Serbia’s Novak Djokovic acknowledges the public after defeating Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego during their semifinal match of the Men’s Italian Open at Foro Italico on May 15, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Lorenzo Sonego kept the Italian flag flying in Foro Italico when he defeated the ruthless slugger Andre Rublev from Russia, 3/6; 6/4; 6/3. He will later play the semi-final match against Novak Djokovic who outlasted Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 4/6; 7/5; 7/5 Rublev won the first set 6/3 and Sonego took the second 6/4.

The fourth game of the third was crucial to the outcome of the contest. Sonego saved three break points before holding serve on his third opportunity, roaring applause of the partisan crowd. In the fifth game, Sonego defended against the barrage of forehands from Rublev who missed an easy overhead to 0-40 and conceded the break.

The Italian led 30-0 and counter-punched a powerful forehand for his 10th consecutive point for 40-0. Another Rublev forehand got game to deuce before a Sonego service winner got the advantage and game for 4-2

Rublev held the seventh game and his opponent recovered from 0-30 to lead 5-3. Serving to stay in the match, Rublev missed a forehand for 0-15 but leveled with his lethal shot. The Russian faced match point at 30-40 and erased it. Next, he missed a crosscourt forehand to face the second match point. He missed the first serve. After making the second serve, a 12-shot rally ensued and ended with Rublev hitting a forehand over the sideline. After the handshake, Sonego danced on court along with the spectators in the stands.

In their match, Tsitsipas won the first set 6/3. Djokovic broke Tsitsipas in the 8th game of the second set to level 4-all while another service break gave the Serbian the set 7-5.

Tsitsipas led 3-1 in the third set.

In the fifth game, Djokovic saved a breakpoint at 30-40. He cancelled five advantage points of Tsitsipas and won the game on his third opportunity. He broke Tsitsipas in the sixth game but lost his serve in the eighth.

Leading 5-3, Tsitsipas served for the match but conceded the game. Djokovic took the ninth and 11th games on his serve. Serving to take the set to a tiebreak, Tsitsipas lost the first point and Djokovic took the second with a forehand winner. At 15-40, Tsitsipas hit a backhand over the sideline.

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