Nadal dispatches Tsitsipas to reach Rome final

The eight-time Rome winner eased past Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to make it into his first final on clay of the season.

Rafael Nadal

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his semifinal match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.   -  REUTERS

Defending champion Rafael Nadal swept past Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his first final on clay this season at the Italian Open on Saturday.

The eight-time Rome winner had been stunned by Tsitsipas, seeded eighth, in the semi-finals at the Madrid Open last weekend.

But the Spaniard was clinical on the red clay of the Foro Italico winning through in 1hr 42min to maintain his record of having not dropped a set this week.

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Nadal next plays either world number one Novak Djokovic or Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who meet in the second semi-final.

The 32-year-old, seeded second, was playing his fourth straight semi-final, but had not managed to go further on clay this season.

His run to the Rome final comes just a week before he starts his assault on a 12th French Open title at Roland Garros.