Rome: Spain’s world No. 3 Rafael Nadal extended his perfect Italian Open semi-final record to 12-0 on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 47 ranked Reilly Opelka of the USA.
In the final on Sunday, Nadal will take on the winner of the clash between Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Italy’s world No. 33 Lorenzo Sonego.
Nadal, the nine-time champion in Rome, claimed a single break in each set to move to one win away from a record-equalling 36th ATP Masters 1000 title.
Nadal is now also within touching distance of winning a single tour-level event on 10 or more occasions for the fourth time. He has won 13 Roland Garros titles, 12 Barcelona trophies, and 11 Monte-Carlo titles.
Earlier, Djokovic raised his game after trailing 4-6, 1-2 on Friday to earn a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 comeback victory against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in a rain-hit quarter-final match on Saturday to set up a last-4 clash with Sonego.
The top seed Serbian returned to court on Saturday morning with Tsitsipas serving at 6-4, 2-1, and he broke serve in two of his opening five return games to force a decider. Djokovic then twice recovered from a break down in the decider to reach the final-four in Rome for the eighth straight year.