17 May 2015

Federer to meet Djokovic in Rome final

1:59 pm on 17 May 2015

Switzerland's Roger Federer has beaten countryman Stan Wawrinka in straight sets at the Italian Open to set up his third final of the year against Serbian rival Novak Djokovic.

Wawrinka had caused the first major upset of the week knocked out the seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals

But despite a blistering start which saw Wawrinka race to a 3-0 lead in the opening set, the 30-year-old from Lausanne allowed Federer to bounce back at the Foro Italico to steal the set 6-4.

Federer, bidding for his maiden title in Rome having lost three finals including two to Nadal, broke his fellow Swiss twice in the second set for 4-1 lead before wrapping it up 6-2.

"I was happy with how I played, I was able to impose my game. Basically rock solid from the moment I got my game down," said Federer.

So far this year it's one apiece between Djokovic and Federer, the former winning their last final at Indian Wells on a hard surface to make amends for Federer's hardcourt win in Dubai.

Novak Djokovic in the Rome semi-final, 2015.

Novak Djokovic in the Rome semi-final, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Career-wise, Federer holds the advantage with 20 wins to Djokovic's 18, although the Serb has shown glimpses of brilliance this week and a variety of shots that put all of his rivals in trouble.

Earlier, the Serbian world number one swept clay court specialist David Ferrer aside in straight sets, breaking the Spaniard once in each set to secure his chance for a fourth crown in Rome.

Djokovic said he felt encouraged by a performance in which he held serve against "one of the best returners in the game".

After the semi-final, Djokovic hit out at the Rome organisers for the condition of the courts.

Several times during his match, Djokovic called officials to fill in holes which began appearing near the baseline.

Afterwards, he admitted his frustration and criticised organisers for failing to have the court properly prepared.

"It's obvious the court is not where it's supposed to be condition-wise. Last year was better, this year, as I understand, they started making the court too late, a few weeks ago.

With fewer than 10 days to the start of the french Open, the climax of the clay court season, Djokovic was in no mood for suffering an injury that would compound his bid for a first title in Paris.

"We had some places where the holes are really deep... it's not just for the serve, if you make those holes and you're sliding and getting into that hole, you can twist your ankle easily.

Federer echoed those thoughts but was more upbeat about the condition of the court.

"The problem is, it kind of breaks away, so that's not ideal. When it happens once or twice, three times, you get a bit worried," said Federer.