Novak Djokovic admitted he was hugely encouraged by his form in Rome this week, after playing his way into a first quarter-final of the season.
The Serbian looked very impressive as he ousted 2017 Monte-Carlo finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 7-5, and he clearly feels like he’s starting to make strides.
Could Djokovic be starting to rediscover the player he once was?
“I’m happy. I haven’t had too many matches of this quality of my tennis in the past 12 months,” he said.
“I think this was probably one of the three matches that I played this way in the past 12 months. So, it felt good. And it came at the right time in the place where I love to play, where I get a lot of support.
“I feel like each match is getting better. So, hopefully, it’s going to continue in this direction.”
Standing between Djokovic and the semi-finals is a formidable foe in Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who advanced after dispatching German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-2 in 64 minutes.
The two met in the first round in Madrid recently, where Djokovic secured one of the biggest wins since his comeback from injury.
Like Djokovic, he is also on the comeback trail from an injury lay-off, and has been making some impressive strides of his own.
“It was strange playing Kei in the first round in Madrid. But, it was a very close match,” Djokovic said. “I expect the same tomorrow. I expect a big fight from both of us.”