Sonego Shocks Rublev, Sets Djokovic Semi-final
The 26-year-old saved 11 of the 13 break points he faced to overcome the Monte-Carlo runner-up in two hours and 33 minutes. Backed by a passionate home crowd on Grand Stand Arena, Sonego won 100 points compared to Rublev’s 99.
“[This is] my favorite tournament in the world, I'm with my people here,” Sonego said. “[I am] so happy for this because I played every point. I'm really happy.”
The Italian has defeated consecutive Top 10 opponents to reach the final four in the Italian capital. Sonego outlasted fourth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) in a marathon three-hour, 24-minute clash on Thursday.
Sonego will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for a place in the championship match. The five-time champion rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a two-day match on Centre Court.
“It's a very emotional moment for me, playing in [the] semi-finals with Novak,” Sonego said. “He's [an] unbelievable player. He's the best in the world. I want to do my best.”
Sonego owns a 1-0 ATP Head2Head record against the 36-time Masters 1000 champion. The Italian took advantage of a below-par performance from Djokovic in last year’s Erste Bank Open quarter-finals to record a 6-2, 6-1 win.