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Tennis news 2022, Novak Djokovic, Italian Open, results, final, French Open

This is just what Novak Djokovic needed a week before the French Open.

The top-ranked Serb beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 at the Italian Open to reach his biggest final of the year.

Having missed a big portion of the season because he wasn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus, Djokovic will attempt to extend his five-match winning streak over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

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“I can expect a big battle,” Djokovic said. “But I’m ready for it.”

Tsitsipas reached his first Rome final by rallying past Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Djokovic is seeking his sixth title in the Italian capital.

In the women’s semi-finals, top-ranked Iga Swiatek routed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 for her 27th straight win and will face another player on a run, Ons Jabeur, as she attempts to defend her Rome title.

Jabeur beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 for her 11th consecutive victory after lifting the Madrid Open trophy last week.

Djokovic recorded the 1000th win of his career, making him only the fifth man to reach that mark after Jimmy Connors (1274 wins), Roger Federer (1251), Ivan Lendl (1068) and Rafael Nadal (1051).

After the match, Djokovic was presented with a cake with “1000” written on it.

“I was seeing Roger and Rafa celebrating those milestones and I was looking forward to get to 1000 myself,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic is playing only his fifth tournament of the year, with his best previous result the final of the smaller Serbia Open, his home tournament, last month. Last week, he was beaten by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

Tsitsipas has been pushed to three sets in three of his four matches this week, having also overcome local favourite Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

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