Top-seeded Novak Djokovic knocked off Norway's Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday to advance to the title match of the Internazional BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Djokovic will be looking to become a five-time winner of the event when he faces Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the finale. Schwartzman defeated Canada's Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the other semifinal.
Djokovic recorded 12 aces against Ruud and now looks to post a record-breaking 36th title at the ATP Masters 1000 level. He is currently tied with Rafael Nadal at 35.
"(Reaching the) final at such a big event means a lot even after 15 years of being on the Tour," Djokovic said. "I still am as motivated (as ever) to get my hands on the trophy. This is what I work for as much as anybody else on the Tour. Of course as the time passes by, the tougher it gets."
Nadal was beaten by Schwartzman in straight sets in Saturday's quarterfinal. Meanwhile, Djokovic played his match with Ruud prior to Schartzman's three-hour, 15-minute win over Shapovalov.
"With Nadal in the finals and without Nadal in the finals makes a big difference," the Serbian said. "Nevertheless, I will not underestimate anybody that steps on the court against me tomorrow."
The eighth-seeded Schwartzman made a frantic late-match run to stun Shapovalov and reach his first career ATP Masters 1000 championship match.
Shapovalov, the No. 12 seed, had a 5-4 late in the third set and was serving for the match. But Schwartzman won the next two games and Shapovalov had to battle back to force a tiebreak.
The tiebreak was tied at 4-4 before Schwartzman won the final three points to wrap up the victory.
"I think that's why I won, because I was fighting," Schwartzman said. "I was not playing all the match my best tennis, but I felt like I took the chances at the end and that's why I won."
Schwartzman won despite not recording a single ace. Shapovalov had 10 but also committed eight double faults to Schwartzman's two.
Schwartzman won the first set before Shapovalov rebounded to win the second. So prevailing in the 86-minute final set and reaching the tournament final was mighty pleasing.
"I'm very, very happy. I think today was a crazy match, it was really tough for us," Schwartzman said. "On my side I'm very happy because I have the win."
--Field Level Media