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Sport Tennis Rafael Nadal Rome Italy

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Nadal sweeps past Tsitsipas to reach Rome final

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Rafael Nadal is seeking a ninth title at the Italian Open. Reuters

Defending champion Rafael Nadal brushed aside the challenge of Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday to advance to the final of the Italian Open in Rome. Nadal, 32, won 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes to reach his first final on clay this season.


The victory avenged his defeat to the 20-year-old Greek in the semi-final at the Madrid Masters last week.

Tsitsipas will rise to a career best six in the world as a result of his run to the semi-final and will be among the favourites for the French Open which starts in Paris on 26 May.

"Every year my team and I on who will be in the top 10 at the end of the year," said Nadal. "I said Tsitsipas. I'm not saying I'm a genius but it's simply because he looks the part. He's event started the year better than I thought."

Nadal will play either the top seed Novak Djokovic or the Argentine Diego Schwartzman in Sunday's final.