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Djokovic, Nadal in Masters final rematch

 ROME, May 20 (AFP): World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic swept past Roger Federer on Saturday to set up a Rome Masters final rematch with five-time winner Rafael Nadal.

Top seed Djokovic ended Federer’s brilliant run of recent clay form, defeating the world number two, and last week’s Madrid champion, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) while Nadal reached a seventh Rome final with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-0 win over compatriot David Ferrer. Federer saved a match point for 5-5 in the second set as he broke Djokovic on a stinging forehand winner. But Federer could not extend that battling instinct into the tiebreaker, with Djokovic taking victory on his second winning chance as the Swiss put a backhand long after an hour and 39 minutes on court.

After defeating Ferrer for the 12th consecutive time on clay, Nadal will face Djokovic for the 32nd time on Sunday, with the Spaniard going into the contest holding a 17-14 lead.

Nadal won their last meeting in April for the Monte Carlo title, snapping a run of seven consecutive losses to his rival in finals dating back to March 2011. Djokovic controlled Federer in their first meeting since the US Open semis last autumn when Federer held two match points but lost. Since that disappointment he has won seven ATP titles.

Djokovic, appearing in his fifth straight semi-final in Rome, improved to 22-3 at the venue, one of the few where Federer does not own a trophy after losing 2003 and 2006 finals.

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