Novak Djokovic beats former rival Stan Wawrinka to reach Italian Open quarter-finals | Tennis | sport

Novak Djokovic needed just 74 minutes to dispatch former rival Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2 and advance to the last eight in Rome. It was the first meeting between the world No. 1 and three-time major champion since 2019, and the top seed was unfazed as he set up a quarter-final clash with Felix Auger-Aliassime to get closer a little more than the world’s No 1 conservation ranking.

Djokovic and Wawrinka were meeting for the 26th time, and the first in almost three years with the Swiss star returning from a year away from touring and double foot surgery. Their previous meeting ended in a retirement for the world No. 1 at the 2019 US Open and they had not played a best-of-three-sets match since the end of 2015.

It was a quick start for the five-time Italian Open champion, beating his former rival in the opener. But Wawrinka, who fell to world No. 361 in his absence, was able to get a few games on the scoreboard before Djokovic broke again to lead 5-2, serving the first set after half an hour.

The former world No. 3 played arguably his best game of the match so far to open the second but lost the eight-minute battle as the top seed extended his streak to four, breaking at the first opportunity. But a neat forehand from Djokovic gave Wawrinka his first break point of the game in the very next game, although the three-time Major champion was unable to convert as Djokovic took a 2 lead. -0.

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The former five-time champion must make it to the semi-finals to retain his world No. 1 ranking or lose it to Daniil Medvedev, but is just one game away from staying on top and securing himself the top seed. the French Open. It was also the Serbian’s first win against Wawrinka since their Paris-Bercy match in 2015, with the 37-year-old retiring at the 2019 US Open and beating Djokovic to win the US Open title in 2016.

Wawrinka will now travel to the Geneva Open next week, his home tournament where he is a former champion, before heading to the French Open, where he is also a former winner after beating Djokovic in the 2015 final. The former world number 3 had won his first tour-level victories in 15 months at this week’s Rome Masters. -set victory over Djokovic’s compatriot Laslo Djere.

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