Novak Djokovic moved to inside one win of retaining his World No 1 standing on Thursday after beating Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the quarter-final of the Italian Open.
The Serbian, who should attain the semi-finals to cease Daniil Medvedev from climbing to No 1 within the ATP Rankings on Monday, soaked up Wawrinka’s heavy ball-striking and pulled the previous World No 3 round to advance to the quarter-finals after 75 minutes.
Djokovic now leads Wawrinka 20-6 of their ATP Head to Head collection, with their assembly in Rome their first because the Swiss star defeated the highest seed on the US Open in 2019.
“It’s nice to see Stan again and profitable. He gained two robust matches. You may see he’s nonetheless not bodily the place he desires to be. However nonetheless, he’s Stan Wawrinka and he can damage you for those who give him time,” Djokovic mentioned in his on-court interview.
“I managed to do effectively from the start. I actually moved him across the court docket and held my serve comfortably apart from that lack of my serve within the second set,” he added.
The 34-year-old will compete in his 89th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final on Friday in opposition to Felix Auger-Aliassime after the eighth-seeded Canadian defeated American Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2.
The World No 1 has been constructing momentum over the previous month following his second-round exit in Monte Carlo. The 86-time tour-level titlist loved a run to the ultimate in Belgrade earlier than he reached the semi-finals on the Madrid Open final week.
Djokovic is making an attempt to seize a record-extending thirty eighth Masters 1000 crown within the Italian capital, the place he’s a five-time champion. His first title in Rome got here in 2008 when he beat Wawrinka within the championship match.
In entrance of a packed crowd on centre court docket, it was Djokovic who made the quicker begin as he rapidly discovered his vary on return to interrupt instantly. The Serbian hugged the baseline all through the set and efficiently outmanoeuvred Wawrinka via a mix of exact groundstrokes and drop photographs to guide after 31 minutes.
Together with his foot on the pedal, Djokovic continued to exhibit nice really feel and energy within the second set to frustrate Wawrinka. The 34-year-old returned aggressively as he learn the Wawrinka serve effectively all through, breaking 3 times within the second set to triumph.
Wawrinka earned his first tour-level win in 15 months when he defeated Reilly Opelka in his opening match in Rome earlier than he edged Laslo Djere to arrange a gathering with Djokovic. The 37-year-old, who was sidelined final season attributable to a foot damage, was aiming to succeed in his fourth quarter-final in Rome.
Notably, Djokovic has reached no less than the quarter-finals in all 16 of his appearances in Rome.