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Djokovic and Nadal look to continue Rome dominance

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have dominated the Internazionali d’Italia, winning the last 11 titles between them.

But a fourth Rome final between the pair is not on the cards at the 2016 edition of the clay-court ATP 1000 event.

For the first time, the Serbian, Spaniard and Roger Federer have been drawn in the same half of a draw.

That is great news for second seed Andy Murray, who faces a more comfortable task.

STARS IN FORM

Djokovic, Nadal and Murray all enjoyed good runs in Madrid and the trio will take some stopping in the Italian capital. Murray has been particularly impressive, reaching the Monte Carlo semi-finals and decider in Spain. He ended Nadal’s 13-match winning run with his last-four victory in Madrid, where Djokovic found some of his more irresistible form after an early exit at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

FEDERER PREPARES FOR RETURN

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Swiss maestro Federer is set for a return from a back injury and is quickly running out of time to find form ahead of the French Open. The 34-year-old has played just one clay-court event this year – making a quarter-final exit in Monte Carlo – and desperately needs competitive matches.

HISTORY MADE WITH DRAW

Federer faces a huge task to make a deep run after being drawn in the same half as Djokovic and Nadal for the first time. Nadal and Djokovic are in the same quarter, while Federer could face Kei Nishikori in the last eight. That leaves it open for Murray, with Tomas Berdych the highest ranked player in his quarter.

DJOKOVIC CRUISES TO SECOND-STRAIGHT CROWN

Nadal and Djokovic have won every edition of the Internazionali d’Italia since 2005 between them, with the latter making it back-to-back victories last year. Djokovic crushed four-time runner-up Federer 6-4 6-3 in the final, having enjoyed a relatively comfortable run to his fourth Rome title.

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NADAL, DJOKOVIC DOMINANCE

The last man to win the event prior to the Nadal-Djokovic stranglehold was Carlos Moya in 2004.

Nadal boasts a 47-4 win-loss record in Rome, but lost in the quarter-finals to Stan Wawrinka last year.

NADAL, NISHIKORI UPBEAT

Nadal is happy with his form despite his loss to Murray in the Madrid semis, saying: “I’m on a positive path. I hope to continue on this path. I feel happy competing. I’m comfortable. Also when I train, I train with a lot of joy to continue going this way.”

An upbeat Nishikori said after his 6-3 7-6 (7-4) semi-final loss to Djokovic: “I played two good sets. It is disappointing, but it’s not like losing 6-1, 6-1. I look forward to playing next week.”

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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