Novak by numbers: No 1 secured, now for 1000

Novak Djokovic secured No 1 ranking with a win over Felix Auger-Aliassime at Rome Masters

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Novak Djokovic secured No 1 ranking with a win over Felix Auger-Aliassime at Rome Masters

Novak Djokovic secured the No 1 ranking for the 370th week as he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6 (1) in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters on Friday.

After getting past the eighth seed in the pair’s first meeting, Djokovic still has significant milestones on his mind over finals’ weekend in Italy.

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On Saturday, the Serbian seeks his 1,000th tour-level win when he meets Casper Ruud in the semi-finals.

Should he advance to the final, the Belgrade native will chase a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title Sunday, one week shy of his 35th birthday.

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“I thought it was high-level tennis,” Djokovic said after beating Auger-Aliassime.

“He did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well. I thought I could have finished the job earlier… but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight.”

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Djokovic, who had dropped 600 points last week as he lost in the semifinal in Madrid, looked in charge in both the sets against the Canadian.

He failed to close out after leading 5-3 in both sets, but found the extra gear when he needed it the most.

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Djokovic next faces Ruud in a rematch of the 2020 Rome semi-finals. He also faced the Norwegian in the 2021 ATP Finals, winning both matches in straight sets.

Ruud defeated Denis Shapovalov, who had taken out Rafael Nadal in the previous round, 7-6 (7), 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

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In the other semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Alexander Zverev.

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