Novak Djokovic powers to Rome final vs. Alexander Zverev

By The Sports Xchange  |  May 20, 2017 at 5:26 PM
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Novak Djokovic turned in an overpowering performance on Saturday in advancing to the final in Rome.

The second-seeded Djokovic needed only 59 minutes to dispatch overmatched Dominic Thiem of Austria, 6-1, 6-0, and advance to Sunday's title match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia tournament.

In improving to 9-0 in the semifinals in Rome, Djokovic committed only six unforced errors against the eighth-seeded Thiem, who halted Rafael Nadal's 17-match winning streak on clay in Friday's quarterfinals.

Djokovic, seeking his fifth championship in this event, improved to 41-6 all time in Rome. He converted five of seven break points.

The Serbian had to pull double duty on Saturday, finishing off a suspended match again Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina before improving to 5-0 lifetime against Thiem.

The 29-year-old Djokovic was leading 6-1, 1-2 before his match was suspended by rain Friday. Djokovic broke del Potro in the second game when play resumed to move ahead for good at 3-2 before serving out the match for a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Awaiting Djokovic in the final is Zverev, who advanced to his first Masters 1000 final with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1 victory over American John Isner.

Zverev, 20, became the youngest player to reach a Masters 1000 final since Djokovic turned the trick at age 19 in 2007.

"Novak, he's one of the greatest players of all time," Zverev said. "He is never going to be easy, especially in a final when he already starts to have a rhythm. I think he played a great match against delPo today and yesterday."

In a matter between two of the taller players on the ATP Tour, the 6-foot-6 Zverev uncorked 12 aces and won 88 percent of his first-serve points (52 of 59) against the 6-9 Isner.

In the decisive third set, Zverev scored an early break for a 2-0 lead before snuffing out Isner's last gasp by saving three break points to move ahead, 4-1, en route to improving to 3-0 lifetime against the American.

"It's a very physical game and it's very tough points all the time, long points," Zverev said of playing on clay. "I'm happy with the way I'm playing, but I still want to keep improving and I still want to develop my game and get better."

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