For the 51st time overall and seventh time at the Italian Open, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will go head-to-head when they meet Saturday in Rome for a trip to the final. Here’s everything you need to know to watch the match:
Nadal vs. Djokovic: Viewing Information
Note this information is for those who are in the United States
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2018
Start Time: approximately 9 a.m. ET
TV Channel: Tennis Channel
Live Stream: DirecTV Now. While there are four different channel packages to choose from, the Tennis Channel is included in the “Just Right”, “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what bundle you choose, and you can then watch the match live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Nadal vs. Djokovic: Preview
Nadal’s nearly year-long undefeated streak on clay was stopped last week in Madrid by Dominic Thiem, but he has gotten back to his dominance in Rome. He rolled past Damir Dzumhur and Denis Shapovalov in straight sets, then after dropping the first set against Fabio Fognini in the quarters, he lost just three games the rest of the way. Somewhat amazingly, this marks the first time Nadal–a seven-time Italian Open champ–has been into the semis here since 2014.
As for Djokovic, he seems to finally be returning to form. Trying to work his way back from an injury that cost him the second half of 2017, the former World No. 1 beat Alexandr Dolgopolov, Nikoloz Basilashvilli and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets, then took down Kei Nishikori in a back-and-forth three-setter that took about two-and-a-half hours.
“I just hung in there,” Djokovic told Sky Sports. “We went toe-to-toe up until the very last point basically. It really could have gone either way.”
With that win, Djokovic secured his spot in a Masters 1000 semifinal for the first time since his trip to Rome exactly a year ago when he advanced to the final before losing to Alexander Zverev.
Nadal and Djokovic have split six head-to-head meetings in Rome, with Djoker winning the last two meetings at the 2016 quarters and 2014 final.
“I have to embrace it [facing Nadal]. I have to obviously give everything I’ve got,” Djokovic said. “This is what I work for, to get to the latter stages of a major event, and I haven’t had this feeling for quite a while. It’s been a year since I played a semi-final. I like the conditions and I get good support here. People love tennis, it’s really exciting so hopefully I’ll be able to play my best tennis.”
While Nadal has seven career wins at the Italian Open, Djokovic has triumphed in Rome four times. We know Nadal’s greatness on clay both historically and recently, but if the latter is truly returning to form, we could be in line for an instant classic on Saturday.
Source: Heavy Sports