Italian Open 2022 | Semi-Finals Preview and Order of Play

Jonathan Davies in ATP Rome 14 May 2022
Zverev and Tsitsipas face off in a third ATP 1000 semi-final this year (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas go head to head once more in the pick of the matches on semi-final Saturday at the Italian Open.

It promises to be an exciting climax in the men’s draw with four of the top five seeds remaining.

For the third time in the space of a month, Zverev and Tsitsipas collide in an ATP 1000 semi-final.

The previous two encounters were shared with Tsitsipas prevailing on the way to winning in Monte Carlo, while Zverev exacted his revenge in Madrid last week.

We can expect another mouth-watering showdown between players who boast a combined five Masters titles on clay.

Although Tsitsipas, who has the most wins on the ATP this year (30), leads the head-to-head 7-4 and has won three of their four clashes on surface.

Meanwhile, 37-time Masters champion Novak Djokovic is aiming to become only the fifth player in ATP history to record 1,000 match wins when he takes on Casper Ruud.

A five-time winner in Rome, this is Djokovic’s ninth successive semi-final in the Italian capital, while fifth seed Ruud is set for his fourth Masters semi on clay.

Only the third player to win 20+ straight WTA 1000 matches (26), the red-hot Iga Swiatek continues her quest for a fifth title of 2022 against Aryna Sabalenka.

The reigning champion is also the second-youngest player to reach four WTA 1000 semi-finals in a single season – after Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

Meanwhile, Sabalenka has enjoyed a timely upturn in fortunes. The third seed had never previous progressed beyond round three in Rome, while she returned to the Italian capital off the back of a first-round exit in Madrid last week.

But she has won each of her last three semi-finals on clay, which will stand her in good stead as she looks to end Swiatek’s relentless streak.

Ons Jabeur – champion in Madrid – is seeking a record-extending 17th victory on clay this season, and 11th on the spin.

Standing in her way is world number 23 Daria Kasatkina, who defeated second seed Paula Badosa on the way to reaching her first semi-final in Rome.

Play gets underway at 11am BST on Saturday with all matches contested over the best of three sets in Rome.