ROME (AP) — Novak Djokovic won twice on Saturday to play for another Italian Open title, his first final since January.
Djokovic, the four-time champion, will play Alexander “Sascha” Zverev, the youngest Masters Series finalist at 20 since Djokovic won Miami a decade ago at 19.
The day could have dragged on for Djokovic, but he closed out Juan Martin del Potro quickly 6-1, 6-4 in their quarterfinal suspended overnight because of rain. He resumed 6-1, 1-2 up. Then about seven hours later he dispatched in the semifinals Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-1, 6-0.
Thiem, coming off the Madrid final last weekend, stopped Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Djokovic won the Doha title in January but has struggled since then and dropped his coach and support staff.
He’s reached his eighth final in Rome, where he won in 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2015.
Djokovic called it his “best performance of this year and maybe even longer.”
“I’m overjoyed and happy with every minute that I spent on the court today,” Djokovic said. “Everything that I intended to do, I have done it and even more.
“I am so grateful to experience something like this, because I have been waiting for it and working for it for a long time