Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro met for the 20th and last time in the 2019 Rome Masters quarter-final. It was a thriller, and Novak prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes for a place in the last four for the tenth time at Foro Italico.
Juan Martin gave his everything against a great rival, winning the opener and creating two match points in the second set's tie break. Novak denied them, stole the set and prevailed in the decider for his 16th win over Juan Martin.
Djokovic took five points more than del Potro, and they both scored two breaks despite competing for over three hours! The Argentine played aggressive tennis, attacking from both wings and standing so close to the finish line.
Novak blasted 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Juan Martin counted a 39-43 ratio, dictating points with the forehand and enduring backhand-to-backhand exchanges with the mighty opponent. Nothing could separate them in the shortest and mid-range rallies.
Novak Djokovic saved two MPs against Juan Martin del Potro in Rome 2019.
Novak forged the triumph in the most extended ones, taking most of the advanced points to earn the win. Juan Martin secured the opening set with a better performance in the pivotal moments.
He fended off all six break points in games four, six and ten, waiting for a chance on the return and getting it at 3-3 after forcing the Serb's error. Novak was unhappy with the court conditions and got even more furious in game ten.
Juan Martin denied three break points and secured the opener with a beautiful backhand down the line after 62 minutes. Novak had the upper hand in the first seven games of the second set. He served at a high level and missed a break point in game two when Juan Martin blasted an ace down the T line.
Djokovic finally found a way to break the rival in game six, opening a 4-2 lead after a backhand winner as Delpo completely missed the ball after the bounce. The Serb wasted a set point on the return in the eighth game and allowed Juan Martin to break back at 15 in the next one after a loose backhand.
Carried by this momentum, the Argentinian continued to fire bullets from both wings in the tie break. He opened a 6-4 lead and earned two match points. It was not to be for him, though, spraying a forehand error on the first and denied on the second after Novak's drop shot winner.
Djokovic won four straight points for an 8-6, starting a massive celebration when del Potro sent a backhand long in the 14th point to set the decider after two hours and 12 minutes. He was the favorite now but had to work hard to secure the win.
Novak repelled three break points in the fourth game and clinched the crucial break in the next one following a terrible forehand from the Argentinian, one of his worst in the entire encounter. Both players served well in the remaining games, and a four-time Rome champion crossed the finish line with a hold at 5-4.
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