For the 54th time since their first meeting in 2006 we have Novak Djokovic against Rafael Nadal, the number one in the world against the number two.
Quite remarkable that questions have been asked of these two over the season but they are still on top of the pile and following a monumental and rain delayed week in Rome these two gladiators are the final two.
Novak Djokovic leads the head to head at 28-25 with their last meeting being at the Australian Open in January where Novak strolled to a 6-3 6-2 6-3 win against the Spaniard and he will be hoping to put that right but has only won 2 of their last 11 meetings but the last win was here in Rome last year at the semi-finals.
This is the last chance for a title before Paris and for Novak picking up in Madrid last week has done him the world of good, imagine adding Rome to that to?
Rafael Nadal is in a final! His first since Melbourne and his first on clay this year. Could he turn up at Roland Garros and be favourite without one?
As Rafa has told us what happened here, happened here…
There is also a record attached to this one…
Novak Djokovic currently has 33 Masters 1000 titles and Rafael Nadal also has 33 Masters 1000 titles so who will get that record 34?
How have both looked this week?
Both players were in action on chaotic Thursday following wash-out Wednesday and got on with the job pretty easily.
Rafael Nadal has been rampant. I haven’t seen him play like this since the Australian Open and except what happened in the final his level was incredible. He’s hardly dropped a game all week. Before he played against Tsitsipas he had dropped 6 games in 6 sets of tennis and his 6-3 6-4 win against Tsitsipas was a really strong performance he played some stunning tennis and his forehand was on fire.
Novak has had it tough this week. As Masters 1000 go a run of wins against Shapovalov, Kohlschreiber, Del Potro and Schwartzman is a very impressive run. First two matches were straight forward against opponents he has had issues against before.
Friday nights match against Del Potro was my favourite of the year. From a set down, Del Potro was Thor like and Djokovic, he’s an animal! It finished at 1 am and 3 hours of tennis!
Diego Schwartzman deserves a lot of credit as well, he pushed Novak to his best as well and he could barely move at the end of a gruelling couple of weeks.
How much has he got left in the tank?
Despite Novak looking fatigued I still don’t feel confident going for one of them…
I can’t wait to see this unfold!