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Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray advance to Italian Open final

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The Sports Xchange
Andy Murray (L) of Great Britain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Andy Murray (L) of Great Britain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Novak Djokovic needed just over three hours to beat Japan's Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the Italian Open semifinals in Rome on Saturday.

Djokovic, the No. 1 player in the world, will face Scotland's Andy Murray in Sunday's final. It is Djokovic's third straight Rome final and fifth overall.

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The Serb struggled in the first set. He received a medical timeout after sustaining a cut on his left ankle after the first game. Nishikori took advantage and closed out the set in 43 minutes.

Djokovic stopped limping from the injury in the second set and played much better but Nishikori stayed tough and forced a 4-4 tie. Djokovic, however, was able to pull away to take the set.

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Djokovic broke a 6-6 tie in the third set to return back to the Italian Open final. He has defeated Murray in 12 of 13 previous meetings.

Murray reached the final for the first time by topping Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-1.

After a rain delay, Murray broke out to a 3-1 lead in the first set and cruised to victory.

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The only complication to Murray's eventual victory was another stoppage due to rain while up 4-2 and 40/0 in the first set. After the 13-minute delay, Murray extended his lead to 5-2 before closing it out.

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The second set flew by much quicker and Murray claimed victory in under an hour.

On the women's side, Serena Williams returned to the final in Rome with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.

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Williams will go for her fourth Italian Open title when she faces Madison Keys on Sunday.

Despite some rain, Williams used a strong volley to eliminate Begi in under a hour-and-a-half.

"I think it's been a perfect draw for me," Williams said. "And even tomorrow against Madison, it's another different type of player. So I think it's just a perfect opportunity for me to have all these matches and trying to get ready for the next one."

Keys claimed a 7-6(5), 6-4 semifinal win over No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza in Rome.

Rain also factored in the match, causing a delay to the start of it. Keys used her serve to get past Muguruza.

"I think I played really well today," Keys said. "You know, the first set was a struggle. We were both serving really well, and it's always tough when you're starting and stopping and things like that."

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