World No. 1 Novak Djokovic underlined that he is still extremely motivated to win the biggest titles as he is a win away from making it all the way at the Rome Masters. Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, survived a tough Casper Ruud challenge as he defeated the rising Norwegian star 7-5 6-3 in the Rome Masters semifinal.
Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are tied on the all-time Masters list with 35 titles at that level. "It is super important [to win the title]. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here,” Djokovic said on court after his win, per the ATP website.
“I don’t take anything for granted, even after 15 years on the Tour, I still enjoy it. “I still have a hunger for the titles and putting myself in a position to fight for the title is exactly where I want to be”.
Djokovic admitted it wasn't easy against Ruud
Ruud broke Djokovic in the third game of the first set but failed to realize any of his two consecutive set points in the 10th game. Ruud paid the price for not realizing his chances as Djokovic claimed back-to-back breaks to steal the opener.
In the second set, the 17-time Grand Slam claimed a break in the sixth game, before he routinely served out for the match in the ninth game. "It was a tough two-setter today. It was over two hours for two sets,” Djokovic admitted.
“I definitely had to work hard for most of the points and it was really anybody’s game in the first set… It was really windy. “To be honest, it was probably the windiest day since we arrived to Rome and it was quite tough to handle that.
But the second set was much better, I got used to it and started swinging through the ball better”. Djokovic plays next against the winner of the match between rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov and Diego Schwartzman.
Djokovic has a 5-0 head-to-head record against Shapovalov, while he owns a 4-0 record against Schwartzman. "Both guys are in tremendous form,” Djokovic insisted. “Diego played the match of his life last night and he also is most comfortable on clay.
Denis has improved a lot on clay over the past few years and he has got a powerful game… Whatever comes my way, I will be ready and hopefully I can get my hands on the trophy”.