Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal by the numbers, and other Rome Masters semifinal statistics

Ricky Dimon in ATP 19 May 2018
  • Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be meeting for the 51st time on Saturday
  • Nadal is 17-1 on clay this season; Alexander Zverev, meanwhile, is 17-2
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 18: Rafael Nadal chases down a ball during his match against Fabio Fognini at the Internazionali BNL dItalia on May 18, 2018. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal rivalry has been going on for 12 years and it will add another chapter on Saturday at the Rome Masters. Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev's clay-court numbers are almost as good as Nadal's in 2018.

Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify) 

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be squaring off for the 51st time in their careers when they collide in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Saturday. 

Djokovic is leading the head-to-head series 26-24, making him one of only two active players who own a winning record against Nadal (Dustin Brown is also plus-two, albeit at a mere 2-0). Denis Shapovalov had been 1-0 lifetime against the Spaniard, but the 19-year-old just lost their second matchup in the Rome third round.

Nadal was once dominating this rivalry 14-4, but Djokovic is 22-10 in their last 32 meetings. The Serb is also 19-8 in their last 27 encounters dating back to the start of 2011. He had won seven in a row at Nadal's expense prior to finally losing again last year in Madrid. On the bright side for Nadal, he still owns a 15-7 advantage over Djokovic on clay.

Interestingly, they have gone 370 days without facing each other--a stretch dating back to last season's Madrid semifinals. This is their longest drought with no showdowns since the rivalry began 12 years ago at the 2006 French Open.

Nadal had won 50 consecutive clay-court sets dating back to the start of Roland Garros in the spring of 2017 until he lost to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the recent Madrid Masters. The world No. 2 is 17-1 on clay this season and had earned his first 16 such wins all in straight sets before needing three to defeat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the Rome quarterfinals on Friday.

Rome Masters 2018 live stream: ATP tennis live from Rome

Alexander Zverev hits a forehand against David Goffin on Friday. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Alexander Zverev has been the second best player on clay in 2018, with a 16-2 record on the red stuff--including 15-1 in four ATP tournaments (and 1-1 in the Davis Cup quarterfinals against Spain). The 21-year-old had won 23 consecutive sets before requiring three in Friday's tilt with David Goffin, who eventually succumbed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Zverev did not even drop serve a single team and faced only one break point the entire way in his run to the Madrid title.

The question is: is Zverev a Masters 1000 specialist?

He has won three titles at the Masters 1000 level--Rome and Montreal in 2017 plus Madrid last week. The world No. 3 also finished runner-up earlier this season in Miami.

Zverev is 46-19 in his career at Masters 1000s. By comparison, he is 14-11 at Grand Slams. For those counting, that's an incredible 70.8 winning percentage at the former and a modest 56.0 winning percentage at the latter.

The German is 4-1 lifetime against Rome semifinal opponent Marin Cilic, including 4-0 in their last four contests.


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Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal by the numbers, and other Rome Masters semifinal statistics

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are 26-24 in the head-to-head series heading into Saturday at the Rome Masters. Nadal and Alexander Zverev have been the best players on clay in 2018.

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