Rafael Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters, after defeating Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals at the Foro Italico on Saturday.
Nadal, chasing his eight Rome Masters title, dominated the opening set as he committed just four unforced errors and won 82 percent points on his first serve. Dimitrov, on the other hand, never looked comfortable in the dusty conditions and lost the opener in just 33 minutes.
The story was no different in the second set as Dimitrov's impatience on the baseline cost him dearly. The Bulgarian never looked to be in rhythm as Nadal broke his serve twice to built a 4-1 lead.
Grigor did manage to save a match point in the seventh game but the King of Clay served past him to book a clash with Djokovic.
"I think I started the match in a perfect way, in the second set he made more mistakes than usual," Nadal said. "But, talking about myself, I played a solid match and was very good with my backhand."
"Yesterday I played a great match and today was a good confirmation that I play better, that the forehand starts to fly again, the top spins as well. A lot of positive things," he added.
In the other semifinal, world number two Djokovic earned a hard-fought 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 victory over Canadian Milos Raonic, who matched the Serb shot-for-shot throughout the match.
Both Djokovic and Raonic played strong service games in the first set, which went down to the tiebreaker. The Canadian, after going 3-0 down, rallied back and won sixs points in a row, eventually taking the lead in the match.
The Serb managed to level the match by winning the second set tiebreaker. Both players traded breaks in the middle of the set but the Canadian made three dreadful mistakes to hand over the set to Djokovic.
After putting the match on level terms, the second-seed played with more aggression and speed to gain the upper hand in the match. He secured an early break in the third set and managed to hold his serve till the end to cruise into the finals of the Rome Masters.
"I did the things I wanted to do. I didn't execute in the moments I'd liked, but I did create a lot of opportunities, which was good," Raonic pointed out. "I wish I had played a few situations a little differently. I think I had the right approach."
"I knew if I brought my best tennis, I would be able to give myself and opportunity, which I was able to do today. It came down to a few moments and just performed better than I did," he added.