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.”
Novak Djokovic equalled Rafael Nadal’s record for the most ATP Masters 1000 titles as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Madrid Open final.
Djokovic clinched his 33rd Masters title – and third in Madrid – with a 6-3 6-4 victory.
Tsitsipas, the exciting 20-year-old from Greece, had stunned Nadal in the semi-final but had no answer to the world number one on Sunday.
Djokovic, who did not face a break point throughout the match, broke in the second game of the contest and breezed through the rest of the set.
The Serbian broke in the ninth game of the second set before securing victory on his third match point.
Wild card Jannik Sinner shocked Steve Johnson in the first round of the Italian Open, the next Masters 1000 event on the ATP calendar.
The 17-year-old Italian, ranked 262nd in the world, recovered from a slow start to beat the world number 59 1-6 6-1 7-5.
Elsewhere, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Philipp Kohlschreiber were also first-round winners.
Basilashvili eased past Marton Fucsovics 6-1 7-6 (2) while Kohlschreiber saw off Gilles Simon 6-2 3-6 6-3.
In qualifying, British pair Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans reached the main singles draw by beating Nicolas Jarry and Dusan Lajovic respectively.
Norrie saved two match points to beat Jarry in three sets – winning the deciding tie-breaker 8-6 – while Evans shocked world number 24 Lajovic 7-5 6-3.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Venus Williams booked her place in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a stunning comeback victory over Petra Kvitova.
The seven-time major champion upset the third seed and Australian Open runner-up, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
The American dug in during the second set, fighting back from 3-0 down to force the decider, and again came from behind in the third set to clinch victory after nearly two-and-a-half hours on court.
Top seed Naomi Osaka began her title defence with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic, who just two weeks ago upset the world number one in the Dubai Open.
Karolina Pliskova booked her place in the third round after a hard-fought win over qualifier Misaki Doi.
The number five seed dropped the first set in a tie-break but made light work of the remainder of the match, prevailing 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.
She will now face Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure, who beat number 28 seed Donna Vekic 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, needed three sets to overcome world number 44 Ajla Tomljanovic. The ninth seed rallied from a second-set loss to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in an hour and 41 minutes.
Angelique Kerber kicked off her campaign with a comfortable 6-0, 6-2 victory over Yulia Putintseva.
The eighth seed won the first 10 games and dropped just two games over the course of the 64-minute match to set up a third-round meeting with Natalia Vikhlyantseva.