Rome, Italy (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated Grigor Dimitrov, 6-2, 6-2, to earn a spot in the final of the Italian Masters Saturday.
The top seed won 73 percent of second serve points and saved all three break points faced to finish off Dimitrov, who hit 32 unforced errors, in just 82 minutes.
The victory gave Nadal his 51st consecutive clay-court semifinal win, advancing to his 91st tour-level final. The World No. 1 now sits alone in sixth place on the all-time finals list, breaking a tie with Andre Agassi.
With the win, the Spaniard advanced to his ninth final in Rome and 40th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level.
Nadal, who won here in 2005-07, 2009-10 and 2012-13, will seek an unprecedented eighth crown at Foro Italico against second seed Novak Djokovic, who prevailed over Milos Raonic, 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 in just over three hours.
Djokovic, for his part, is looking to lift his 44th trophy overall in his fifth Rome final.
“It was a big win,” said Djokovic. “Because it gives me a lot of strength and belief that I hope I can carry into tomorrow’s final and the rest of the season.
On the women’s side, world No. 1 and defending champion Serena Williams booked a spot in the final after beating Ana Ivanovic, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
With the win, Williams avenged her loss to Ivanovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open back in January and advanced against Sara Errani.
The 10th seed Errani defeated Serbian and former two-time Rome champion Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 7-5.
Errani, who earned 16 break points and converted five, is attempting to become the first Italian to win the tournament since Raffaella Reggi captured the title in 1985.