Tennis news 2022, Novak Djokovic, Italian Open, results, final, Roland-Garros

This is exactly what Novak Djokovic needed a week before Roland-Garros.

The top-ranked Serbian beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3 at the Italian Open to reach his biggest final of the year.

Having missed much of the season because he was not vaccinated against the coronavirus, Djokovic will look to extend his five-game winning streak against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

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“I can expect a big battle,” Djokovic said. “But I’m ready for this.”

Tsitsipas reached his first final in Rome beating Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Djokovic is looking for his sixth title in the Italian capital.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point during the Italian Open Men’s Singles Semi-Final against Casper Ruud of Norway. (Getty)

In the women’s semi-finals, top-seeded Iga Swiatek beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 for her 27th straight win and will face fellow runaway Ons Jabeur as she tries to defend her title in Rome.

Jabeur beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 for her 11th consecutive win after lifting the Madrid Open trophy last week.

Djokovic recorded the 1000th victory of his career, making him the fifth man to reach this record after Jimmy Connors (1274 wins), Roger Federer (1251), Ivan Lendl (1068) and Rafael Nadal (1051).

After the match, Djokovic received a cake with “1000” written on it.

“I saw Roger and Rafa celebrating those milestones and I was looking forward to reaching 1000 myself,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic is playing in only his fifth tournament of the year, with his best result coming before the final of the smaller Serbian Open, his home tournament, last month. Last week he was beaten by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

Tsitsipas has been pushed to three sets in three of his four matches this week, having also defeated home favorite Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

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