Novak Djokovic needed simply 74 minutes to dispatch his antique rival Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2 and strengthen to the closing 8 in Rome. It become the first meeting between the sector no 1 and 3-time essential champion due to the fact 2019, and the top seed become barely afflicted as he set up 1 / 4-very last conflict with Felix Auger-Aliassime to get one step closer to keeping the arena number one ranking.

Djokovic and Wawrinka were meeting for the 26th time, and the first in almost three years with the Swiss star returning from a year away from the tour and double foot surgery. Their previous meeting ended in a retirement for the world No 1 at the 2019 US Open and they had not played a best-of-three set match since the end of 2015.

It was a quick start for the five-time Italian Open champion, who broke his old rival in the first game. But Wawrinka, who has dropped to world No 361 in his absence, was able to get a couple of games on the scoreboard before Djokovic broke again to lead 5-2, serving out the opening set after half an hour.

The former world No 3 played arguably his best game of the match so far to open the second but lost the eight-minute battle as the top seed extended his run of games to four, breaking at the first opportunity. But a netted forehand from Djokovic gifted Wawrinka his first break point of the match in the very next game though the three-time Major champion was unable to convert it, as Djokovic took a 2-0 lead.