Novak Djokovic eliminates Félix Auger-Aliassime and reaches the semi-finals in Rome

Novak Djokovic very seriously raised his voice. At the end of an absolutely magnificent meeting, the Serb validated his ticket for the last four of the Masters 1000 in Rome after a hanging success against Félix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, Friday evening, in a boosted Foro Italico.

Winner in two sets of the Canadian (7-5, 7-6), after 2:09 of the match, “Nole” has already secured his place as world No. 1 for the next Roland-Garros. Finalist leaving in Rome, his ocher garden, the place where he gauges himself before the Porte d’Auteuil, the Serb will indeed lose only 240 points at least with this accession to the semi-finals.

ATP Rome

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This is the 999th time in his career that he has won a match on the ATP Tour. He will be able to clinch the 1000th against Casper Ruud on Saturday, before hoping to clinch his first title of the 2022 season in the final. We’re not there yet, but the level displayed during this hotly contested quarter was a message addressed to the competition, to the veterans as well as to the youngest on the circuit. Yes, Djokovic is regaining his level of a few months ago and things are moving.

A mind-blowing ending

To beat this Auger-Aliassime, you had to be better than him, as the Canadian played at a very high level during this meeting. Problem, Djokovic was better and his success was the consequence of logic, even if closing was difficult for him.

While he was leading 7-5, 5-2, and he had a match point on his rival’s serve, the world No. 1 had a pretty spectacular slump. At 5-3, At 30/15, he missed a ready-made forehand volley and let FAA come back from the dead. Debroken, Nole took the punches of his rival, who did not hesitate to put on a show and play with a crowd committed to his cause. It’s rare enough for him to point it out.

Happy to see the debates continue, the Roman public began to believe in a spectacular comeback from Frédéric Fontang’s protege. After three games while being groggy, Djokovic restarted the machine at 5-5 with a controlled white game, as if nothing had happened before. The famous “reset” button.

At 6-5 Djokovic, the match tipped into the unreal in a way. On the FAA service game, the two men began to send endless exchanges in the face, each waiting for the fault of the other. It was boxing but on a chessboard.

Djokovic in assassin mode in the tie-break

Finally emerged alive from the small whirlwind of pressure printed by Djoko on his engagement, Auger-Aliassime finally took a tidal wave in the decisive game. Djokovic took out his surveyor’s panoply, and sent balls in improbable angles. Set like clockwork, with his arm relaxed and a first ball present, he was frighteningly cold to finish the points. Magnificent and disputed points. The top of the match this tie-break.

A match that the Serb has always had under his control despite a few upheavals and this rebellion from the camp opposite. The two sets are also to be compared at the level of the scenario: Djokovic dominated the first act, made the break, then conceded the break, before putting the machine back on “on”. It was clinical. A little “old school” Djokovic, yes. For his first duel on the circuit with the man with 20 Grand Slams, Félix Auger-Alissiame will remember this lesson in realism.

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