Rome: Novak Djokovic stayed on course for his third Rome Masters title although he was forced to dig deep to beat a tenacious David Ferrer 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a high-quality quarter final on Friday.
The Serb looked to be in full control when he led 5-2 in the opening set but Spaniard Ferrer fought back to 5-5 and although he lost the opener the tone was set for an intense duel.
Djokovic eventually prevailed on his second match point having double-faulted on his first, the point in between being a 38-stroke baseline rally of extraordinary quality.
In the women’s Italian Open at the same atmospheric Foro Italico venue home fans were given something to shout about when Sara Errani reached the semi-finals with a superb 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over world No. 2 Li Na.
It was her first career win against a top-three ranked opponent and helped her reach her second consecutive Italian Open semi-final. She was joined in the semis by 11th seed Ana Ivanovic, who followed up her win over Maria Sharapova with a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
On the other side of the draw, Grigor Dimitrov reached his first Masters Series semi-final when German veteran Tommy Haas retired from their match with a shoulder injury.