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Djokovic overcomes battling Ferrer in Rome

ESPN staff
May 16, 2014 « Van Gaal: I'll make history at United | Errani upsets Li to reach Rome semi-finals »
Novak Djokovic faces Milos Raonic in the last four © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic was forced to dig deep as he battled past David Ferrer to reach the Rome Masters semi-finals, finally prevailing 7-5 4-6 6-3 in just over two and a half hours.

The world No.2 took the first set of a brutal encounter against the Spaniard. However Ferrer got the first break of the second set to go 4-3 up and went on to take his first set off Djokovic in over two years.

But the Serb broke for the fourth time in the match to take a 5-3 lead in the third, before serving out the match after 151 minutes on Center Court in Rome.

Djokovic will now face Milos Raonic, who held off Jeremy Chardy 6-3 5-7 6-2.

Also reaching the last four was Grigor Dimitrov, who celebrated his 23rd birthday with a win when 36-year-old Tommy Haas retired after losing the first set 6-2 due to a right shoulder injury - spoiling a contest between the youngest and oldest players in the top 20.

Dimitrov's semi-final opponent will be seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal after he saw off Andy Murray in an epic encounter.

"It's definitely one of the most memorable days of my life," Dimitrov said upon reaching his first Masters series semi-final. "I'm just a happy birthday boy today."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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