Rome Masters: Sonego stuns Rublev to set up Djokovic semi

Lorenzo Sonego has now become the first local man in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event since Filippo Volandri in 2007.

Lorenzo Sonego

Lorenzo Sonego reacts after beating Andrey Rublev during the Rome Masters quarterfinal on Saturday.   -  AP

Lorenzo Sonego defeated World No. 7 Andrey Rublev of Russia on Saturday, continuing his dream run at the Rome Masters and becoming the first Italian semi-finalist at the event in 14 years with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

Following his wins over U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem and former world number six Gael Monfils in previous rounds, the 26-year-old Sonego has now become the first local man in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event since Filippo Volandri in 2007.

"(This is) my favourite tournament in the world. I'm with my people here," Sonego said. "I am so happy for this."

READ | Djokovic outlasts Tsitsipas over two days to reach Rome semis

The 33rd-ranked Italian will have loud support from the stands when he returns to the court for his semi-final later on Saturday against top seed Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian world No. 1 was trailing 6-4, 2-1 against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas when the match was halted by rain on Friday but rallied to a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win on Saturday.

Djokovic's match on Friday was suspended twice but he raised his game at crunch moments to twice come back from a break down in the deciding set on his way to the semi-finals for the eighth straight year.

Second seed Rafa Nadal will compete against big-serving American Reilly Opelka in the other semi-final.

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