New Delhi: World champion rank one holder Serbian player Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in the Italian Open final for a sixth time after a dramatic victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Spanish player holds the record with three wins to Djokovic's two in the last final, while the Spaniard is bidding for the 10th title in Rome with their opponent finishing sixth.
Nadal's 6-4 6-4 victory over American Reilly Opelka came in his 500th match, while Novak Djokovic defeated local hero Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 5-7 (2), 6-2 in the semi-final battle.
Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, Djokovic said: "I only have myself to blame for not closing the match in straight sets. I need to recover, that's what I'm focused on.
"I don't have much time and I've played a lot of tennis so hopefully I'll have fresh legs because that's what I'll definitely need and it's necessary in order to have a chance against Rafa." He said, "Rome is such an important tournament for me. To be in the final again is so important."
"In terms of preparation for Roland Garros, I consider the job done. Tomorrow is not at all preparation. It's a final, an important one, and I want to be competitive. I want to play a good match and let's see."
Djokovic said, "Nadal was his biggest rival, It's great to play him again in the final. He's the guy that I have encountered the most in my career," Djokovic said after his semi-final match.
"[He is] definitely my biggest rival of all time. Playing him on clay in the finals of one of the biggest tournaments in the world is always extra motivating for me. Even after all, we have been through in our careers there's still this excitement when we have to face each other."
"I think I played the match that I had to play…I had two breaks, two sets. That's a positive thing for me. [To] be in the final again here means a lot to me," Nadal said after the match in the press conference.