Djokovic, Nadal head into weekend with home triumphs in sight

Djokovic, Nadal head into weekend with home triumphs in sight

Plus, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner advanced to set a semifinal showdown at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Friday.

The top seeds at their respective events on home soil this week, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will head into the weekend with titles in their sights.

On Friday, Djokovic outclassed compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, 6-1, 6-3, in 75 minutes to book his Belgrade semifinal spot. The world No. 1 took eight of the first nine games and did not get broken until his final service game of the match, when he held a double-break advantage.

Djokovic won 63 percent of his first-serve return points to continually pressure the 21-year-old. He wrapped up the victory in trademark fashion by quickly shifting from defense to offense, closing with a volley into the open court.

The Serbian will next face Aslan Karatsev, whom he knocked out in the Australian Open semifinals. The third seed defeated Italy's Gianluca Mager, 6-3, 6-4. Second seed Matteo Berrettini won the first match of the day, eliminating fifth-seeded home favorite Filip Krajinovic, 6-4, 6-4.

Over in Barcelona, third-ranked Nadal should be more satisfied with his quarterfinal result. After needing to win a pair of three-setters coming into his encounter with Cam Norrie, the 11-time event champion posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory—though was spotted back on the practice courts afterwards.

Up 4-3 in the second set, Nadal let Norrie back into the contest—briefly—when his forehand unforced error saw the Brit get back on serve. The lefty recovered immediately with a break at love when Norrie returned the favor with a long forehand. Nadal will carry a 7-0 mark against sixth-seeded countryman Pablo Carreno Busta, a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 winner over No. 4 seed Diego Schwartzman.

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Earlier at the ATP 500 event, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas set a semifinal showdown with Jannik Sinner.

Tsitsipas defeated No. 10 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-3, 6-3, in the pair’s first clay-court meeting. The 11th-seeded Sinner denied Andrey Rublev a shot at possible Monte Carlo final redemption against Tsitsipas when he took down the No. 3 seed, 6-2, 7-6 (6).