ROME: Number two seed Novak Djokovic set up a semi-final meeting with Canada’s Milos Raonic at the Rome Masters after ousting Spain’s David Ferrer 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 yesterday.
After dominating a hard-fought opening set, the Serbian was outplayed in the second and had to overcame a few wobbles on his way to wrapping up the match in 2hr 31min.
Leading 3-1 in the deciding set, Djokovic allowed his Spanish rival to break back to 3-3 before serving to take a 4-3 lead.
Despite some resistance from Ferrer in a thrilling eighth game, Djokovic broke back when he sent a powerful drive past the Spaniard and into the corner to take a 5-3 lead.
Ferrer was equally defiant in the final game, but after saving two break points the Spaniard capitulated when he netted what looked like an easy return.
Earlier, Raonic claimed his last-four spot with a commanding 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 quarter-final win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Chardy had eliminated Swiss fourth seed Roger Federer on Wednesday 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
But after seeing the unseeded Frenchman fighting back to level by winning a close second set, Raonic regained control of the match in a largely one-sided third set to advance.
Raonic, considered an outside bet for the French Open later this month, said his next challenge would prove difficult whichever player he met. “If I can control the centre of the court, if I can really be the one dictating and take care of my service it’s going to be very important.”AFP