Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had starkly different days at the Italian Open on Saturday.
Djokovic regained his cool after throwing his racket off the court in a grueling, rain-delayed quarterfinal victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas by 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, then was to play his semifinal later against local favorite Lorenzo Sonego in the second match of the day for both players.
“I haven’t played too many matches this year, so I don’t feel too exhausted,” Djokovic said. “I’m pumped to get another win today.”
Nadal, meanwhile, kept his time on court to a minimum by ending the surprising clay-court run of big-serving American Reilly Opelka by 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.
The 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Opelka hadn’t dropped a set this week and threatened early against Nadal with a series of huge forehands. But Nadal saved four break points in the fourth game of the match then broke in the next game to take control and move within one victory of a record-extending 10th title at the Foro Italico.