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Roger Federer will play Italian Open in warm-up for Roland Garros

12 May 2019

I anticipate the match to be very competitive, and the market does too, chalking up Djokovic as a marginal [1.90] favourite.

It was the 1,200th career win for Federer, allowing him to join Jimmy Connors as the only male players to have reached the milestone in the Open Era.

Nadal lost only seven points on his service games, conceding no break opportunities against the 34th-ranked Wawrinka.

Docked a first serve for a second time violation, Djokovic's defensive play in the tiebreaks was little short of miraculous, and he took them 7-2 and 7-4.

Bencic had defeated Halep in their last two matches, but the reigning French Open champion, who lifted the trophy in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, came through in just under two hours.

The world No 5 prevailed in the French Open quarter-finals in 2017 and then the last 16 in Monte Carlo a year ago. He saved the two match points in a long game when trailing 5-6. "I thought I had some good matches here", the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. "For me, it is more important to win the trophy here than being No. 1", the third-ranked Halep said.

Rafa has eased to three wins from three, without dropping a set, in their previous three meetings, but again, these head to head clashes lack context to the current match-up. He squandered five break points in the second, and then had match points at 8-7 and 10-9 in the tiebreaker before Thiem forced the deciding set by converting his sixth set point. Djokovic did not so much fly as stroll to the line here, although he has played well this week and was grateful for a day's rest on Friday after the withdrawal of Marin Cilic with food poisoning.

Federer struggled with his timing on occasions in breezy, sunny conditions and swatted a ball angrily over the stands when he dropped serve at the start of the decider. Thiem then served out for the victory, converting on his second match point. However, he battled hard to bring a 4-1 deficit to 4-4 before completing a remarkable third set win thanks to a successful tie break where he kept his head while Monfils lost his.

The top-seeded Serb is seeking a third Madrid Open title, and his second of the season after winning the Australian Open.

"I'm really happy that I managed to keep my nerves down and fight back. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it's all good".

"He has made some great comebacks already here in this tournament - he won all three matches he played in three sets - so he's a quality opponent".

"Dominic is one of the best tennis players in the world at this moment, especially on this surface, so this was a very big win for me", the top-ranked Djokovic said.

Roger Federer will play Italian Open in warm-up for Roland Garros