Djokovic, Federer, Nadal ease into Italian Open semis

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their match at the...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their match at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 18, 2012. (Max Rossi/REUTERS)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 5:59 PM ET

ROME, ITALY - World No. 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic, Swiss icon Roger Federer and five-time winner Rafael Nadal were a trio of quarterfinal victors Friday at the $3.145 million Italian Open -- the fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.

Djokovic straight-setted fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-1 in a rematch of the 2008 Australian Open final, which was also won by the super Serb.

The reigning Aussie Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic dismissed Tsonga in 1 hour, 23 minutes with the help of five service breaks on Day 6.

The two-time Italian Open champion Djokovic beat Nadal in last year's finale and lost to Nadal in the 2009 title tilt here.

Djokovic will meet Federer in Saturday's semifinals.

Fresh off his big Masters title in Madrid last week, a third-seeded Federer handled Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 in just 54 minutes.

The former French Open champion and 2011 Roland Garros runner-up Federer improved to 9-0 all-time against Seppi.

The two-time Rome runner-up Federer moved up to No. 2 in the world on Monday after prevailing on the unusual blue clay surface last week in Madrid for his ATP-record-tying 20th Masters title.

The Italian favorite Seppi was a surprise titlist in Belgrade two weeks ago.

The second-seeded world No. 3 Nadal handled seventh-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 on the red clay at Foro Italico.

The 20-time Masters titlist Nadal dismissed Berdych in just over two hours by breaking the Czech three times while surrendering only one break at this French Open tune-up.

Berdych was last week's Madrid Masters runner-up to Federer and lost to Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon finale.

Nadal has won five of the last seven Italian Open titles, including two straight before losing to Djokovic last year.

The six-time French Open champion Nadal's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be sixth-seeded fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who topped 16th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to reach his third Italian Open semi.

Nadal is 14-4 lifetime against Ferrer, including a victory in a final in Barcelona last month and a victory in the Italian Open finale two years ago.

The 2012 Rome champ will earn $595,000.


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