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Djokovic Bounces Back Strongly Against Tsonga

Rome, Italy

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic is chasing a third title at the Foro Italico.

One day after suffering a scare against Juan Monaco in the third round, defending champion Novak Djokovic was back on track Friday in a 7-5, 6-1 dismissal of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

The Serbian twice squandered a break advantage in the first set, but broke down Tsonga’s defences again in the 12th game as the Frenchman recovered from a 0/40 deficit before a double fault cost him the opener. The top-seeded Djokovic dominated in the second set and claimed victory in 83 minutes after two more service breaks.

"In the second set I played one of the best sets on clay this year and this is encouraging for the challenges to come tomorrow and with Roland Garros," reflected Djokovic. "I am playing and feeling better every match I play. I really don't compare with 2011. I say that this is a new year and I had great results so far and I am playing good in Rome so far. I am increasing the level as the tournament goes on and this is important."

The 24-year-old Djokovic is the defending champion at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament after dethroning five-time former winner Rafael Nadal in the 2011 final. The Belgrade native also captured the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and has a 21-3 event record.

Djokovic is chasing his first clay-court title of 2012, having finished runner-up to Nadal in Monte-Carlo and fallen to Janko Tipsarevic in the Madrid quarter-finals. The right-hander has a 29-4 mark in 2012 after retaining his titles at the Australian Open (d. Nadal) and Miami (d. Murray).

For a place in his 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, Djokovic will face second-ranked Roger Federer, champion last week in Madrid.

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