Aliassime serves in the final tie-break and reaching the semis without dropping a single set. He is the only one to achieve this with the German Alexander Zverev.
The Serb celebrated defiantly, putting a hand to his ear. In the semi-finals, Djokovic will face Norway’s Casper Ruud, ranked number 10, who knocked out Canadian Denis Shapovalov in straight sets on Friday.
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