Djokovic set to meet Nadal in yet another final

 

Rome

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal dominated tennis for five years but today's Rome Masters final will emphasise how a new duopoly rules the sport. When it comes to fighting over the major spoils Nadal and Novak Djokovic are usually the last two men left standing and the Spaniard and the Serb will meet this afternoon in a final for the ninth time in the last 14 months.

Djokovic, who crushed Federer 6-2 7-6 last night, has come out on top in all but one of those meetings, but Nadal won the most recent and demonstrated again in his 7-6 6-0 victory over David Ferrer in the other semi-final that he is at the top of his game.

With the start of the French Open only seven days away, the final offers a chance for both players to strike a major psychological blow. Nadal, who has lost to Djokovic in the last three Grand Slam finals, will be aiming to win at Roland Garros for the seventh time in the last eight years, while the world No 1 has the chance in Paris to become the first man for 43 years to hold all four of the game's greatest prizes.

Although Nadal beat Djokovic in last month's final in Monte Carlo, the Serb was in emotional turmoil at the time, following the death of his grandfather. He pays more heed to the fact that he beat Nadal on clay for the first time in successive finals last year in Madrid and here.

"Those results give me confidence that I can beat him," Djokovic said. "I believe I have a chance if I am as focused and determined as I was today."

Djokovic said his performance against Federer was his best on clay this year. The Serb put the Swiss under relentless pressure and broke him twice to take the first set in just 35 minutes. Federer rallied briefly in the second set, breaking Djokovic for the only time when he served for the match at 5-4, but the world No 1 never trailed in the tie-break, which he won 7-4.

Nadal's victory over Ferrer was his 39th win in a row in clay-court semi-finals and his 25th in succession on red clay, his last defeat having been against Djokovic in last year's final here.

Nadal's only clay-court defeat in the last 12 months was on the controversial blue surface in Madrid earlier this month. If he wins the title here for the sixth time in the last eight years – Djokovic won it on the two other occasions – he will reclaim the world No 2 ranking from Federer.

Ferrer has now lost to Nadal 12 times in a row on clay, but he made a real fight of it in the first set. The world No 6 led 3-1, but Nadal broke back immediately, won the tie-break 8-6 and then ran away with the second set.

Today's women's final will see Maria Sharapova, the title holder, take on Li Na, last year's French Open champion. Sharapova beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4, while Li had a walkover after Serena Williams pulled out of their semi-final with a lower back injury. However, Williams said it was only precautionary and should not affect her chances at the French Open.

Elena Baltacha's run at the Prague Open ended when the British No 1 was beaten 6-1 6-3 by the No 2 seed and world No 42, Klara Zakopalova, of the Czech Republic.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit