Novak Djokovic keeps 17-year Rome Masters run going with spicy Cam Norrie win

Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-final of the Rome Masters with a 6-3 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie to keep up his impressive 17-year streak. The match became spicy in the second set when the Brit accidentally hit the top seed’s legs as he smashed the ball to break. But Djokovic bounced back to earn a straight-set victory and maintained his record of never losing before the last eight in Rome.

There was a brief delay to the match as Djokovic visited the treatment room when the pair were set to take to court. The top seed was said to have pulled a shoulder muscle during his warm-up in the morning, going straight to get treatment before taking to court.

The Serb was also seen stretching in the corridor ahead of the match, raising injury fears. But once play got underway, he appeared his usual dominant self. Djokovic broke Norrie in the Brit’s opening service game and continued to threaten his serve.

The 13th seed fended off another break point to finally get himself on the board at 1-3. And Norrie then had to save two set points on his serve a few games later before Djokovic closed out the opener 6-3 in 40 minutes.

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Things became tense in the second set after the six-time former champion in Rome took an early break lead. Norrie was finally able to earn some break-back points and converted the second with a controversial point – accidentally hitting Djokovic’s legs as he went in for a smash.

The world No 1 had already abandoned the point and was walking away when Norrie fired the ball down the court and ended up catching his opponent. And Djokovic quickly whipped his head around as he wasn’t happy with the shot, approaching the net to stare down the court as Norrie apologised.

“Novak has turned his back here, I mean it’s not as though Cam needs to worry about him picking it up. I just don’t know what was going through Cam’s mind to be honest, it is kind of unnecessary,” Mark Petchey remarked.

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The controversial shot also allowed Norrie to break back and draw level at 2-2. But with tensions rising, Djokovic broke him at a pivotal moment to serve for the set at 5-4. There was some more spice when the world No 13 took a medical time out in the changeover right before the top seed served for the match.

There was a small wobble from Djokovic who went 0-30 down and then blew his first match point when serving it out but he was able to advance 6-3 6-4, reaching the quarter-final for the 17th straight year.

The Serb has never lost before the quarter-final stage in Rome and kept his impressive streak alive, dating back to his main draw debut in 2007. He will now face either Holger Rune or Alexei Popyrin.

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