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Djokovic To Face Nadal In 2011 Final Repeat

Rome, Italy

Djokovic© AFP/Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic is bidding for his third Rome title.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face No. 3-ranked Rafael Nadal in a repeat of last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia final after dismissing Roger Federer 6-2, 7-6(4) on Saturday evening in Rome.

“Here he was winning convincingly in all his matches, so I knew he was in good form,” said Djokovic. “I needed to step in the match, believing I could win. I played really good from the beginning to the end.”

Djokovic won the Rome title for the second time when he dethroned five-time former champion Nadal in the 2011 finale. He also lifted the trophy at the Foro Italico in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and will look to win his 12th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Sunday’s final.

Against Nadal, Djokovic will hope to avenge the defeat he suffered to the Spaniard in the Monte-Carlo final last month. Prior to that, he had won seven successive meetings with Nadal, including a five-set epic in the Australian Open final in January.

“Rafa is the player I've played against the most in my career. We're all aware of his qualities on this surface, which suits him the best,” Djokovic said. “I'll try to prepare myself. Physically, I'm feeling good, and I'm motivated as always, so I hope for the best.”

In their first clash since the 2011 US Open final, when Djokovic saved two match points to prevail, history looked as though it may repeat itself when Federer rallied from match point down as Djokovic served for victory in the second set.

Having lost serve twice to surrender the opener, Federer engineered his first service break of the match to draw level at 5-5, but was subsequently denied in the tie-break as Djokovic claimed victory in one hour and 40 minutes.

The 30-year-old Federer came in having won 48 of his past 51 matches and seven of his past 10 tournaments, including last week’s Mutua Madrid Open (d. Berdych). The Swiss, a four-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, dropped to a 31-4 match record. He has never won the Rome title, finishing runner-up to Felix Mantilla in 2003 and Nadal in 2006.

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