INTERNAZIONALI BNL D'ITALIA
Nadal, Djokovic, Raonic, Dimitrov Compete In Rome SFs
by ATP Staff|
• SEMI-FINAL DAY: World No. 1 and 2 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have won 106 Tour-level titles between them including the last nine in Rome, go up against the two youngest players in the top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Day 7 at the Foro Italico. Nadal, who has won 50 consecutive SFs on clay, takes on Grigor Dimitrov for the fifth time with the Spaniard winning all four of their previous contests. The Bulgarian has, however, taken a set off Nadal in each of their outings. Djokovic clashes with Milos Raonic for the second time. The pair’s only previous meeting came in Davis Cup last year when the Serb prevailed in straight sets. Bob and Mike Bryan will look to avenge their Madrid final defeat to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic when the teams clash in today’s SF. Dimitrov and Lukas Rosol take on Robin Haase and Feliciano Lopez in the other SF.
• GOING THE DISTANCE: Nadal’s wins over Gilles Simon (199 mins – longest best-of-three set match this year), Mikhail Youzhny (164 mins) and Andy Murray (161 mins) were the longest matches in Rome this week. It marks the first time since Rome 2005 that Nadal has won three consecutive three-set matches on clay in the same tournament (d. Stepanek in QF, Ferrer in SF, Coria in F). Nadal has reached the final here eight times, winning the title a record seven times (2005-07, ‘09-10, ‘12-13). He has a 17-2 record on clay this year. The last time he lost more than two matches on the surface in a season was 2004 (14-3). For the past nine years (2005-13), he has won at least two European ATP World Tour clay court titles coming into Roland Garros.
• MASTERING THE 1000s: Djokovic has been the standout player at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level in recent times, winning four of the last five he has contested – Shanghai, Paris, Indian Wells and Miami. Since falling to John Isner in the QFs in Cincinnati last year, the Serb has posted a 26-1 mark at Masters 1000s with his only loss coming in the SFs in Monte-Carlo to Roger Federer. The 26 year old, who also captured the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, is bidding for a 19th Masters 1000 crown this week and if successful he will move to within two of Federer’s haul (21).
• CHANGING OF THE GUARD? Today marks the just the second time that two players born in the 1990s have reached the SF of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000, with Dimitrov (May 16, 1991) and Raonic (Dec. 27, 1990) both chasing a first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. The only other time this happened was in Montreal last year when Raonic and Vasek Pospisil faced off in the SF in Montreal. Raonic and Dimitrov are the only two players born in the 1990s to have won multiple ATP titles. Raonic, who is still searching for his first title of 2014, has won five Tour-level titles in total while Dimitrov has three, including two this year in Acapulco and Bucharest.
DAY 7 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS
 Milos Raonic (CAN) vs  Novak Djokovic (SRB)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Djokovic leads 1-0
2013 SRB vs.CAN WG SF (Serbia) Clay RR Novak Djokovic 7-6(1) 6-2 6-2
• Raonic advanced to his first SF of the season after overcoming Roger Federer’s conqueror Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in just over two hours. The Canadian posted a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 3R after notching his first ever win in Rome by defeating home hope Simone Bolelli 6-3, 7-6(5) in his opening match.
• Raonic dropped his serve twice against Chardy after going unbroken in his opening two matches – saving three BPs against Bolelli and five against Tsonga.
• Raonic returns to Rome for the fourth time in as many years. He fell in the 1R on his three previous outings here.
• Raonic rose to a career high No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching the Monte-Carlo QF last month (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka). The Canadian had climbed back inside the top 10 at the end of March after back-to-back QF appearances in Indian Wells (d. No. 6 Murray, l. to Dolgopolov) and Miami (l. to Nadal). He had previously spent one week at No. 10 in August last year after his run to the final in Montreal.
• Indian Wells was Raonic’s first outing since suffering a left ankle injury at the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov in 3R).
• The top Canadian became the first player from his country and the first player born in the 1990s to crack the top 10 when he broke through on August 12 last year. He finished the season at a year-end high No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, highlighted by titles in San Jose, Bangkok and a maiden appearance in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Montreal (l. to Nadal).
• Raonic is bidding to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final and 11th overall. His only previous outing in the SF of a Masters 1000 event came in Montreal last year (d. Pospisil in SF, l. to Nadal).
• Djokovic reached his 41st Masters 1000 SF after edging world No. 5 David Ferrer 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 32 minutes. The Serb reached his eighth QF in succession here after recovering from a set down to see off Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the 3R. He opened his account with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Radek Stepanek, winning 73% of points on the Czech’s second serve.
• Djokovic returns to Rome for the eighth time. He has never fallen before the QF stage here, lifting the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2011 (d. Nadal). He fell to Berdych in the QF last year.
• Djokovic is making his first tournament outing since falling in the Monte-Carlo SF to Federer. The Serb was looking to become the first player to win five ATP Masters 1000 titles in a row as well as the first three Masters 1000 events of the year before falling in the Principality.
• A right wrist injury, which afflicted him in Monte-Carlo, forced him out of Madrid last week.
• Djokovic had a successful March in the U.S. The Serb completed the Indian Wells/Miami sweep for the second time in his career, defeating Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final before seeing off Rafael Nadal in the Sony Open Tennis final. He surpassed Andre Agassi in both Masters 1000 titles (18) and Masters 1000 match wins with his Miami victory.
• Djokovic’s other competitive outings this year came at the Australian Open (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka in QF) and Dubai (l. to eventual champ Federer in SF).
• Djokovic finished 2013 in the top three for the seventh year in a row, winning seven titles in nine finals (2nd-most in career). He ended the year on a 24-match winning streak.
• Djokovic is bidding to reach his 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (18-10) and 65th overall (43-21). He is also looking to reach his fifth final in Rome (4-0 in SFs here).
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 4-0
2009 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 7-5 3-6 6-2
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo Clay QF Rafael Nadal 6-2 2-6 6-4
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 6-2 5-7 6-2
2014 Australian Open (Australia) Hard QF Rafael Nadal 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(7) 6-2
• Nadal outlasted Andy Murray 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach his 54th ATP Masters 1000 SF, winning 68% of points (24 of 35) on the Scot’s second serve. In the 3R, Nadal recovered from a set and 2-0 down to defeat No. 14 seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1, reeling off 11 of the last 12 games. He opened the defence of his title with a 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon on Wednesday in three hours and 19 minutes – the longest best-of-three-set match this year.
• Nadal’s three wins were the longest three matches in Rome this week.
• Nadal returns to Rome for the 10th time. He has now reached the SF in nine of his 10 outings here, winning the title seven times: 2005 (d. Coria), 2006 (d. Federer), 2007 (d. Gonzalez), 2009 (d. Djokovic), 2010 (d. Ferrer), 2012 (d. Djokovic) and 2013 (d. Federer).
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in.
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February.
• Nadal arrives in Rome after winning his 27th ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid last week (d. Nishikori in the F). He took sole ownership of seventh place on the Open Era titles leaderboard with the victory, surpassing Guillermo Vilas.
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time.
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77).
• Nadal is bidding to reach his 40th ATP Masters 1000 final (27-12) and 91st overall (63-27). He is also looking to advance to the Rome final for the ninth time (8-0 in SFs here).
• Nadal is enjoying a 50-match winning streak in clay-court SFs (50-1 overall). His only final four defeat on the surface came in his first SF appearance in 2003 in Umag when he fell to Carlos Moya.
• Dimitrov, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 SF after his QF opponent Tommy Haas withdrew with a shoulder injury after dropping the first set 6-2.
• Dimitrov recovered from a set down in both the 2R and 3R, defeating Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2. He opened with a 7-6(3), 6-4 defeat of Ivo Karlovic.
• Dimitrov is making his second appearance in Rome. He advanced to the 2R on his debut last year (l. to Gasquet).
• Dimitrov broke the top 20 for the first time in February after a QF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco (d. No. 18 Gulbis, No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson). In April, the Bulgarian improved to a career-high No. 14 and captured his third career title in Bucharest (d. Rosol in F).
• Dimitrov is just one of two players born in the 1990s to win multiple ATP World Tour titles – after Raonic, who has five titles to his name.
• At 22, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
• In 2013, Dimitrov improved his ranking for a sixth year in succession. He became the first Bulgarian to win an ATP World Tour event when he defeated Ferrer in the final of Stockholm.
• Dimitrov is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and fifth overall (3-1).
POTENTIAL FINAL FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs  Milos Raonic (CAN)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 5-0
2010 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4
2011 Tokyo (Japan) Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-3
2013 Barcelona (Spain) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-0
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada Hard F Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-2
2014 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard QF Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-2 6-4
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs  Novak Djokovic (SRB)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 22-18
2006 Roland Garros (France) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 ret
2007 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells (U.S.A.) Hard F Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-5
2007 ATP Masters Series Miami (U.S.A.) Hard QF Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2007 ATP Masters Series Rome (Italy) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-3
2007 Roland Garros (France) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-4 6-2
2007 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass SF Rafael Nadal 3-6 6-1 4-1 ret
2007 ATP Masters Series Canada (Canada) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-3
2007 Tennis Masters Cup (China) Hard RR Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4
2008 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells (U.S.A.) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2
2008 ATP Masters Series Hamburg (Germany) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 7-5 2-6 6-2
2008 Roland Garros (France) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-2 7-6(3)
2008 London / Queen's Club (Great Britain) Grass F Rafael Nadal 7-6(6) 7-5
2008 ATP Masters Series Cincinnati (U.S.A.) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-5
2008 Beijing Olympics (China) Hard SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 1-6 6-4
2009 ESP vs. SRB WG 1st RD (Spain) Clay RR Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 6-1
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo Clay F Rafael Nadal 6-3 2-6 6-1
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay F Rafael Nadal 7-6(2) 6-2
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay SF Rafael Nadal 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(9)
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati Hard SF Novak Djokovic 6-1 6-4
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard SF Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-3
2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (England) Hard RR Novak Djokovic 7-6(5) 6-3
2010 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard F Rafael Nadal 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (England) Hard RR Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-2
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard F Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-3 6-2
2011* ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard F Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-3 7-6(4)
2011* ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay F Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-4
2011* ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay F Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4
2011* Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass F Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3
2011* US Open (U.S.A.) Hard F Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-4 6-7(3) 6-1
2012* Australian Open (Australia) Hard F Novak Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5
2012* ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo Clay F Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-1
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay F Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-3
2012* Roland Garros (France) Clay F Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo Clay F Novak Djokovic 6-2 7-6(1)
2013 Roland Garros (France) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(3) 9-7
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada Hard SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6(2)
2013* US Open (U.S.A.) Hard F Rafael Nadal 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1
2013* Beijing (China) Hard F Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2013* Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Hard F Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2014* ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard F Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-3
 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs  Milos Raonic (CAN)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Dimitrov leads 2-1
2011 Stockholm (Sweden) Hard QF Milos Raonic 7-5 6-4
2013 Brisbane (Australia) Hard R16 Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 6-4
2014 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6(10)
2009 U.S.A. F2 (U.S.A.) Clay R32 Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2
 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs  Novak Djokovic (SRB)
FedEx Head 2 Head: Djokovic leads 3-1
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai Hard R32 Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard R32 Novak Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-1
2013 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R32 Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(6) 6-7(8) 6-3
2013 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-2 6-3