Italian Open 2022: Djokovic fans anticipate World No.1's 1000th career win in semi-finals
Top seed Novak Djokovic beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6(1) to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open on Friday and move within one win of 1,000 career victories.
Top seed Novak Djokovic returned to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings with a 7-5, 7-6(1) win over Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Italian Open 2022 quarter-finals on Friday, guaranteeing a 370th week at the top of men's tennis on Monday.
By reaching the semis in Rome, the 20-time Grand Slam winner avoided surrendering the top spot to Russian Daniil Medvedev for the second time this year. The Serb, who will now face Norwegian fifth seed Casper Ruud next, is just one win away from his 1000th career victory.
Djokovic and Auger-Aliassime were neck and neck until the 34-year-old broke to lead 5-3, but the eighth seed fought back. However, it proved only a blip as the Serbian wrapped up the opening set in style.
The 21-year-old Canadian was applauded by the World No.1 player for his display of endurance in rallies but fell 5-3 behind, only to drag himself back into the contest again. Having forced a tiebreak, though, Aliassime was no match for Djokovic, who found another gear when required.
"He has the lethal serve, honestly... It was not easy for me at all to return. He's also returning well, moving well. He's a complete player. I was a set and 5-2, match point, serving for the match. Credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight," Djokovic told reporters after securing his 999th career win.
On Friday, Casper Ruud continued his excellent form on European clay as he claimed a hard-fought 7-6(7), 7-5 win against Canada's Denis Shapovalov. Meanwhile, World number 3 Alexander Zverev remained on course to claim his first title of the season after overcoming Cristian Garin to set up a semi-final showdown with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who saw off home favourite Jannik Sinner.
Following this win, Djokovic fans, who have been eager to see their favourite star return to form following a tough start to the season, expressed joy over the Serb retaining his World No.1 ranking and are gearing up for his 1000th career victory. Here's a look at some of the reactions: