El Peque knew how to push the number 1 in brick dust matches to the limit. One of them was precisely in Rome.
Novak Djokovic beat the Norwegian 7-5 and 6-3 early Casper Ruud and agreed to the end of Masters 1000 de Roma for the tenth time in his career. Nole He will go for his fifth title at the Foro Italico and will face the Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who reached the decisive match of this tournament for the first time by beating the Canadian 6-4, 5-7 and 7-6 (7-4) Denis Shapovalov. The antecedents between the two always show the winner Nole, although they leave open spaces for the illusion of Small if you study them carefully.
The Serbian tennis player, current world number 1, is the favorite to win the title, although the fact that the Small come from hitting the hit in the quarterfinals by eliminating none other than Rafael Nadal makes things seem not remotely simple.
How is the fighting history? If only the final results are seen, there is a clear advantage for the Serbian. They played four times and Djokovic always won.
The first clash was at the 2014 US Open, when the current number 1 defeated the Argentine 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4, who at that time was just beginning to sneak into the big circuit.
Already in the second meeting between both appears an important nuance. The clash occurred at Roland Garros 2017. In that match for the round of 16, Nole won but did it in five sets and for much of the match the Small was ahead: 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and 6-1.
The third match occurred precisely at the Masters 1000 in Rome, where they will now meet in the final. It was once again in brick dust and things were not easy for Djokovic, who prevailed in that dramatic semifinal by 6-3, 6-7 (2-7) and 6-3.
The last antecedent between the two occurred in 2020, in the round of 16 of the Australian Open. There, again on cement, he won Nole by 6-3, 6-4 and 6-4.
One thing is clear: when the confrontation was on slow courts, the obvious distances between the two were shortened. And with the Argentine in the best week of his career, it is clear that anything can happen.
In case it is not clear that Djokovic cannot be trusted by the past between the two: Schwartzman had never beaten Rafael Nadal, champion last year in Rome, in his career, until these magical days. Can he Small give a new hit?