Djokovic sets up rematch with Rune in Italian Open quarter-finals

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Britain’s Cameron Norrie in their fourth round match of the Men´s ATP Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 16, 2023. AFP

Novak Djokovic advances to the Italian Open quarter-finals after defeating Cameron Norrie with ease, but the match was not without some tension.  

Djokovic will face Holger Rune, a rematch of last year’s Paris Masters final. Djokovic, a six-time clay champion in Rome, has a good chance of winning another title as the world number one, Carlos Alcaraz, was eliminated on Monday.

Djokovic won the first set against Norrie without any trouble, but in the second set, Norrie broke back while hitting Djokovic with a smash, which irritated the top seed. After the match, Djokovic explained that Norrie had been doing things that players know are not fair play, and he was not going to let that go unchallenged. Djokovic won the match 6-3, 6-4 and gave Norrie a cold handshake at the net, avoiding eye contact.

Other matches in the men’s draw saw Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud, and Borna Coric win their respective matches, while Yannick Hanfmann, ranked 101 in the world, upset Andrey Rublev. Jannik Sinner, the Italian eighth seed, was sent packing by Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

In the women’s draw, Iga Swiatek continued her winning streak in Rome, defeating Donna Vekic. Swiatek will face Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals. The top six seeds in the women’s draw have been eliminated, boosting Swiatek’s chances of winning a third consecutive title.

Djokovic’s quarter-final match against Rune promises to be a physical encounter as Djokovic expects a tough challenge from the young Dane. Meanwhile, Djokovic will hope to continue his dominance on clay and claim another title in Rome.

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