Novak Djokovic stages thrilling fightback to reach Italian Open semi-finals

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Novak Djokovic staged a memorable fightback to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas and book his place in the semi-finals of the Italian open in Rome.

Djokovic came back from a set and a break down after play was suspended on Friday to run out a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 winner on centre court in Rome.

Tsitsipas took control of the matchup on Friday when he raced into a one set lead, taking the first set by six games to four.

And things went from bad to worse for Djokovic at the start of the second set when he was broken early by Tsitsipas to go 2-1 down as he found himself in deep trouble.

Djokovic was handed a stroke of good fortune, however, when heavy rain forced the suspension, then the eventually cancellation, of play after the third game of the second set.

It meant Tsitsipas’ momentum was halted at a crucial moment in the match, and gave Djokovic some much-needed respite after a nightmare start to the match.

When play resumed on Saturday morning, Djokovic returned to form and battled back into the match.

He edged past Tsitsipas to claim the second set 7-5 to set up a deciding set as the sun shone down on centre court in the Italian capital.

But, just as it seemed the momentum was swinging back toward Djokovic, Tsitsipas found his best form again as he broke Djokovic early to take control of proceedings.

Tsitsipas then piled the pressure on Djokovic, who had to fend off four break points to hold serve during a tense fifth game in the deciding set.

Djokovic then came storming back to break Tsitsipas and bring the final set back onto serve, and back in the balance, at 3-3.

But Tsitsipas held his nerve and went toe to toe in a thrilling battle with the world number one and, after an epic rally, broke Djokovic for a second time in the ninth game to claim what looked like the decisive advantage in the match.

It meant Tsitsipas had the chance to serve out the match, but Djokovic showed his fighting spirit to battle back again to save the match and bring things level again.

Djokovic held his nerve, and his serve in game 11 to put the pressure on Tsitsipas, and the Serbian converted the second of three break points to round out the 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win and complete a thrilling comeback victory.

Djokovic will take on the winner of the remaining quarter-final clash between Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego and Russia’s Andrey Rublev, with a potential date with old rival Rafael Nadal in the final. Nadal takes on American Reilly Opelka in the first semi-final later this afternoon.

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