Novak Djokovic under pressure to extend crazy Italian Open record after Rafael Nadal loss


Nadal lost a one-set lead as he struggled with his chronic injury in a 1-6 7-5 6-3 defeat to the world No 16 on Thursday.  It means the 10-time champion in Rome won’t be able to continue his shared streak with Djokovic, with one or both men reaching at least the final every year since 2005.

The five-time former champion at the Italian Open is now under pressure to keep up their incredible record by making the final, as he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime in Friday’s quarter-final with Casper Ruud awaiting in the semis. It will be a first career meeting between the Serb and the world No 9, and Djokovic also has extra pressure to win their first clash.

The 20-time Major champion will lose his world No 1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev if he doesn’t reach the semi-final, which would also cost him the top-seeded position at the upcoming French Open. Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime is playing to secure himself a top-eight seeding at the clay-court Grand Slam.

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