Novak Djokovic will continue his hunt for a sixth Italian Open title when he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals on Friday (7.30pm, UK time).
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Only Rafael Nadal has won more Italian Opens than Novak Djokovic, and the Serbian was left cursing his Spanish rival in last year’s final as he was beaten in three sets. It was a similar matter in the 2019 final as Djokovic was beaten in three sets by Nadal, but between those two defeats he did claim the 2020 crown. In fact, since winning his first Italian Open in 2008, Djokovic has missed just four finals.
Djokovic entered the 2022 Italian Open as top seed and went straight into the second round, where he was drawn against Aslan Karatsev, beating him 6-3 6-2. It was a similar story in the third round, against a much bigger name though, as Stanislas Wawrinka fell 6-2 6-2 – a repeat of the 2008 final (though Djokovic won in three sets then). The victory means Djokovic has now reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Open for 16 straight years, last missing out in 2006 when he bowed out in the qualifying rounds.
For Felix Auger-Aliassime, it’s a completely different story. The Canadian 21-year-old is taking part in the Italian Open for just the fourth time and is making his first ever quarter-finals appearance. Last year he made it to the third round, having been knocked out of the first round in 2020 and 2019.
As the eighth seed going into the tournament, Auger-Aliassime was handed a bye into second round, already putting him one stage away from his previous best. The Canadian was drawn against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round and had to come from a set down to win 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2. This set up a third-round tie against American Marcos Giron, and things were a lot more straight forward as Auger-Aliassime won 6-3 6-2.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets
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