Still without a title this year after a first quarter with almost no play due to his non-vaccination against Covid-19, the Serbian had to work hard against a combative Ruud.
“Nole” thus becomes part of the select circle of players with 1,000 victories on the ATP circuit, with Jimmy Conners (record with 1,274 victories), Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl Y Rafael Nadal.
“Let’s go for another thousand!” smiled the Serb when he received a commemorative cake of that symbolic figure at the end of the game.
In the absence of Rafael Nadal, emperor with ten titles in Rome but eliminated in the round of 16, and Carlos Alcaraz, who rests with his sights set on Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5), Djokovic has seen his path to the final clearer .
On Sunday he will play against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th) his twelfth final on Roman clay (with five wins in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2020).
Djokovic-Tsitsipas will be a rematch of the last Roland Garros final, won by the Serbian after a five-set battle. The world No. 1 dominates 6 wins to 2 against the Greek, who always lost to him on clay.
In the female category, the Tunisian Ons Jabeur (7th in the world) had to fight hard this Saturday to reach the final of the WTA 1000 in Rome, saving a match point against the Russian Daria Kasatkina (23rd), and will face on Sunday the No. 1 in the world and defending champion, Iga Swiatek.
To reach her second final in eight days, following her title in Madrid last weekend, Jabeur had to work out a match point for the Russian at 4-5 in the third set, before prevailing 6-4, 1- 6, 7-5 in almost two hours.
The current champion Iga Swiatek had qualified hours before for the final in Rome, where she will seek her fifth consecutive title after Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.
The 20-year-old Pole, a big favorite for Roland Garros (May 22-June 5), signed her 27th consecutive victory by defeating Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, third seed, 6-2, 6-1, on clay of the Foro Italico.