Novak Djokovic sets up Italian Open final showdown against Rafael Nadal

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Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday after beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 in Rome.

The four-time champion – who won the Madrid Open last week – broke in the eighth game on his way to taking the opening set.

Schwartzman rallied in the second, though, to take it on a tie-break before Djokovic asserted his dominance in the third to set up a ninth final in Rome.

The world number one told the tournament’s official website: “He (Nadal) is one of the greatest champions this game has ever seen.

“His mentality, his approach, his resilience, ability to fight back after a long absence from the tour, injuries, surgeries, he’s had it all.

“He keeps on showing to the world why he’s one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have greatest respect for him.”

Nadal reached his 11th Italian Open final by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.

The world number two also gained revenge on Tsitsipas, who beat him in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open last week.

Nadal took control of this contest, winning in one hour and 43 minutes and the Spaniard was pleased with his performance.

“[It] is [an] important victory for me because I played a solid match against a good player and a player who is winning a lot of matches on this surface,” said eight-time winner Nadal.

“So winning in straight sets against him is a very positive result. More than this is a feeling that I am playing better every week, every day. That’s important for me.

“I played a little bit better than him. What I had to do is play well. Last week I didn’t play very well in Madrid. Today I did better.”

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