Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Novak Djokovic back for Rome as arch-rival Rafael Nadal dominates in Madrid

May 10, 2014 -- Updated 2017 GMT (0417 HKT)
Novak Djokovic is set to return in Rome where he has twice been champion.
Novak Djokovic is set to return in Rome where he has twice been champion.
  • Novak Djokovic to return to ATP tour in Rome after injury
  • Rafael Nadal on course to defend Madrid Open title
  • Nadal plays Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final
  • Maria Sharapova to play Simona Halep in women's final in Madrid

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Injury doubt Novak Djokovic has confirmed his participation, new dad Roger Federer is a maybe, but they will go into the Rome Masters next week in the knowledge their old nemesis Rafael Nadal is finding his feet on clay again after some shock recent defeats.

Nadal booked his participation in his 90th ATP Tour final with a 6-4 6-3 win over fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at the Madrid Open Saturday -- always in command in the one hour 43 minute clash.

Nadal, who is the defending champion at the Masters 1000 event, lost in the quarterfinals at Monte Carlo and Barcelona to David Ferrrer and Nicolas Almagro to show rare vulnerability on his favorite surface.

Tennis legends' surprising comebacks
Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?
The story behind Sharapova's success
Tennis star Elena Baltacha dies at 30

Read: Title holder Nadal slips to Monte Carlo defeat

But bidding for his 27th crown in Masters events, the world number one has looked more comfortable and faces Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final after the Japanese star won a quite extraordinary match against Ferrer.

Nishikori, who won the Barcelona title, saw Ferrer save no less than nine match points before converting his 10th in a 7-6 5-7 6-3 victory in a shade under three hours.

Second-ranked Djokovic was due to play in Madrid, but pulled out at the last minute due to the right wrist injury which first hit him in Monte Carlo.

The Serbian has been training hard ahead of an early return with the French Open looming and took to social media Saturday to indicate he would be back in the Foro Italico next week.

Read: Djokovic pulls out of Madrid with wrist problem

"Rome her I come!" tweeted Djokovic, who will be in the same side of the draw as Federer, whose wife Mirka gave birth to a second set of twins, sons Leo and Lenny earlier this week.

Federer, who has been showing improved form all year, will definitely play at the second grand slam of the season in Paris later this month, but his participation in Rome is still uncertain.

"Roger plans on playing Roland Garros and he will make a decision at the last minute if he will play Rome depending on how everything is going with his family," his agent Roger Godsick told the official ATP Tour website.

Read: 'It's twins again !

Meanwhile in the women's WTA tournament in Madrid, Maria Sharapova will play Simona Halep of Romania in Sunday's final.

Sharapova, fresh off her Stuttgart success, brushed aside Agnieszka Radwanska to advance to the tile match in Madrid for a second straight year.

The Russian built on a fast start and despite a second set rally from Radwanska was a 6-1 6-4 winner.

"It's great to have these results, over No.3 in the world today and yesterday beating Li Na, who is No.2 in the world. These were my goals at the beginning of the season, physically and mentally after a long layoff," she said.

Read: Sharapova wins Stuttgart title

By contrast, the other semifinal was a close and grueling affair, with Halep eventually prevailing 6-7 6-3 6-2 in two hours 36 minutes against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Halep, bidding for her eighth title since last year's Madrid tournament, trailed a set and 3-1 before winning eight straight games to take a stranglehold on the match.

Halep is already looking forward to the final. "Of course, tomorrow will be a very tough match. Maria is a great champion. And she's playing really well here. I will just try to be happy and enjoy being in the final," she told the WTA Tour website.

Read: Thigh injury forces Serena out

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.