Rafael Nadal sealed a record-extending 10th Rome Masters title with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 win over Novak Djokovic at the Internazionali d'Italia.

It marked a first Masters 1000 triumph of the year for Nadal, who improved to 4-2 in the finals he has played against Djokovic at the Foro Italico venue.

Victory also secured Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego, but he showed no signs of fatigue in the opening stages in Rome.

The Serbian broke in Nadal's first service game to go 2-0 up, although Spaniard Nadal hit back in the next game before levelling matters at 2-2.

Nadal then broke again, taking advantage of an unconvincing service game from Djokovic at 5-5 on his way to sealing the opening set in one hour and 15 minutes.

Djokovic survived a break point at 1-1 in the second set, before breaking Nadal in the next game to move 3-1 ahead.

The Serbian reeled off five games in a row in all, setting up set point with his fifth ace of the match. He forced a backhand error from Nadal to take the second set in 43 minutes.

Nadal saved two break points at 2-2 in the final set, which provided him with the confidence to break to love and open up a 4-2 lead.

He sealed victory in two hours and 50 minutes, converting his second championship point when Djokovic sent a backhand long.

Novak Djokovic dug deep in the face of fierce Roman resistance to set up a showdown with Rafael Nadal in the men's final at the Internazionali d'Italia.

World number one Djokovic came from a set down overnight to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6 7-5 7-5 early on Saturday, before returning to the court to face Italian Lorenzo Sonego in the evening.

The Rome crowd raucously rallied behind Sonego, who beat Andrey Rublev earlier in the day, and the 26-year-old rose to the challenge but eventually fell to a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 defeat.

Djokovic had match points before serving for it at 6-5 in the second set, yet it was to prove a stirring game as the noisy home crowd encouraged Sonego, who snatched a gutsy break. The tie-break looked set to be wholly one-sided when Djokovic raced 3-0 ahead, but it was soon back on serve, partisan spectators at the Foro Italico roaring in delight at a double fault from the Serbian.

From 4-2 behind, Sonego surged to 6-4 ahead in the tie-break. He failed to convert a first set point when ripping a forehand into the net, but the set was his when Djokovic sent a backhand service return long.

Sonego then had 0-40 against the Djokovic serve at the start of the decider, but he could not force the break, and the top seed gained strength from that escape, eventually cruising to victory.

Five-time Rome champion Djokovic said on Amazon Prime: "I bounced back very well after the second set. Maybe if he started with a break up in the third, things would look differently. I also had my chances and I only had myself to blame for not closing the match in straight sets.

"But he's a quality player, very dynamic, it's not easy to play against him and obviously he had the crowd behind him. It was an electric atmosphere. In the end I managed to close out the match really well."

Looking ahead to tackling Nadal, Djokovic said: "I need to recover. Hopefully I'll have fresh legs because that's what I definitely will need and it's necessary to have a chance against Rafa. He also had some tough matches [this week] and hopefully I'll be fresh and I'll give it all."

While Djokovic and Sonego thrashed away into the night, nine-time champion Nadal had no such workload issues on Saturday.

Nadal beat Alexander Zverev on Friday to set up a semi-final against American Reilly Opelka, and the Spaniard snatched a 6-4 6-4 win from that contest to reach the title match.

Novak Djokovic had to battle back more than once before eventually getting the better of Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rome, keeping alive his hopes of a sixth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title.

The reigning champion was in trouble when play was halted in the quarter-final clash on Friday, trailing by a set and a break before persistent rain forced an early end to proceedings.

However, Djokovic was able to get back on level terms before the duo played out a see-saw deciding set that twice saw Tsitsipas hold control.

The sixth seed – seeking a first win over the world number one on clay at the third attempt – even had the chance to serve out for the match when 5-4 ahead, only to falter with the finishing line in sight.

Djokovic instead claimed three games in a row to finally prevail after three hours and 16 minutes on court. He has little time to recover, though, as his semi-final match is scheduled for later on Saturday.

Next up will be Italian Lorenzo Sonego, the home favourite having produced a comeback of his own to see off Andrey Rublev 3-6 6-4 6-3 in another contest held over from Friday.

Djokovic will hope for a more straightforward encounter after being pushed all the way by Tsitsipas, who will rue his missed chances.

The Greek led 2-1 in the final set after clinching a break that led to his opponent throwing his racket in frustration, earning him a code violation.

He had openings to extend that advantage in the fifth game before losing his serve in the eighth, only to quickly forge his way back in front to move to the brink.

Yet a gripping set of tennis that saw a combined total of 16 break-point opportunities somehow went Djokovic's way, a memorable victory wrapped up when Tsitsipas slashed a tired-looking backhand wide.

Roger Federer has called on Olympics chiefs to end all uncertainty and make a final ruling on whether Tokyo 2020 can go ahead.

The Swiss great, a winner of 20 grand slam titles, had hoped to make a farewell Olympic Games appearance last year, only for the pandemic to mean the event was postponed for 12 months.

Both the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee have not swayed from their stance that the Games will go ahead despite a strong swell of public support for a cancellation.

With Japan struggling to contain the COVID-19 virus, however, and Tokyo still in a formal state of emergency, there remain major doubts over whether it is realistic for thousands of international visitors to come to the country in July and August.

Federer has heard the confident voices, but he also is aware that many residents of Tokyo are against the Games happening this year.

"Honestly I don't know what to think. I'm a bit between the two," Federer told Swiss television station Leman Bleu.

"I would love to play in the Olympics, win a medal for Switzerland. It would make me especially proud. But if it doesn't happen because of the situation, I would be the first to understand.

"I think what the athletes need is a decision: is it going to happen or is it not going to happen?

"At the moment, we have the impression that it will happen. We know it's a fluid situation. And you can also decide as an athlete if you want to go. If you feel there's a lot of resistance, maybe it's better not to go. I don't know."

Federer, who is returning from a long knee injury lay-off, has played at four previous Olympics, winning doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008 and silver in singles at London 2012, where Andy Murray denied him in the final at Wimbledon.

He is set to play his second comeback tournament next week at the Geneva Open, building up to a French Open appearance, with Wimbledon on the horizon.

He and wife Mirka and their family are likely to be spending several weeks apart as Federer co-operates, where required, with tournament bubbles, limiting the size of player entourages.

"It's going to test a little the situation at home," Federer said. "I've spoken about it a lot with Mirka. Now it's the comeback which is the priority."

Novak Djokovic's Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-final with Stefanos Tsitsipas was halted by persistent rain on Friday with the world number one a set and a game down.

Reigning champion Djokovic, who is seeking a sixth triumph in Rome, struggled to get going against Tsitsipas and trails 6-4 2-1 ahead of the scheduled resumption of play on Saturday.

The top seed lost serve in the first game and continued to make some uncharacteristic errors that saw him trail 4-1 at one point.

While Djokovic did earn a first break in the sixth game, Tsitsipas stood firm to take the opening set and was in total control when again breaking his opponent early in the next set.

However, soon after the Greek had opened up a 2-1 advantage, the worsening conditions led to a pause in proceedings and organisers were eventually forced to bring the day's play to an end.

Djokovic, who converted just one of his six break point opportunities, will return to the court on Saturday and will need to improve if he is to join Rafael Nadal in the final four.

Nadal exacted some revenge on Alexander Zverev earlier on Friday to reach the semi-finals for a 12th time.

The Spaniard lost to Zverev at the same stage of the Madrid Open seven days ago but responded to questions over his form by easing through this latest encounter.

Nadal, who saved two match points before beating Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, raced 4-0 ahead in the first set against Zverev and had little trouble seeing the job through.

Aiming for a record-extending 10th title in the Italian capital, Nadal saved all eight break points he faced in the second set to advance 6-3 6-4 in two hours.

"I played more solid than Madrid. Conditions are different," he said in his post-match interview. "Here the conditions are a little more normal. I was able to control a little bit more."

"I'm happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to. It's an important victory for me against a great player."

Nadal will face Reilly Opelka for a place in the final, the American beating qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-5 7-6 (7-2) to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

Opelka entered the tournament on a six-game losing streak, but he kept his good run going in Rome by earning the only break of the opening set in the 12th game.

Both players held throughout the second set and it was big-serving Opelka who prevailed 7-2 in the tie-break.

The day's other quarter-final between Lorenzo Sonego and Andrey Rublev also fell victim to the bad weather and will get under way on Saturday.

Rafael Nadal was forced to work hard to avoid becoming the biggest scalp in the last 16 at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Thursday.

Rival Novak Djokovic had already sealed his progress earlier in the day, beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in dominant fashion, but Nadal found life hard against Denis Shapovalov.

The Spaniard has already uncharacteristically lost twice on clay courts this season and was heading for a third as he trailed Shapovalov 3-6 0-3.

Even after Nadal recovered to take the second set, he faced two match points in the decider, battling bravely to a vital hold of serve that took the match well beyond the three-hour mark and into a tie-break.

There, Nadal finally took control, running out a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) winner to reach the last eight and gain some much-needed minutes on the court.

"It's an important victory for me [to] be able to win matches like today, three hours and 27, in the Barcelona final three hours and 38, long matches," said Nadal.

"To be able to win these kinds of matches against young players gives me confidence with my body."

There had been no such test for Djokovic in his 6-2 6-1 rout, although the world number one felt that was in part due to his improving form.

"I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against [Taylor] Fritz a few days ago," he said. "I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better."

Djokovic will face fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas next after his straight-sets defeat of Matteo Berrettini.

For Nadal, Alexander Zverev is a similarly tricky opponent having come through three sets against Kei Nishikori.

But not every seed made it through, as Dominic Thiem succumbed to the last remaining home hopeful in Lorenzo Sonego, a dramatic 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) victor.

A meeting with Andrey Rublev is the Italian's reward, while there will be at least one unseeded player in the last four as Federico Delbonis prepares to take on Reilly Opelka.

Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia with a straight-sets demolition of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Thursday.

The world number one took just an hour and 10 minutes to wrap up an emphatic 6-2 6-1 victory at the Foro Italico.

Davidovich Fokina broke the top seed's serve in the first game of the match, but that proved to be a false dawn for the Spanish qualifier.

Djokovic put the 21-year-old under huge pressure with another returning masterclass, breaking back immediately and on two more occasions to seal the first set.

The 18-time grand slam champion was relentless in the second set, forcing Davidovich Fokina's unforced error count up to 30 as he breezed into the last eight.

Djokovic, who has reached at least the quarter-final stage in each of his 15 appearances at the prestigious tournament in Rome, was waiting to learn whether he would face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Matteo Berrettini for a place in the semi-finals.

The Serbian said: "I thought I played well. He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court.

"I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

"He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward.

"I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against [Taylor] Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better."

Rafael Nadal defeated home favourite Jannik Sinner at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, but Daniil Medvedev crashed out of the competition on Wednesday.

Rising star Sinner gave Nadal a stern test, but the veteran emerged triumphant with a 7-5 6-4 triumph in two hours and 12 minutes.

Nadal will face Denis Shapovalov – who also beat an Italian in the shape of Stefano Travaglia – in the last 16.

The hard-fought victory is a welcome one for Nadal after he lost to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open quarter-finals last time out.

However, there was a big star who fell with world number two Medvedev, who continues to struggle on clay, eliminated by his compatriot Aslan Karatsev.

Karatsev impressively triumphed 6-2 6-4 in 78 minutes, winning 26 of his 29 first-serve points and not being broken in the match.

"I'm super happy," said Karatsev, who also beat world number one Novak Djokovic last month and will face Reilly Opelka next. 

"It was a really tough match. Against Medvedev you never know, he's a big server. It's tough to return, but I managed it well."

Dominic Thiem almost went the same way as Medvedev, coming within two points of going out in his first match in Rome, which has also happened in his previous two appearances.

However, the Austrian battled back to defeat Marton Fucsovics 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-0 in a match lasting two hours and 33 minutes, booking a last-16 clash with Lorenzo Sonego.

"It was such a close match, especially in the second set,” said Thiem, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week.

"I knew he'd be a super-tough opponent, particularly coming from different conditions in Madrid. I was fighting all the match and stayed in there. 

"At the end, I got the reward for fighting. I had difficulties with my timing and my serve. 

"I have to hurt my opponent more with my shots. I still won a great match and I will try to improve."

There were smoother victories for Madrid champion Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien in a 6-2 6-2 success, while Tsitsipas saw off Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2.

Andrey Rublev defeated Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets, while Matteo Berrettini also progressed, beating John Millman in straight sets to book a clash with Tsitsipas which looks like the pick of the last-16 draw.

Novak Djokovic returned following a rain delay to beat Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after Felix Auger-Aliassime dumped Diego Schwartzman out.

Djokovic, playing his first match since a shock loss to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals of the Serbia Open on home soil, dispatched American Fritz 6-3 7-6 (7-5) on Tuesday.

The world number one, who missed the Madrid Open, won the first three games of the match and saved both break points he faced in the opening set.

Fritz had broken for a second time in the second set to level at 5-5 when the rain came at the Foro Italico, but the top seed was able to come back out on court to finish off the job and will face Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round.

Auger-Aliassime secured the third victory over a top-10 opponent in his fledgling career, beating eighth seed Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 to move into round three.

The 20-year-old Canadian only needed 64 minutes to send the Argentine packing, converting five of the six break-point opportunities he earned.

Matteo Berrettini saw off Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the first round less than 48 hours after the Italian was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final.

Gael Monfils was unable to win his first match since the Australian Open, as Lorenzo Sonego got the better of the fit-again Frenchman, who had been sidelined with a calf injury, 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Reilly Opelka moved into the last 16 with a 6-4 6-4 defeat of Lorenzo Musetti, while Pablo Carreno Busta's withdrawal due to lower back pain handed Kei Nishikori a walkover.

Daniil Medvedev and David Goffin were unable to start their second-round matches due to the weather in Rome.

Andy Murray will make his competitive comeback at the Internazionali d'Italia this week after he and Liam Broady were entered into the men's doubles as alternates.

Murray has not played in a tournament since losing to Andrey Rublev in the second round in Rotterdam in March due to a groin injury.

The three-time grand slam champion flew to Rome to step up his preparation for a return, practicing with world number one Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.

Murray will also make an unexpected doubles appearance, partnering fellow Brit Broady at the Foro Italico after Hubert Hurkacz and Felix Auger-Aliassime withdrew.

They will face Australian duo Max Purcell and Luke Saville for a place in the second round in the Eternal City on Wednesday.

Murray has entered qualifying for the French Open as he waits to discover whether he will be handed a wildcard for the second major of the year, which starts on May 30.

The former world number one is also hoping to receive a wildcard to play in Geneva or Lyon next week.

Scot Murray confirmed on Monday he will play at the Queen's Club Championships in June.

Former world number one Andy Murray will play at the Queen's Club Championships in June.

Murray has won five singles titles at the event and claimed the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez two years ago just months after undergoing hip surgery.

The three-time major champion last played in Rotterdam in early March, where he was beaten in straight sets by Andrey Rublev in the last 16.

Murray has twice gone on to win Wimbledon after success at the traditional curtain-raiser in London – in 2013 and 2016 – and is relishing the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd again.

"It's been such a difficult time for everyone and it will be great to play in front of home fans in Britain again," Murray said.

"The tournament at Queen's has always meant a lot to me – it's where I won my first ATP match, I've won the singles at Queen's more than any other in my career, and I'll never forget our doubles title in 2019. I can't wait to get back out there."

Lopez is also the reigning singles champion, having beaten Gilles Simon in three sets to become the oldest winner of the event at the age of 37.

The tournament was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alexander Zverev ended a three-year wait for an ATP Masters 1000 title as he rallied to beat Matteo Berrettini in the Madrid Open final on Sunday.

The German had to do it the hard way at La Caja Magica over the past week, having previously seen off five-time winner Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem en route to the showpiece.

He was in a spot of bother against his Italian opponent at the end of a gripping first set that Berrettini took in a tie-break, Zverev's efforts in coming back from 5-0 down and earning a set point ultimately for nothing.

Berrettini eventually sealed the lead with his fourth set point but Zverev played with renewed focus at the start of the second, taking full advantage of a succession of mistakes with the score at 4-4 to force a decider.

Zverev's greater endurance in rallies then paid dividends early in the third as he broke to go 3-2 up, and Berrettini only won one more game as the German triumphed 6-7 (10-8) 6-4 6-3 to win the tournament for a second time.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "It is great [to win this title], especially after losing my last three finals I played at Masters 1000 events. This is definitely special and I just want to enjoy this one.

"[Berrettini's] game style showed it all. I didn't play anybody this week that can serve 235[km/h] on clay and serve 230km/h kick serves.

"It definitely was a different match and I am extremely happy right now."

On competing at the Internazionali d'Italia next, he added: "Rome is also an event I like and enjoy, so I hope I can perform [in] the same way as I did here and we will see how it goes there. I feel awesome."

This was the first time Zverev has beaten three or more top-10 players in a single competition since his ATP Finals victory in 2018.

Matteo Berrettini will take on Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final on Sunday after overcoming Casper Ruud 6-4 6-4 in the last four. 

Eighth seed Berrettini has enjoyed a superb debut tournament in the Spanish capital, the 25-year-old dropping just one set on his way to becoming the first Italian to make the Madrid Open final. 

Berrettini, who won the Serbia Open last month, is just the third Italian ATP Masters 1000 finalist since the series was established in 1990, after Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner. 

"It's a great, unbelievable feeling, especially coming from Monte Carlo where I wasn't feeling that good," Berrettini said in quotes reported by the ATP website. 

"I won in Belgrade and now I'm in the final, so I'm really looking forward to playing against Sascha [Zverev]. I hope I enjoy it tomorrow the way I enjoyed tonight.

"I saw him [Zverev], he's playing really good. He's solid. He moves well. For his height, he's really good. He serves well. I mean, he's in the final. He beat Rafa [Nadal] and Dominic [Thiem], probably the best players on clay.

"It's going to be a challenging match, but I'm in the finals. I guess the best two guys are going to play each other."

Berrettini returned supremely throughout Saturday's match, nullifying Ruud's usually potent serve, and believes his aggressive approach was key to victory.

"My serve is my weapon, but today I think I returned a lot and I put pressure on him," Berrettini said. "I was just playing more aggressive. He's kind of like me, he likes to run around the forehand and play with spin. But I guess today I was playing better than him.

"The other time he beat me, so it's always a great fight against him. He reached three semi-finals in a row so he was feeling confident. I guess that's why I'm maybe even more happy with my win today."

In the earlier semi-final, Zverev followed up his famous win over home favourite and 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal in the previous round by defeating Dominic Thiem.

Austrian Thiem had won the last four meetings between the two, including in last year's Australian Open semi-final and the US Open decider, where he came from two sets down to win in an incredible fifth-set tie-break.

However, Zverev was not to be denied this time, a 6-3 6-4 result keeping him on course for a repeat of his 2018 triumph at the event in the Spanish capital.

Alexander Zverev can see his rivalry with Dominic Thiem continuing for many years after he came out on top in their latest duel at the Madrid Open.

The German followed up his famous win over home favourite Rafael Nadal by defeating Austria's Thiem 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final on Saturday.

Zverev, who won this event in 2018, will meet either Casper Ruud or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

Thiem had won the last four meetings between the two, including in last year's Australian Open semi-final and the US Open final, where he came from two sets down to win in an incredible fifth-set tie-break.

Zverev said after his victory over Nadal that he would be thinking about that crushing loss in New York prior to his meeting with Thiem.

And he was able to gain a small measure of revenge for those recent grand slam defeats in the Spanish capital.

"We have had some fantastic matches," said Zverev. "We have played the biggest matches in the world. We have played Masters 1000 finals, we have played grand slam finals and [the rivalry] is still developing.

"It is still going to go on for a few more years. Hopefully we will play a few more amazing matches. It feels very [sweet to win], it is a rivalry where he kicks my a** most of the time!

"It is going to mean a lot to me [if I can win the final].

"I am definitely looking forward to playing another big final and I hope I can turn it my way this time."

A solitary break of serve was enough for Zverev to claim the opening set.

He recorded two breaks in the second to go 4-1 up and although Thiem got one strike back, two more holds gave Zverev - who forced 11 break points to his opponent's two - a big victory.

The world number six is yet to drop a set this week but has lost his last three Masters 1000 finals going into his latest attempt on Sunday.

Thiem, meanwhile, has reached the Madrid Open semi-finals in four straight years but it still waiting for his first triumph at the tournament.

Andy Murray heads to Rome on Saturday with the drive to show there could be one last special summer in his career, and he has an early test against Novak Djokovic booked in.

Former world number one and 11-time grand slam finalist Murray has not played since the Rotterdam Open in early March, having been forced to pull out of the Miami Masters due to a groin injury.

Staying fit has been a problem for Murray since he required a hip resurfacing procedure in January 2019, to deal with a persistent problem that threatened his career.

He particularly wants to play Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, having won both events twice, and hopes to do so in good health.

The 33-year-old is waiting to learn whether he must go through qualifying for the French Open or if a wildcard awaits. He is not entered into the upcoming Internazionali d'Italia but will be in Rome all the same, working to get himself match-ready for the tests that lie ahead.

Murray said: "I want to get out there to be around the top players and top tournaments. On Sunday I've got a court booked with [Diego] Schwartzman and then Novak [Djokovic] in the afternoon.

"I want to play against the highest-level players possible because I think that will help me improve my game quicker."

Quoted in the British media on Saturday, Murray said: "I'm really looking forward to going away [on Saturday] and being among those guys and having a good few months this summer, with Wimbledon and the Olympics. I feel good right now."

Murray was ruled out of the Australian Open, which took place in February, after contracting COVID-19, and the groin injury in Miami was another major disappointment.

While he will be limited to the practice courts in Rome, Murray is aiming to fit in at least one tournament before the French Open, with Geneva and Lyon both staging events in the week ahead of Roland Garros qualifying.

"It's difficult for me to look too far into the future," said Murray, now down to 123rd in the ATP rankings. "I need to try and find a way of staying on the match court for longer. It has been extremely frustrating.

"When I had the operation on the hip I knew it was going to be unbelievably challenging. It just feels there are a couple of things that have happened this year which have been very unfortunate, that have been hard to take."

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