Rome Masters SF: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Novak Djokovic?

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will meet for the 51st time on Saturday, with a spot in the Rome Masters final on the line.

Date: May 19, 2018

Match time: 2.30 PM local time / 8.30 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 1.30 PM BST – United Kingdom / 2.30 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 10.30 PM AEST – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Rafa:

To be honest, I prefer not to play against Djokovic. He is one of the best in history, no doubt.

I am not like those players who say ‘yes, I want to measure myself with him’.

If I have to face him, then I give my best to win as I have always done in my career, but obviously, you prefer to have easier opponents than a great player like Novak.

Nole on facing Rafa:

I have to embrace it and have to give everything I’ve got.

This is what I work for, to get to the later stages of events. I haven’t had this kind of feeling for a while.

It’s been a year since I’ve played the semi-finals, the last one was here so I like the conditions and I get a nice support here, so hopefully I’ll be able to play my best tennis.

With his three triumphs this week Rafa is now 17-1 on clay in 2018 and 21-2 overall.

Nole holds a 26-24 record against Rafa, with the pair locked at 3-3 in Rome. Our champ won their last encounter, snapping a seven-match losing streak against the Serb to reach the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open final.

Rafa is the best clay-courter of the Open Era with a 406-36 record (.919). However, he’s 15-7 with three losses in his last four matches against Djokovic on clay (.682). No other man owns more than three clay-court wins over Rafa. Gaston Gaudio beat him three times on clay before the Spaniard turned 19. Dominic Thiem earned his third clay-court victory over Rafa in Madrid on 11 May.

The No. 1 and No. 11 seeds have split six prior match-ups at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and Rafa owns a 9-8 advantage in semi-finals. They have met at all four Grand Slams, the ATP Finals, Davis Cup, the Olympic Games and eight of the nine ATP Masters 1000 events (all but Shanghai). Djokovic is 16-10 with five wins in his last six matches against Rafa at ATP Masters 1000 events.

Rafa began their rivalry with a 14-4 lead, but Djokovic has claimed 11 of their last 13 meetings since losing the 2013 US Open final. Should Rafa win his eighth Rome title, he will return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on 21 May. If Rafa loses to the four-time champion Djokovic or in the championship match on Sunday, Roger Federer will remain World No. 1 through at least 24 June.

Good luck & Vamos Rafa!

Source: ATP World Tour

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81 comments

  1. Anyone else notice that novak waits and then roars so everyone can hear it. We can’t miss it novak – only thing you haven’t done today is rip your shirt

  2. Rafa holds at 30 to go up 3-1.

    Novak looking tired but serve and groundies hit from comfortable position are still very dangerous.

    Even more so, he still reading Rafa’s shots very well.

    But that can only take him so far.

    Rafa should have played like this early in the 1st set – running him around and bullying him off court.

  3. Rafa clearly playing more aggressive and shortening the point right now. Good momentum from the TB.

    1-1

    Both players are dominating on serve but as long as Rafa keeps playing aggressive on serve, he’ll break Novak for sure.

    Another half volley from Novak but this time Rafa made no mistake like he did twice in the 1st set, reading Novak’s intention and putting the ball way decisively.

    Another exchange at the net with Novak shaking a FH volley long and Raga breaks at love.

    Now please hold quickly, Rafa. No more drama.

    • Me too. For some people it spurs them on but when novak does it he usually goes under. Is rafa the only gentleman on the tour? Shapo is quite nice i hear

  4. **** WE LOVE YOU RAFA NADALl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ): ) BEAUTIFUL 1ST SET LEAD…..YOU ARE SO GOOD AT TB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) CI……CI….SENIOR CHAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) ; ) : ) : ) : ) YOU ARE PLAYING BEAUTIFULLY AND WE LOVE THE WAY YOU MOVE AND RETURN AND SERVE AND NET AND VOLLEY………VAMOS & GOOD FOR YOU SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )_ : ) : ) ; ) : ) IT IS CLEAR YOU ARE THE STRONGER BETTER PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) YOU ARE ONE CLASS ACT AND WE ARE HAPPY FOR YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) ; ) : ) ; ) ; ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

  5. Great to see Rafa take the first set , wish I could watch but Novak is just to annoyingly so just checking scores now and again, keeping my fingers crossed Rafa

  6. Obviously this is the best possible result for us but if you look at this objectively that was an excellent set of tennis – just like the old days. Just let down by novaks foul mouthed swearing at the end of the set. Always has been a sore loser. Cmon lets get this done in two.

  7. Whew! First set has been confined and consigned to history! Well done Rafa, just for hanging in there.

    Hopefully in the second set, the first serve improves for Rafa. Some great tennis by both. Now can Rafa stamp his authority moving forward?

    Good to see Djoker having a mini meltdown, maybe it’ll creep up in his game too:):)

    Stay strong Rafa!

  8. Trademark FHDTL winner from Rafa.

    4-3

    But Novak’s CCBH is back to being dangerous – meaning Rafa NEEDS to go DTL much more – which is exactly what he’s doing.

    And voila, a tasty BHDTL winner which got Novak frozen on his feet and an all-business Rafa took the TB 7-4 deservingly.

  9. This match is giving me a headache. Why does Djoker suddenly have to find his mojo against Rafa? But then again, if must be a confidence boost to know that you’re playing someone who you’ve had the better of on most of the previous encounters.

    Come on Rafa, don’t let Djoker use you for his coming out party!

  10. Frustrating to watch player and player exploiting Rafa’s court position again and again while Rafa still refuses to go to the net, being the better player than most!!

    TB now – it’s been a while since Rafa last played a TB on clay. Sweat drops are fauceting from his face – not a good sign and voila, Rafa again decided to go the net while being nervy and consequently shanked the volley long.

    0-1 Novak

  11. Novak is the better player right now both eye-test and stats wise. First thing first, Rafa needs to improve his 1st serve % asap (dismal 52% at 5-5) and try to shorten the point since Novak has been out-rallying and often outsmarting him unfortunately, which is exactly what he’s doing in this game – good sign.

    I think Novak’s stamina will be a liability if the match goes to a decider but Rafa should get this done in 2 by playing how he played the last game.

    • Rafa’s first serve percentage was low in yesterday’s match too. It’s really costing him now against Djokovic.

      • We’re fine. Hope all ok with you. You have to admit – no-one else gets the audience going like this. C’mon rafa – get it together and show him who’s boss!!

  12. Finally. 2 consecutive aces for Rafa to consolidate from 0-30 then 30-30. Always nervous watching him consolidating or serving out a set/match these days.

    Novak really came out to play today. So far this is no doubt the best match on the red brick from him. His 1st serve % are dropping after 2 sublime service games but serve and groundies are
    still very much solid.

    Rafa bullying the ball right now. Excellent depth, pace and much better placement. However I have the feeling he’s a bit too tense right now – okay, 15-30 now, 2nd serve again.

    !!!!! Rafa too passive on big points AGAIN – still stubbornly grinded his way out and as expected Novak took th chance right away. 2 BPs for him and he broke instantly.

    Disappointing.

    • Again Rafa failed to serve out a set, making things unnecessarily complicated. This remains one of the biggest holes in his game these days unfortunately.

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